Consulting methods

Hughes Consulting are most often engaged to address problems our clients have been unable to solve with their own internal resources. Key to our success in innovating solutions to challenging strategic issues is our consulting project methods. Our consulting methods ensure preconceived ideas don’t get in the way of successful outcomes. Clients also benefit from direct access to our principal, Robert Hughes.

Scientific methods

We believe that work on developing a solution can only begin once the nature of a strategic management problem has been fully understood. One of the 20th Century’s great philosophers of science, Karl Popper, had something to say about working on problems.

“…when we speak of a problem we do so almost always from hindsight. A man who works on a problem can seldom say clearly what his problem is (unless he has found the solution); even if he can explain his problem, he may mistake it.”

Popper, Karl 1975 Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

He warned against trying to define a problem while burdened with preconceptions. Properly defining a problem involves stripping away preconceptions. This is an essential part of our methodology. It allows us a clarity of objective and strongly individualised approach.

“…in almost every phase of… development… we are under the sway of… untestable ideas; ideas which not only determine what problems of explanation we shall choose to attack, but also what kinds of answers we shall consider as fitting or satisfactory or acceptable, and as improvements of, or advances on, earlier answers…

These preconceived ideas and solutions are only occasionally discussed as such: more often, they are implicit in the theories and in the attitude and judgements of the decision makers …”

Popper, Karl 1992 The Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery: Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics. Routledge, London.

Once the problem is fully understood, we can start doing the groundwork.


Groundwork involves clarifying the issues and identifying the right analytical methods. This is essential to avoid reaching superficial or hasty conclusions.

Our resources include:

  • in-house research
  • business economics and technology research literature
  • contemporary management research and practice
  • developments in economic and social thought.

We combine careful, methodical analysis with astute thinking – working closely with our clients throughout.

Our clients’ perceptions of the issues they face are as important as the issues themselves.

Practical experience

A distinguishing feature of our advice is the experience we bring on practical matters relating to:

  • identifying opportunities, efficient investing of resources in those opportunities, and guiding initiatives to profit
  • operational systems and processes using information and telecommunications technology
  • designing and launching multisided platform businesses