Meet Our Team

Your Guides on Your Innovation Portfolio Journey

Our team brings decades of collective experience in helping companies produce better results from their research and development, new product development and innovation strategies. By applying advanced decision analysis principles to your biggest strategic problems and leveraging our in-depth industry experience, we help you move beyond common practice to best practice.

David Matheson, President and CEO, SmartOrg, Inc.

David Matheson
President and CEO

David Matheson. With over two decades of portfolio and innovation management experience, David is a leader in helping executives achieve better growth results. He is the President and CEO of SmartOrg – a company he cofounded in 2000 that provides software and services to support decision making and manage uncertainty. His qualifications include a Ph.D. in organizational decision making from Stanford University, as well as being a Fellow with the Society of Decision Professionals (SDP), where he is currently the president. He is also an educator, startup advisor, public speaker and author of “The Smart Organization” from Harvard Business School Press. When off from work, David gravitates towards his passion for cycling and dark chocolate. 

Dave Wachenschwanz has vast experience leading research and advanced product development teams that have delivered many successful innovations and products in the data storage industry at companies including Western Digital and Komag. His technical background covers areas including magnetics, magnetic recording and tribology. He also is currently an instructor at the University of California Santa Cruz, Silicon Valley Extension where he teaches courses in embedded systems. Dave received his MS in Electrical & Computer Engineering (Applied Physics) from the University of California San Diego.

Dave Wachenschwanz, Senior Engagement Manager

Dave Wachenschwanz
Director of Development

Doug Williams, Associate Director, Innovation, SmartOrg Inc.

Doug Williams
Associate Director, Innovation

Doug Williams helps clients design and build innovation and ideation programs that achieve the twin goals of creating business value and cultivating an engaged, committed workforce. He has helped over 80 organizations build and grow innovation programs as a professional services leader at Planview Spigit and analyst at Forrester Research. He is responsible for business development and delivery of SmartOrg’s innovation management software and services. Doug holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Brandeis University. He also studied French and Liberal Arts at the Institute of European Studies and Université de Paris IV – La Sorbonne.

James Matheson (Jim) is a co-founder, Chairman and CFO, of SmartOrg and a world recognized leader in the development and application of decision analysis. In recognition of his career, he was awarded the Ramsey Medal, the highest honor in the field of decision analysis, for creating and managing the world’s first decision analysis group at SRI International in addition to decades of contribution to the principles and applications of decision analysis. After SRI, he co-founded and was a managing director of Strategic Decision Group (SDG), where he served as Chief Technology Officer and developed their R&D consulting practice. SmartOrg, Inc. is a year 2000 spinoff of the software related assets of SDG.

In addition to his professional practice, Dr. Matheson has been a Consulting Professor in the Department of Management Science and Engineer ing at Stanford University since 1967, where he regularly teaches courses and supervises graduate students. He serves on the Board of Directors of Clarity4Action, and on the advisory boards of the Decision Institute and Right Side Capital Management.

He holds a BS from the Carnegie­Mellon University, an MS and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, and is a Fellow of INFORMS and of the Society of Decision Professionals (SDP). He co-authored the highly-acclaimed book, The Smart Organization: Creating Value through Strategic R&D.

In mid-2012, Dr. Matheson was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Committee to Determine Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants.  The final report was published in 2014.

Jim Matheson, Chairman and CFO

Jim Matheson
Chairman and CFO

We fondly remember Don Creswell, our friend and co-founder.

Don Cresswell, friend and co-founder

Our Story

Great Decision Conversations graphic

Since 2000, SmartOrg has been helping companies hold great decision conversations about important questions of strategy and finance. SmartOrg’s founders and principals got their academic grounding in Decision Science at Stanford University, and developed its application to business at SRI International and SDG before setting out to create SmartOrg. Along the way, two of them wrote the book on smart organizations – literally:  The Smart Organization by David and James Matheson.

Today, the goal of our work is to help you uncover hidden opportunities and use them to drive breakthrough growth. We help you manage and overcome conflicting demands on limited corporate resources and conflicting priorities between finance and innovation.

SmartOrg has invented methods that help innovation and finance agree on how to drive upside and on where and how much to invest. To make these accessible to companies, we’ve embodied them in our Portfolio Navigator® web-based platform. Portfolio Navigator administers and conducts the evaluation of uncertain opportunities, aggregates and compares them, and optimizes the portfolio.

As we help you implement your solution, we build your capability to deliver credible and comparable evaluations so your teammates can make and accept portfolio decisions. We teach you how to use our techniques and software to manage your portfolio as an ongoing business process, quarter after quarter and year after year.

Rigorous Foundations + Decades of Practical Experience = Great Enterprise Software

SmartOrg provides software and services to help companies evaluate their opportunities and make the best decisions about where to invest. Companies like HP use us in innovation to take early stage ideas and develop them into winning businesses. Companies like Corteva Agriscience use us across their portfolio to prioritize projects and refine their portfolio strategy.

decision analysis award-first place-jim matheson

The company was founded in 2000 based on a simple idea: give our customers what they needed to improve their strategic decision making. We have combined decades of practical experience with rigorous decision analysis into set of approaches and enabling software that help your organization collaborate more effectively.

Prior to founding SmartOrg, we spent decades as management consultants working with hundreds of companies to solve their portfolio management problems.  During that time, we identified key business problems and developed best practices to ensure customer success as measured by return on investment and revenue growth.  We have packaged this experience into our software and services.

How do you figure out the right answer to a complex business problem?  Our founders are pioneers in the field of decision analysis, who have developed the field since its inception, written seminal papers and books–one of our investors, Ron Howard, coined the term decision analysis, and our Chairman Jim Matheson won the prestigious Ramsey Medal for his contributions to the field.  Economic analysis, understanding tradeoffs, clarifying choices, and making it work in an organization setting all run in our blood.  We have tremendous depth and rigor.

How do you get companies to improve their organizational decision making?  Our founders have worked with Nobel-prize winning Psychologist Danny Kahneman to understand how people really make judgements about decision making and uncertainty, how biases creep in, and what to do about it.  Our president has studied under Jim March, one of the founders of the field of organizational behavior.  We have taken their studies and insights and translated them into practical methods for working with people and organizations like yours.

Our software is built on this foundation.  Our decision making expertise and proven business processes drive our software development.  Our founders first developed tools for analysts, like Supertree™.  Then we developed intelligent decision systems.  At SmartOrg we have taken enabling software to the enterprise level.