ABOUT US

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 of SmartOrg

David Matheson
President and CEO

David Matheson cofounded SmartOrg. With decades of experience, he has helped senior management in firms around the world improve their results from portfolio management, product development, innovation, R & D, capital investment and strategy. He’s known for finding simple answers to some of the most complicated strategic business issues and is an expert at measuring value and managing uncertainty.

Why does David do what he does? When customers report back to him with 30% improvements in growth or cost reductions, or higher as with the 3X increase in return on innovation experienced by DuPont, David and his team savor the accomplishment of helping customers achieve growth beyond their initial expectations.

He co-authored the bestselling book, “The Smart Organization: Creating Value through Strategic R & D” (Harvard Business School Press) and has authored numerous articles on innovation, portfolio management and decision making. David is a Fellow with the Society of Decision Professionals, an educator in Strategic Portfolio Management, and advises numerous startups. His Ph.D. is from Stanford University, where he has also taught Strategic Portfolio Management at the Stanford Center for Professional Development. When David isn’t showing executives how to bring about more profitable growth, he’s most likely outside riding his bike and celebrating with dark chocolate.

Ralph Morales III is an experienced innovator with a demonstrated history of working through all stages of the business life cycle and functions of business management within advanced technology industries. Skilled in strategic business planning, business operations, business development, and innovation strategy and lean methods of exploration.  

Ralph was the Director of Innovation at HP Inc. where he scouted and incubated innovations in Virtual Reality, Internet of Things Solutions, and Industrial 3D Printing.  He holds a certificate in innovation from Stanford Graduate School of Business and was a guest lecturer in the Executive Education program for Strategic Risk Management – Decisions under Uncertainty.  He holds an MBA from the University of Arizona and is a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do.

Ralph Morales III, Associate Director, Innovation

Ralph Morales III
Associate Director, Innovation

Suhui Chen, Manager of Product Development

Suhui Chen
Manager of Product Development

Suhui Chen, Manager of Product Development, delivers Portfolio evaluation solutions using SmartOrg’s Rangal™ platform. She serves as a bridge between business and engineering, connecting business requirements to technical solutions. She is our resident designer and product manager for Portfolio Navigator®. Prior to SmartOrg, Suhui worked as an Industrial Engineer in Cummins Inc. She has a master’s degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. 

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
Senior Engagement Manager

Jim Matheson, Chairman and CFO

Jim Matheson
Chairman and CFO

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.

Peter McNamee was SmartOrg’s Director of Software and Solutions.  He has led senior management teams in decision making and value optimization in a variety of industries including telecommunications, automotive, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, healthcare and electric power.  

Peter is an expert in creating the specialized models that make our software such a powerful solution for some of the world’s largest product manufacturers.  He is also an expert software developer and has been critical to the creation of our software platform, Portfolio Navigator™. He is co-author of the book, “Decision Analysis for the Professional“, now in its fourth edition. Peter is a Fellow with the Society of Decision Professionals. He has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University.

Peter McNamee, Founder (Emeritus)

Peter McNamee
Founder (Emeritus)

Tom Keelin, Mathematician in Residence

Tom Keelin
Mathematician-in-Residence

Tom Keelin has combined a career in decision analysis practice with innovations to advance the field.  As Mathematician in Residence at SmartOrg, he is continuing to develop the metalog family of probability distributions – potentially the most significant advance in general-purpose probability distributions in over a century.  He is working on publications that include: proof that the metalogs are infinitely flexible; metalog Bayesian inference; summing lognormal distributions in closed form; and applications in decision analysis, risk management, and R&D portfolio management.  Previously for fifteen years, Tom was a founder and managing partner of Keelin Reeds Partners, providing strategy and decision analysis services to life sciences companies. As a builder of the Strategic Decisions Group for eighteen years, he served at various times as Worldwide Managing Director, head of the strategy practice, founder of the life-sciences practice, founder of the utilities practice, and director of human resources.  Tom is a Fellow of the Society of Decision Professionals.  He is a founder and director of the Decision Education Foundation. Tom holds three degrees from Stanford University: BA in Economics and MS and PhD in Engineering-Economic Systems.

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.