Simon Everett, Ltd.

Simon Everett is an analytic design firm. We structure and implement analytic engagements to help government agencies, businesses, and non-profits solve problems, large and small. Whether our clients seek to create capabilities, improve processes, or inform decisions, we offer the proven ability to address their needs. Our consultative approach blends analytic agility with interdisciplinary expertise to produce functionally and aesthetically impactful results. We are successful when our clients tell us they can achieve better outcomes.

Cyber health in the Commonwealth

Cybersecurity is big business. Worldwide spending on goods and services to protect digital information is estimated to reach $1 trillion between 2017 and 2021. As companies, governments, and individuals make this tremendous investment, policymakers are looking to the industry to catalyze economic growth within their communities – and to cultivate the capabilities needed to meet the security demands of an increasingly digital society.

Recognizing the opportunity inherent in the cybersecurity sector, the Commonwealth of Kentucky commissioned Simon Everett and our partner kglobal to conduct Kentucky’s first-ever statewide study of cybersecurity. The Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, which sponsored the study with a grant funded by the Office of Economic Adjustment, sought a broad-based analysis designed to serve three related objectives: strengthen the economy by creating an environment conducive to the growth of the cybersecurity sector; protect critical infrastructure by promoting a healthy cybersecurity ecosystem; and make the defense industrial base more resilient by helping defense companies better assess growth and diversification opportunities in this adjacent industry.

After more than eight months of research, stakeholder interviews, and outreach, we recently concluded our work with a briefing to government leaders in the historic State Capitol in Frankfort. The 190-plus-page Kentucky Cybersecurity Industry Study is in fact a composite of ten smaller studies, each addressing a different facet of the state’s cybersecurity landscape. For example, we assessed the industry’s economic impact in Kentucky, analyzed the cybersecurity workforce, and reviewed risk management and governance frameworks.

Guided by our analysis, the study makes dozens of specific, actionable, and practical recommendations for Kentucky to realize the economic and security benefits of a vibrant cybersecurity sector. With purposeful action tied to strategic direction, Kentucky can become a hub for cybersecurity companies and talent, and it can be a leader in protecting citizens, businesses, and infrastructure from cyber risk.

Click here to view the Executive Summary of the Kentucky Cybersecurity Industry Study.

Reply hazy, try again

Projecting the future can be a thankless task – not because you might get it wrong, but because someone might mistakenly think you’re expecting to get it right. In our business, it’s worth understanding the difference between the art & science of “projection” (for the sake of being prepared for what may come) and the magic 8-ball of “prediction” (for the sake of bragging about your Super Bowl pick).

Happily for the security of America and its allies, many US Department of Defense (DoD) organizations recognize the value of projecting how drivers may advance in the coming years so that they can prepare for a range of potential outcomes and stand ready to meet future challenges. In support of one such defense client, we recently teamed with prime contractor Barbaricum, LLC, to develop a suite of scenarios that explore how certain technologies might be employed by friendly forces, adversaries, civilian populations, and private organizations throughout Latin America over the next fifteen years. Barbaricum’s cadre of experienced military professionals, technology subject matter experts (SMEs), and regional specialists provided the “science” part of the equation. We tended to the “art” of designing structured exercises through which to elicit SME insights, constructing creative settings for the application of specified technologies, and developing compelling narratives to present potential outcomes and implications for DoD planners.

The resulting product may serve as a common framework for consideration of future force structure needs, recruitment strategies, training requirements, and capability gaps in a region that is traditionally underserved in the field of security studies. Each of these long-range planning aspects will undoubtedly be impacted by the rapid advance of technology – and this framework will help DoD better prepare for a complex future.

We’re proud of our projections and are working with Barbaricum to provide further support to our defense client. As for predictions, my season-opening call for Super Bowl LI was Steelers vs. Seahawks; outlook not so good.

 

Let's get digital

If your Internet has ever gone down for an afternoon, you know what it’s like to go without adorable cat videos for a few hours. You also know what it’s like to miss a vital e-mail, never receive basic information about a project, or not be able to respond to a client. Without the Internet, life can be frustrating – but doing business in the global economy is nearly impossible.

Nowhere is this challenge starker than on the African continent. In most sub-Saharan African countries, less than 10% of the population has access to the Internet, representing a major barrier to African competitiveness and entrepreneurship. Building robust information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure is critical to unlocking the region’s tremendous economic potential.

Enter the United States Trade and Development Agency – or USTDA, for short. Avid Simon Says readers will recall that USTDA was a client of ours in the past. But for the rest of you, here’s a refresher: USTDA creates markets for American exports by investing in projects in emerging economies. The agency generates $85 of US exports for every dollar it programs – a real return on investment for the American taxpayer.

In sub-Saharan Africa, USTDA is catalyzing investment in the ICT sector. The agency plays a key role in the Global Connect Initiative, a comprehensive interagency effort to connect 1.5 billion people to the Internet by the end of the decade. And USTDA invested in the early stages of the SEACOM undersea fiber-optic cable system, a reliable, high-speed network that now connects African markets with one another and with Europe and Asia. By investing in feasibility studies, technical assistance projects, and other planning activities, USTDA is helping to create sub-Saharan Africa’s networked future.

Before committing funds to any activity, USTDA must conduct a rigorous analysis according to a set of established criteria. That’s where we come in. USTDA recently awarded Simon Everett a prime contract to conduct those independent analyses. We’ll be advising USTDA on whether a project would be successful – and how its odds of success could be improved.

Over the course of the next two years, we'll work on assessing as many as 18 potential activities across the continent - from broadband initiatives to smart city projects. And if that means more cat videos will bounce from Burkina from Botswana, we'll know we've done our job right.

© 2017 Simon Everett, Ltd.