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About us

Who we are

EffectiveTalent Office LLC (ETO) is a solution design studio formed by Craig Watson to address critical “white spaces” in talent management technology -- areas of unmet needs - where new product or service innovations can create outsize value.  ETO designs, protects, and then commercializes these innovations through license, sale, and co-development arrangements with strategic industry partners.  Previous studios resulted in sale of a financial services solution to one of the largest global card processing entities in the world, and a digital payments patent portfolio acquired by PayPal. 

ETO's PRISM solution delivers a range of tools based on patented Matched Array technology.  The core solution, Talent Architecture, models the aggregate pattern of alignment between business strategy and talent readiness in any organization,  yielding major new strategy levers for organizations.  

© Copyright 2023 by EffectiveTalent Office LLC

How we work

Studios follow a disciplined four-step process. Steps 1 and 2 involve critical research to validate perceived “white space” innovation opportunities, resulting in an “innovation thesis” that is stress-tested with advisors and technical specialists. If the thesis is validated, an independent patentability search is commissioned, patenting is initiated, and the universe of potential licensees is identified.  We then decide how to proceed through Steps 3 and 4.





Validate the innovation thesis

Engage strategic industry partners

Support solution success

Design and patent solutions

Solution 1 overview - Supporting top management perspective

Present a unified visualization of the overall quality, depth, risk, and dynamics of a company's top leadership talent pool – generally the top 1-2% of the total number of employees.   Synthesize high-value roles, high-potential candidates, retention risks, performance issues, pipeline trends, inclusion progress, and more, to establish a holistic view of talent readiness, development needs, and impediments.  

Use case

This overall talent perspective is generally unavailable absent enormous effort in the form of time-consuming talent reviews, as part of bottom-up succession planning, or as the product of a costly consulting engagement.

White space

The innovation – PRISM Talent Architecture – provides top management with the ability to routinely generate intelligent visualizations of the overall quality, depth, risk, and change direction of entire talent pools anywhere in the organization -- within days.

Target innovation

Talent Architecture is like the “Business Model” – every business has always had one, but it only became strategic when the Internet enabled decoupling of Value Chains.

Porter’s Value Chain (1985)

Business Model Canvas (~2010)

Talent Architecture is the aggregate pattern of alignment between business strategy and talent readiness. It is currently not understood or used as the powerful lever for talent understanding, strategy, and change it embodies.


Craig Watson is the founder and CEO of EffectiveTalent Office LLC, and a veteran of global CFO and CIO roles in high-performing Fortune 300 companies. He developed PRISM Talent Architecture as an intelligent visualization solution to human capital challenges he encountered first-hand at PepsiCo, Merck, FMC, and Cummins Engine.  A solution designer by nature, Craig is a Harvard- and Princeton-trained economist with 21 issued patents in multiple technologies, including six patents on Talent Architecture., and a digital payments portfolio acquired by PayPal.  He is actively engaged in advanced technology and innovation as a managing principal of a Chicago technology consulting firm, and senior advisor to a leading design thinking firm in the city.  Craig serves as an independent director of a $20Bn health care business and is the author of articles that have appeared in Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, and MIT Sloan Management Review.

EffectiveTalent Office LLC
EffectiveTalent Office LLC

CHRO feedback

"This is so cleverly structured and innovative. It should take the place of 9-box, which most of us hate, but it’s all we have…

This is the first time I’ve seen explicit consideration of what the talent wants. We always take management’s point of view, and that needs to change."

- Former CHRO

$16Bn Midwest Health care company 

"Talent reviews are all about the conversation. This is a great tool for working through that discussion, and doing so with context…

I was with [Big Four firm]. They would kill for this; it’s diagnostic and addresses what CEOs are focused on – the quality, depth, and readiness of the leadership bench. You see that here in a nutshell."


$18Bn National Multi-line insurer

"This is an HR leader’s dream; it shows so much in one place... 

Being able to regularly review talent gaps and risks is highly valuable for both talent planning and development…  Being able to monitor talent progress over time is a reality check that holds leaders accountable."

- Former Senior Global Director, Talent

   and Leadership Development

$47Bn Global Pharmaceutical firm

Solution 2 overview - Improving middle management coaching

Frontline and middle managers oversee the bulk of the workforce but are widely recognized as needing help in delivering meaningful and responsive performance feedback to their employees. The trend toward more frequent coaching sessions (vs annual performance appraisals) will multiply the number of times managers - often already inadequate to the task – will have to step up. 

Use case

What’s needed is a tool that mines existing performance and advancement scores and supporting evidence to generate meaningful coaching narratives reflecting local conditions, incorporating enterprise themes, and automatically adjusting for calibration and equity. 

White space

The innovation – PRISM Coaching @Scale® – helps middle managers dramatically enhance the relevance, accuracy, and specificity of their coaching. Coaching@Scale® translates Talent Architecture performance and potential scores into meaningful generative AI narratives managers use to coach employees on performance and advancement.

Target innovation

Our purpose and mission

To help organizations rapidly visualize, diagnose, and improve talent quality, depth, risk, and change over time.


To make Talent Architecture™ and all its benefits widely available across the human capital management ecosystem - platforms, systems integrators, consultants, and users - to drive informed end user and partner value.


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