Company Spotlight

Keystone Strategy: Bridging Business, Economics, and Technology

The intersection between business, economics, and technology is where Keystone Strategy makes its stand.

Keystone Strategy is a strategy and economics consulting firm that’s focused on helping clients navigate some of the most difficult challenges facing business today. They work mainly with a variety of Fortune 50 technology companies, some of the world’s biggest law firms, and large companies that are being transformed through technology. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to find Keystone working with any of the companies on our Tech/Digital Disruptive Companies to Work For List.

Samantha Price

Primarily, you’ll find Keystone Strategy working on the leading edge of sciences, technology, and business, says Samantha Price, the first female Partner at the firm. This includes dealing with issues that come up in a legal context, such as intellectual property, competition, and anti-trust.

“As part of that work, we leverage strategic insights from leading experts at Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton, and other top universities,” explains Price. “Pairing their insights with the practical experts at our firm—made up of MBAs, technologists, and economists—is what makes us unique.”

So, it should be no surprise to discover that Keystone Strategy is ranked highly on our list of Top Boutique Consulting Firms. But how exactly did Keystone gain such prestige? The biggest driver of their success is their talent.


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Talented Consultants, Technologists, and Economists

“The single biggest driver of Keystone Strategy is our talent,” says Price. It’s their talented, multi-disciplinary staff—including their network of academic and industry experts—that has made the company who they are today. And it’s responsible for guiding almost every decision at the firm.

For example, Keystone Strategy has offices in San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Seattle, because those locations were best for attracting the top talent required to partner with their clients. In San Francisco and Seattle, it’s all about talented technologists. In Boston, that’s where the firm has found most of their Academic resources—professors from Harvard and MIT. New York is where you can find experts in tech and law.

But that’s just barely scratching the surface of Keystone’s talented staff. To truly understand the firm’s commitment to talent, you have to understand the “triad.”

“The issues our clients face have evolved over time, and we need a mix of skills to tackle those issues. We refer to this internally as the triad,” explains Price. The triad refers to three particular skill sets that are vital to Keystone Strategy’s success.

“We need people with a general business background like myself—those who have an MBA,” Price says. “We also need economists and technology/computer science experts. These three skills come to bear on every project. It’s how we marry these disciplines in a unique way that makes us stand out.”

The challenge, of course, is recruiting and hiring consultants with expertise in each of those areas. To do that, Keystone Strategy has placed a high emphasis on finding, attracting, and retaining a diverse set of talent to drive their business. For right now, the focus is really on growth.

We’re hiring right now as fast as we can,” says Price. “We have a lot of demand from clients, and to meet that demand, we have to attract more top talent. It’s one of the toughest parts of the job, but also the most rewarding.”

 

Promoting Gender Diversity in Consulting

In particular, Keystone Strategy has focused on promoting gender diversity in their hiring.

“We’ve been working for many years at building a stronger leadership pipeline that has more gender balance,” explains Price. “In consulting, as you probably already know, it’s not the most gender-balanced industry, but we’ve made a ton of progress evening that out at many levels of the firm. We also have a pretty gender-balanced client base, which is great.”

Beyond gender diversity, Keystone Strategy looks for team members that are motivated and have diverse experiences. These are the types of people that you want to work with every day. They’re the next leaders who can help bring Keystone into the future.

Speaking of the future, learning and problem solving are vital to Keystone’s growth strategy.


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Keystone Strategy: Staying Nimble Through Continued Learning

Rather than a rigid plan or process that teams follow for every project, Keystone prioritizes learning. This has helped the firm stay nimble and build out specialty areas on demand.

For example, over the last few years, the firm created the Keystone Advanced Technology Solutions (KATS) group, which is made of up technologists, engineers, and computer science experts. This team focuses on everything from natural language processing to key learning models, and then helps apply those approaches to their various client cases. It gives Keystone the ability to create products on the fly, which is not only differentiating, but also incredibly helpful for their clients.

And the only way it’s possible is through the firm’s continued drive to learn—learn more about their clients, learn more from industry and academic experts, and learn more about technological solutions, public policy changes, and new disruptive technology.

“Our approach is to dig deep in order to really understand the issues that face our clients,” says Price. “This means investing in understanding the context of the situation and the many details, which allows us to come up with innovative solutions, things that are really creative.”

And that has led to not only great success, but repeat business. Price says that “we often get feedback that the work we do is unlike anything our clients have received from other consultants.” So their clients come back to them over and over again with new challenges.

It has also led to Keystone playing an educational role. Sometimes the company educates regulators or stands in as a translator between regulators and companies to address public policy challenges.

At the end of the day though, Keystone Strategy is truly focused on learning and solving technology-driven issues. “Our work stands on its own merit,” explains Price.

Learn more about Keystone Strategy and look for similar companies that could be hiring in your area, here.


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About the Author

Kelly Vo is a full-time freelance writer specializing in digital marketing, personal development, and content creation. A social media and brand development expert, you can find Kelly at http://kevowriting.com/ where she helps businesses and executives develop their authentic voice.