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The Opposable Mind December 7, 2009

Posted by Nii Sai Sai in Opposable Mind, [Books] Ways of Thinking.

Ever feel like you’ve got too much stuff going on in your life, and that you can’t think clearly any longer? In “The Opposable Mind”, Roger Martin points out the four parts of the thinking process:

Salience: what is important?
Causality: what relationships exist between the things that matter most?
Architecture: how can we approach the complex problem in an effective manner?
Resolution: how do we know when we’re done, and have a solution?

We all use such a framework for thinking and making decisions. Integrative thinkers just do it differently, and get better results. They define what is important and salient in a broader manner. The think bigger and better, and do not confine themselves to established boundaries. Integrative thinkers look for complex relationships between the salient points. They explore many more potential causal linkages, and can therefore come up with more scenarios for analysis. Integrative thinkers never lose sight of the big picture. In the midst of all the complexity, they keep their eyes on the ultimate objective. Finally, integrative thinkers don’t settle for conventional resolutions and trade-offs. They are comfortable saying no to a proposed solution, regardless of how much work has gone into it. They push the envelope, and come up with new, better ideas emerging from the synthesis of existing ideas.

We all THINK! Nobody can argue with that statement. It’s part of what we do everyday as humans. However, it doesn’t take much to prove that we don’t all think effectively. Next time you face a wicked problem, think about how you are thinking about the problem. Are you just trying to settle for trade-offs and non-inventive solutions, or are you pushing the envelope? Remember that unfamiliar alternatives are just that, novel. Also, you don’t always have to choose between options. Think about creating another option out of what exists.



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