Jeanne Liedtka

Strategic thinking is hypothesis-driven. In an environment of ever-increasing information availability and decreasing time to think, the ability to develop good hypotheses and test them effectively is critical. Strategic thinking is both creative and critical in nature, and figuring out how to accomplish both types of thinking simultaneously has long troubled cognitive psychologists, since it is necessary to suspend critical judgment in order to think more creatively Strategic thinking accommodates both creative and analytical thinking sequentially in its use of iterative cycles of hypothesis generating and testing. Hypothesis generation asks the question what if…?, while hypothesis testing follows with the critical question if…, then…? and brings relevant data to bear on the analysis. Taken together, and repeated over time, this sequence allows us to generate ever-improving hypotheses, without forfeiting the ability to explore new ideas. Such experimentation allows an organization to move beyond simplistic notions of cause and effect and provides ongoing learning.

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