The Power of Two Opposing Ideas
I just finished The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin. It is a great read and is full of valuable suggestions to help us become more productively creative. Many years ago Roger and I worked together at Monitor Company. Even then it was obvious that Roger was an integrative thinker. Roger’s book introduces us to the concept of integrative thinking.
Integrative Thinking is the ability to constructively face the tension of opposing models and, instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generating a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new model.
The new model contains elements of the individual models but is superior to each. This means that Integrative Thinkers are model creators not model takers. Because of this, they are disproportionately able to come up with breakthrough ways of doing things. They emerge as the admired and revered innovators.
Roger’s counsel to help us become more effective in building great strategy is as simple as it is effective:
Whenever you face a decision between two options, don’t think that your job is to choose; think that your job is to create a better option.