Rotman School of Management

Main Content

Integrative Thinking explained

New to Integrative Thinking?
New to Integrative Thinking?

What is Integrative Thinking and how does it work?

More and more, employers are demanding that the pool of MBA grads from which they hire is ready to tackle complex business problems in real time. Teaching them to be specialists in one field is no longer an option. The Rotman School is breaking with tradition to teach the ingenuity and adaptive intelligence required for our grads to respond on their feet to problems that haven't been thought of yet.

How do you think? Do I think differently from you? Many things shape the way we think – our background, training, and our way of seeing the world. What’s interesting to know is that we can create models or maps—blueprints—of how we think, and how others think. Being able to hold these different viewpoints in our mind’s eye is like viewing a many-faceted diamond. And it can change the way we see the world.
 
You might ask why anyone would want to do something that makes their head hurt? Stepping outside your own mind is not easy. But it is worthwhile. It opens the door to creating more effective and inventive solutions. In fact, Integrative Thinking is all about modelling and bridging the limitations of our conditioned thought patterns. Our graduates are trained to find exceptional solutions to wicked problems.

Here's how former Rotman Dean Roger Martin describes it: "The typical way of dealing with problems is to list several solutions and decide on the best one, as though it were wrong to select more than one. Business students are taught to analyze business problems in this way: option A yields $2.8 million, option B yields $3.4 million, so option B is superior. Integrative Thinking is a mindset that leads you to a new option, which combines the best elements of A and B. It’s a creative act."

Higher education is in crisis--there's a disconnect between what students learn and what employers need them to know. The Rotman School has developed Integrative Thinking to teach ingenuity and adaptive intelligence so that our students graduate with long-lasting techniques for framing problems, learning consciously, precisely and continuously, and drawing from diverse disciplines.

Because of this, our graduates are equipped to tackle problems that don't even exist yet.

Rotman is serious about transforming higher education to equip students to address real problems in the real world. Rotman is bringing problem solvers to the world…A new way to think…A new way to do business.

© Rotman School of ManagementAASCB