Rotman School of Management

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Integrative Thinking

Through years of research, Roger Martin, Academic Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, identified a pattern of productive problem solving that can be learned and developed. Interested in what drives success in business, he decided that rather than look at what leaders do, he should look at how leaders think. He interviewed highly successful leaders and asked them how they thought through their toughest choices. As he spoke to leaders about these choices, a pattern of thinking emerged. He found that, rather than choose between existing, often opposing models, highly successful leaders build new ones.
He called this approach Integrative Thinking™.

Customizing Integrative Thinking
Integrative Thinking meets the challenges of a changing global environment by recognizing that today's business leaders require new approaches to tackling problems. The Rotman team has developed a series of modules and courses that can increase individual and group capacity for engaging in this kind of thinking. Multiple delivery formats have been designed to meet diverse organizational needs, including the specific challenges of profit, not-for-profit and public sector organizations.

Integrative Thinking partners well with other content areas like Strategy, Innovation, Change Management and Business Design™. It can be a stand-alone program or it can be incorporated into leadership development programs. It helps leaders broaden their understanding of complex challenges and multiple stakeholders.

For a customized program in Integrative Thinking, Rotman can adapt a standard curriculum to align with organization-specific challenges, or highly customize the curriculum to integrate an organization's strategic objectives. Some formats include:

Half-day Session
Participants will:

  • Understand the Integrative Thinking framework
  • Try the approach themselves on a general business issue

One-day Session
Participants will:

  • Understand the Integrative Thinking framework
  • Work in teams to connect Integrative Thinking to an organization-specific dilemma

Two-day Session
Participants will:

  • Understand the Integrative Thinking framework
  • Develop new tools for Integrative Thinking, and gain practice at applying new learnings to general and industry-specific scenarios

Three-day Session
Participants will:

  • Understand the Integrative Thinking framework, develop tools and practice applying learnings
  • Prototype a creative solution to an organization-specific dilemma and gain a deeper understanding of how to apply Integrative Thinking tools back on the job

Desautels Centre For Integrative Thinking
With the launch of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking in January of 2002, the Rotman School took a giant leap towards changing the way business schools teach business. This research centre-the first of its kind-brings together internationally-renowned scholars to push the frontiers of Integrative Thinking and conduct original research, making Rotman a focal point for thought leadership and dialogue in this area.


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