Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Integrative Thinking, Part 5: Resolution

Salient elements of two opposing ideas are explored for causality while decisions regarding structure (or “architecture”) are delayed to enable form to truly reflect function. These integrative thinking steps lead to the final stage: resolution. (See the previous postings on this topic for information on salience, causality, and architecture.)

In The Opposable Mind, Roger Martin (2007) describes resolution as the “creative resolution of tensions” (p. 47). Opposing ideas contribute traits that merge to generate a new idea. The form created through such a merge establishes the resolution.

In Isadore Sharp’s experience, resolution produces a “system of reinforcing activities,” comprising mid-sized hotels with an intimate feel, superior staff attitude and customer service, consistency in implementation worldwide, and a focus on serving employees. Each element of the “system” strengthens the others to generate a model that thrives (p. 38).

Integrative thinking may be interesting to study, but how does it relate to teaching and learning? We’ll explore this in the next posting, but recent research suggests that increased teacher thinking could do much to improve the quality of instruction and depth of learning in our schools.

Martin, R. (2007). The opposable mind: How successful leaders win through integrative thinking. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

1 comment:

Graham Douglas said...


Thanks for these interesting articles.

Martin's view of Integrative Thinking seems very limited and limiting because much of our thinking is done when we are not conscious of its being done. That is why it is essential to include reflection as an essential ingredient in the process of Integrative Thinking as you indicate.

In my view Integrative Thinking can be taught,learned and applied generally. Tools for doing this are offered at http://www.integrative-thinking.com.


Graham Douglas