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Creating Great Choices: A Leader's Guide to Integrative Thinking
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Creating Great Choices: A Leader's Guide to Integrative Thinking

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Move Beyond Trade-Off Thinking

When it comes to our hardest choices, it can seem as though making trade-offs is inevitable. But what about those crucial times when accepting the obvious trade-off just isn't good enough? What do we do when the choices in front of us don't get us what we need? In those cases, rather than choosing the least worst option, we can use the models
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Harvard Business Review Press
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Toyin A
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
It had a slow start to it but once it ramped up, it was easy to follow the writers’ train of thought and problem solving approach.

Academic in its approach, the book presents 4 methodologies to create great choices by implementing an integrated thinking process:

1) Articulate the models by framing the problem and teasing out two opposing models to solve the problem.
2) Examine the models.
3)Explore the possibilities.
4)Assess the prototypes to test different possible answers before moving ahead.

I par
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Frank Calberg
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Book extracts I found particularly useful:

What is integrative thinking?
- Page 8: Integrative thinking is a way of thinking / a process that uses the tension of opposing ideas to help create new solutions / new possibilities.
- Page 9 and 88: Integrative thinking means taking the best of choices A and B and creatively re-configuring them to create new value.
- Page 85 and 88: Using dilemmas / opposing models helps you 1) avoid group think, 2) avoid thinking in compromises, 3) avoid a too early comm
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Michelle
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The most useful book I've read this year, granted this is only the 3rd book I've finished this year, but I truly believe that this will still be somewhere at the top by the end of the year.

This book on "integrative thinking" gave me a fresh approach to problem-solving in the workplace. The step-by-step methodology on using the tension between completely opposing ideas to a problem to drive innovative solutions is clearly laid out with compelling case studies and templates the reader can use to
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Tammy
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. The discussion about empathy and needing diverse input (if you surround yourself on with people that agree with you then you don't generate new ideas or learn new perspectives) seemed very timely. The problem solving methods seemed challenging but the templates given were very helpful. I especially liked the pro/pro list (instead of a pro/con list) and the form for showing benefits to different players. ...more
Kevin Kaiser
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this explanation of integrative thinking. The concept is to create two opposing models for solving a problem and rather than choosing one, attempting to create a new solution that contains the best parts of each model.
Ceil
Solid discussion of integrative thinking - clear strategies to approach complex organizational challenges -or simple ones about which people disagree. Lovely templates throughout to make it easy to apply the integrative process.
Raj Shankar
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: strategy-growth
Life is spent making “Choices”, or at least we believe so. At times we do not make choices and wait until only one option is left in front of us At times we make compromised choices. Rarely people are able to make the much needed “trade-offs” between options. While “making trade-offs” is what makes choosing options difficult, Riel and Martin suggest in this book that there is a third possible way – a method to mix the best of two opposing options and thereby create a third option.

For a detailed
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Jess
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm not sure why, but I had trouble getting through this book. It started off strong and it lost my interest. I skimmed the last third of the book.

I did pull some strong takeaways from the book. There is a great story about how the Lego movie came to be, excerpts from Jay Z's biography, and insights on things like confirmation bias.

I may try to finish the second half of this book at a later date. For some reason, it's just not working for me right now.
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Anna
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is great at explaining the How of applying integrative thinking. The step by step guide is amazing in providing details, examples and templates. It starts with defining a problem, which surprisingly does not have to be a trade-off. We can actually describe the opposing models based on the problem we are facing or the goal we want to achieve (How might we...). Then it's all about using the models to create new options. Huge improvement from the initial book "The Opposable Mind"! ...more
Douglas Meyer
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it
A very good primer, big-hand-little-map, review of integrative thinking, choice architecture, and libertarian paternalism. I wish I had read this book prior to my journey through Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, Thaler's Nudge, and other pieces on heuristics and bias. The first 2/3 of this book flies, while I found the last 1/3 somewhat of a slog - but worth it nonetheless. ...more
Leann
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
They say we stay inside of our own social media bubbles, never truly pushing ourselves to explore what is outside of our comfort zone. This book is a thoughtful, quiet instruction manual on how to break out of your own bubble of repeated thoughts and learn new models of thinking. While a bit academic, Riel has a patient voice and guides readers on what mental models are. This isn't a book to be read once and then gather dust on the shelf. Rather, if you are truly putting this book to its intende ...more
Jim
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardback, 2018
Creating Great Choices generates ideas concerning new ways for organisational leaders to address probelms and generate innovative solutions to correct them. Riel and Martin address this through the concept of integrative thinking; using opposing views to generate new ideas. While the idea of integrative thinking is interesting it may be difficult form many organizations to implement as it appears to involve a steep learning curve that may be too time consuming for many organizations. However, cr ...more
Natalia
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really good book, it seems that the way of thinking is obvious but the way of thinking presented in this book shows me that everyone has a right and it is important to understand thinking of ourselves and others. Looking for advantages rather than both, make me sure that I am so close to make right decisions. Good examples, easy to understand move us to the real world of the experiences. The exercises during the book makes us stronger in understanding present way of thinking. Good for people tha ...more
J.
This book expanded on The Opposable Mind and I think it did a really good job and satisfying what was lacking in that book. Steps and templates are presented to give guidance to people who are more sequential in their thinking and visual in their learning too. The last chapter does call us to mindful of our mental models and our place in the world as well as how we chose to see ourselves in relationship with it. I think this book will be a tremendous help with wonderful applications in many area ...more
fc7reads
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: textbooks
This book was required reading for a course. Unlike many other books in this genre, it includes multiple step-by-step exercises that walk you through the actual process of developing an integrative solution. It has been my experience that books dealing with leadership and creative thinking tend to lack this element. I like the practicality of this book. More than that, I appreciate the idea that problem-solving doesn't have to come down to the either/or thinking that is prevalent in big decision ...more
Warren Mcpherson
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Challenge your thinking.
Extending design thinking to other hard problems, particularly business problems. There is less emphasis on group dynamics and more on the thinking process. A workbook designed to guide the reader. There are cautionary reminders about the short-cuts we are prone to taking. It emphasizes the value of understanding tension between different conceptual models, avoiding trade-off's and working through key ideas in a systematic productive way.

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Nick
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Useful for management and decision making roles. I enjoyed the example of the teacher putting fish visibly around her class with some information, while other fish were hidden. The hidden fish give the complete picture of the story (eg. kid banging his hands on the desk on the visible fish, student getting bullied at recess on the hidden fish). Its a reminder that we need to look beyond the surface and dig deep into issues, by integrative thinking, to solve problems.
Peter Rowan
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I've often found myself guilty of "clinging" to an idea and missing opportunities as a result. I loved the integrative approach of considering the pros/pros list of multiple perspectives when considering solutions to challenging problems. I have some homework to take away from this book in the form of worksheets to help me develop this fresh perspective on integrative thinking. ...more
Nathan
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Design thinking + a little bit more, not a fantastic read if you're already familiar with design thinking. The one good ideas is instead of compromising use "integrative thinking" where you generate two opposing models and then find the pros of each and think about how to get some of the important pros into a new solution. ...more
Todd McGlinchey
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are a lot of great ideas to implement and improve your team. Challenging the way you and your team problem solve is my biggest take away. I had to plow through some parts but overall very enjoyable read.
Vasyl Pasternak
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Design Thinking for Managers. It contains a lot of information and well-structured but not so engaging as similar books about decision making.
Emily
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I will go back to this book again and again. The theory is explained in a clear and compelling way. Beyond that, it is full of practical approaches and step by step application.
Grace
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
*I received a free copy from goodreads*

An interesting read but I was expecting more information/ideas that could be used in everyday life.
Alexia M.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another key tool in a decision maker toolbox.
Candace
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Great concepts, it will be fun to apply different perspectives this half of the semester.
Jayant
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well written book that explains a complex topic (changing how to think) in a way that makes it easy to grasp and even to practice.
Collette Swindells
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Some great information and ideas...just too many diagrams and flowcharts for me. Hard to follow and relate to.
Satish Antony
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Concise and clear introduction to integrative thinking. The practical examples were very helpful and helped to ground the theory. Useful templates to use in an individual situation.
5/5 stars.
Lars Corneliussen
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very mind-opening book - very similar to "The 3rd alternative" in spirit, but with much more actionable advices on how to arrive at good and sustainable solutions for complex problems.

Reading this book you'll (hopefully) never get lost in a win/loose debate or even for yourself caught in a false dillemma bias.
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Travis
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: hard-copy
Well Titled Book - Great for Thinkers
How does one make a Great Choice? They use Integrative Thinking of course! I didn't love this book because I'm not a person who likes loose ends. I like things to be finished. Integrative Thinking is leaving a topic open for discussion, interpretation, and criticism. While I feel this is great for awhile, at some point we need to come to a close and make a decision. I know that's not the point of the book, as it is in fact, a book on thinking, which obviously
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