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strategic thinking

Strategic Thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to identify/formulate problems; arrive at solutions to recognized problem using appropriate analyses; and communicate solutions effectively to the appropriate audience. Critical thinking is the exercise of careful judgment and evaluation. It requires the ability to analyze, synthesize and evaluate a problem considering alternative views, theories, and opinions.

Analytical thinking is defined as the ability to separate a problem into its component parts and solve it. In analytical thinking you must create a logical sequence of concepts. Analytical thinking typically requires the ability to distinguish between opinion and fact and make an interpretation based on evidence.

Creative thinking involves developing new ideas rather than simply imitate problem-solving and thinking. Creative thinking is inventive, nonlinear, and uncensored.

the analysis process

The Analysis Process

Creating awareness of novel situations

Define/Identify what is important, e.g.,

-Using High Road and Low Road Transfers

Understanding the situation

Describe how factors act and interact, e.g.,

-Using Concepts Maps

Gaining insight into the situation

Determine why these effects occur

-Using analysis tools

creating awareness of novel situations

Creating Awareness of Novel Situations

What is the situation?

Using prior knowledge, skills, and attitudes to create awareness (of the “Big Picture”)

-”High Road Transfers”

e.g., Fantasy Baseball (

-”Low Road Transfers”

e.g., Stock Analysis ( analysis.ppt)

understanding the situation

Understanding the Situation

How does the situation work?

Using concept maps to

create understanding (of complex systems)

-Structure and Linkages

Mind Maps, Cause/Effect Diagrams,

Systems Diagrams, etc.

-What factors influence goal attainment?


gaining insight into the situation

Gaining Insight into the Situation

Why does the situation work?

Using analytical tools to create insight

(into the impacts, interactions, explanations, implications, etc., of system factors)

-Models and Methods

e.g., Brainstorming, Decision Trees, Critical Path Analysis, Game Theory,

Force Field Analysis, SWOT Analysis,

PMI, Risk Analysis, Value Chaining


Amazon SWOT

Wal-Mart SWOT

Apple SWOT

Toyota SWOT

the prisoner s dilemma

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

Two burglars, Bob and Al, are captured near the scene of a burglary and are given the "third degree" separately by the police. Each has to choose whether or not to confess and implicate the other. If neither man confesses, then both will serve one year on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. If each confesses and implicates the other, both will go to prison for 10 years. However, if one burglar confesses and implicates the other, and the other burglar does not confess, the one who has collaborated with the police will go free, while the other burglar will go to prison for 20 years on the maximum charge.

The strategies in this case are: confess or don't confess. The payoffs (penalties, actually) are the sentences served. We can express all this compactly in a "payoff table" of a kind that has become pretty standard in game theory. Here is the payoff table for the Prisoners' Dilemma game:


confess don't

Bob confess 10,10 0,20

don't 20,0 1,1

The table is read like this: Each prisoner chooses one of the two strategies. In effect, Al chooses a column and Bob chooses a row. The two numbers in each cell tell the outcomes for the two prisoners when the corresponding pair of strategies is chosen. The number to the left of the comma tells the payoff to the person who chooses the rows (Bob) while the number to the right of the column tells the payoff to the person who chooses the columns (Al). Thus (reading down the first column) if they both confess, each gets 10 years, but if Al confesses and Bob does not, Bob gets 20 and Al goes free.

So: how to solve this game?