Groundbreaking ideas and research for engaged leaders
Rotman Insights Hub | University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management Groundbreaking ideas and research for engaged leaders
Rotman Insights Hub | University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Creating Great Choices is an essential guide for leaders looking to innovate

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Roger L. Martin, Jennifer Riel

In his groundbreaking 2007 book, The Opposable Mind, Roger Martin shed light on how successful leaders think. As Martin describes in the book, great leaders can hold two opposing ideas in their minds at once. More than that, they “then reach a synthesis that actually improves on each.”

That book focused on how successful leaders think, rather than what they do. However, over time, many self-declared fans of integrative thinking began to ask Martin (and later his colleague Jennifer Riel) “how do we actually apply integrative thinking to our own problems and situations?”

In Creating Great Choices (HBR Press, 2017), Martin and Riel present new ideas on how to put the theory of integrative thinking into practice.

The two are uniquely qualified to tackle the topic — Martin is an acclaimed author and speaker, as well as a professor emeritus in the strategic management area and former dean of the Rotman School. Riel is an adjunct professor at Rotman and has created and led workshops for organizations around the world. Both are trusted advisors to senior leaders at Fortune 500 companies.

In the process of teaching the methodology to graduate students, executives, educators and community leaders, the pair has refined and enhanced their own understanding of integrative thinking. This new book reflects these learnings and expertly blends theory and practice to show how to use integrative thinking as the basis for innovation.

The first part of the book lay outs the theory. The authors explore what they call Integrative Thinking 2.0 (in other words, how to take the best of the choices presented and creatively reconfigure them to create new value), review how we choose (diving deep into how decision-making happens in organizations) and introduce a new way to think. 

The second part of the book focuses on practice. Martin and Riel offer a clear four-step methodology to help readers move from idea to action and templates for readers to map out their problems and the opposing ideas for solving them. Incorporated throughout the book are practical and memorable stories, from music mogul Jay-Z to the founder of Vanguard Group.

Creating Great Choices is for everyone. It was written with MBA students, business managers, non-profit and government agency leaders, teachers, and even elementary school students in mind. The authors hope is that this book will introduce integrative thinking to a new generation of people eager to make great choices.

This book was originally published by HBR Press on Sept. 19, 2017.

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

by Roger L. Martin and Jennifer Riel

Roger Martin is the former dean and a professor emeritus at the Rotman School.
Jennifer Riel is an adjunct professor at the Rotman School.