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26 July 2015

RM:OM:Chapter #8: A wealth of experiences - Using past, inventing the future

This post is final chapter 8 of the book 'The Opposable Mind' written by Roger Martin. You can read the high level review of the book in  THIS POST. Please read it before you read this post.


The final chapter in your journey to become integrative thinker is your experience. It takes inputs from your stance and tools. At the same time, your experience also modifies your stance and tools.

Experience generates both mastery and originality. Mastery requires repeated experience in a particular domain. Mastery comes through structured repetition of a consistent type of experience. The person should have a structured method of observing and reflecting on his experience.

An integrative think also need originality - finding a new solution to a problem. Originality demands a willingness to experiment, spontaneity in response to a novel situation and openness to try something unplanned. It is a process of trial and error and iterative prototyping.

The best integrative thinkers combine mastery with originality. Our natural tendency favour mastery over originality. Mastery without originality becomes repetition. Such thinking will tend to miss salience and causal relationship.

On the other hand, originality without mastery becomes flaky. Master requires to distinguish  between salient and unrelated features , to understand what causal relationships are in play and how to analyze a complex problem.

At its core, integrative thinking combines mastery with originality. Without mastery, there will not be useful salience, causality and architecture. Without originality there will be no creative resolution. Without creative resolution there will not be enhancement of mastery. When mastery stagnates, so does originality.

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