Roger Martin Knows Best

Steffie Verstappen
August 28th, 2010
Article by: Steffie Verstappen
Roger Martin Knows Best

PEOPLE | At THNK, we believe that the capacity to think integratively is one of the key components of truly creative leadership. Hence, we are making a big effort to get a handle on the different Integrative Thinking approaches around, as well as the different methods that have been developed to apply Integrative Thinking techniques successfully. Soon after we started our preliminary research into academic-level thinking at the intersection of business and design, Integrative Thinking guru Roger Martin (Dean at the Rotman School of Management) started drawing our attention. This has resulted in the THNK team closely following developments at the Rotman School over the course of the last year.


Taking the concept of integrative thinking as its starting point, the Rotman School of Management, at the University of Toronto, is making a big effort to change the way business schools teach business. In 2002, they launched the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking, which is a research centre that brings together internationally-renowned scholars to push the frontiers of integrative thinking and original research, making Rotman a focal point for thought leadership and dialogue in this area.


"A lot of what we are teaching is a different way of being in the world. [For example,] when you get into a position of disequilibrium, you have got two things going against you: the inherent characteristics of that disequilibrium, and your fear. You are probably not going to come up with anything useful to do. If instead you say, you know what, [disequilibrium is] part of life and part of my job is to be able to act in the face of uncertainty, disequilibrium, complexity. And the way I can act is to think through the options that I have and creatively come up with new options. [Then] they will be the people that, in the midst of disequilibrium will be the ones saying ‘you know what, we can figure this out’."