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Strategic Thinking and the New Science

Planning in the Midst of Chaos Complexity and Change
By T. Irene Sanders

Reading Group Guide

    Discussion Questions
    1. What is strategic thinking? Why is it important? What methodologies does your company use in its strategic thinking efforts? Have those efforts been successful? In what ways could your company's strategic thinking be improved? In your company, who is responsible for strategic thinking?
    2. Describe the basic principles of mechanistic thinking? (Chapter 1, pages 38-50) Identify the ways in which your company's management and operations are based on mechanistic principles. What are the benefits and/or limitations of this approach?
    3. What is the new science of chaos and complexity? (Chapter 2) In what ways might this new way of thinking about change be useful to you?
    4. Identify other companies that have demonstrated industry foresight? What did they do that demonstrated foresight and what were the outcomes/benefits of their actions? How might the new science explain the dynamics at work in these events?
    5. What are the two major components of strategic thinking? And what guidelines or principles does the new science offer for strategic thinking? (Chapter 3, pages 78-79)
    6. What is visual thinking and why is it so important? In what ways did visual images help scientists understand the dynamics of non-linear systems? (Chapter 4) In what ways does visual thinking facilitate strategic thinking?
    7. What is the difference between forecasting and foresight? (Chapter 5, pages 107-112) What is a FutureScape™ and how could it be used to support strategic thinking in your business?
    8. Describe your company's strategic planning process. In your current model, where is the future? In what ways does your company learn about and plan for the future? Describe the new planning paradigm. What changes need to be made in your strategic planning process? (Chapter 6, pages 144-154)
    9. What new ideas, insights, questions or thoughts have you had as a result of this discussion? How will you continue your exploration and experimentation? Who else needs to read this book?

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