On Strategy : What Managers Can Learn from Philosophy

In the expression “creative thinking”, the keyword is not creativity; the keyword is thinking. With the help of great philosophers, you will rediscover the art of thinking.

About The Course

The business world is at first sight a world of numbers. Accounting, algorithms, processes, quarterly figures, market shares, stock options, currency exchange rates etc. In all those areas, strong management tools exist and allow leaders to track their activities, improve their strategy, and overall run their company.

But another part the business world, equally important, has no numbers available. Corporate image, stress, creativity, team spirit, assertiveness, "black swans", aesthetics etc.

And a lack of rigor suddenly occurs with the excuse : "Since I can't measure, I can't manage... "

This is a mistake. The success of a business depends on its capacity to make a difference regarding competition. And today's differences in the eyes of a customer are probably built more on perception than on reality.

To help leaders to be rigorous even without figures, great philosophers have lots of ideas. Managers are invited to rediscover the art of thinking. They should understand the role of mental models, realize the importance of cognitive bias, agree on clear definitions and efficient criteria etc.

When one says, for example, "We should think creatively about the future of the company," our minds immediately focus on the word "company," which is part of the daily life. But it is important to split the sentence into 4 pieces and to pay some attention to three other key words namely "think", "creatively" and "future". They all must be considered as separated topics.

Creativity demands the ability to unshackle ourselves from conventional ways of thinking, to "think outside the box". But we need to go a step further. Once outside the box, we need to construct a new box or boxes (that is, new intellectual frameworks or models) to help us structure our thinking. Only once we have done so can we generate truly game-changing ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
    Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

Recommended Background

No background knowledge or skills are required, though we recommend an interest in philosophy.