Qualities of an Integrative Thinker

An integrative thinker, according to Roger Martin, rejects binary frameworks and either/or decision-making, instead seeking synthesis between apparently opposed options.

The integrative thinker evinces four key qualities:

  1. They embrace "the mess." Witnessing the problem space in all its complexity assures them that nothing has yet been filtered out. This means that they can take a broad view of what is salient to the problem space.
  2. They consider non-linear and multi-directional relationships between data. They consider more complex modes of causality.
  3. They don't break problems into multiple discrete pieces, each to be solved separately. They realize the problem is more than the sum of its parts, and that the most effective solution must consider the situation holistically.
  4. They strive to resolve tensions, not accept unpleasant trade-offs.



Martin, Roger L. The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking. 1st edition. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Review Press, 2007.