This is a great quote from Roger Martin. It goes not just for MBA students, but all business people. The future isn’t out there waiting to be discovered, it needs to be created, which at its core is what strategy is about.
Our MBA students need to be integrative thinkers. Integrative thinking, on one level, is simply the ability to use the tension of opposing models as the root of a new and better choice. Integrative thinkers, rather than choosing between marginal or less-than-appealing options, will seek to create a new model that contains elements of the existing models but that is better than each of them. On another level, integrative thinking is a specific application of a broader and more impactful way of being in the world: a way of being that says my job is not to choose but to create. This mode of thinking encourages wide exploration and deep reflection, creativity, and analysis. It is a mode of thinking that dismantles the fear response when our models start to go off the rails. The failure of a model isn’t a cause for panic; rather, it is a marvelous opportunity to understand the limitations of that model and to build a new and better one.