Using Thematic Thinking to Achieve Business Success, Growth, and Innovation Finding Opportunities Where Others Don't Look

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-05-07
  • Publisher: Pearson FT Press
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Leverage hidden similarities and connections to succeed in new markets and avert emerging business risks! Firmly rooted in the latest cognitive science, Thematic Thinking helps you recognize your great opportunities and grave threats in distant but related industries and markets. If you're an executive, entrepreneur, or strategist, it will help you illuminate blind spots on your strategic maps and innovation processes, by radically redefining what you see as similar to your core business.


Using Thematic Thinking to Achieve Business Success, Growth, and Innovation explains why this approach to innovation works so well, and how to successfully apply it in your business. Using realistic business cases, the authors show: 

  • How Thematic Thinking responds to today's radically shifting business environment, and the collapse of traditional market boundaries
  • Why traditional approaches to innovation can often be counterproductive, and how to go beyond them
  • How to systematically uncover deep similarities where most managers only see differences
  • How to understand these similarities as immense new business opportunities – and uncover emerging risks you wouldn't otherwise notice until too late
  • How to explore and combine themes, identify similarities, create and evaluate thematic ideas, organize for Thematic Thinking, and overcome obstacles to success

Which Google manager would have imagined people substituting Facebook for Gmail? Which Nike manager recognizes the huge potential competitive threat now presented by Apple? With Thematic Thinking, linkages like this become clear – and innovative, once-hidden strategic options are revealed!

Author Biography

JULIA K. FROEHLICH (Munich, Germany) conducts research at the Institute for Leadership and Organization, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Her research at companies including Infosys and Henkel focuses on managerial and organizational cognition in innovation and strategy. She is lead author of thematicthinking.com, a blog focusing on the practitioner side of thematic thinking.


MARTIN HOEGL (Munich, Germany), professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, leads its Institute for Leadership and Organization. He has 15+ years of experience in working with companies on leadership, organization and innovation; his clients have included Boeing, Agilent Technologies, Infosys, T-Mobile, Siemens, Henkel, and Porsche. His main research interests include leadership, collaboration, and innovation in organizations. Widely published in leading journals, one of his MIT Sloan Management Review articles recently won the Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize for the most outstanding SMR article on planned change and organizational development.


MICHAEL GIBBERT (Lugano, Switzerland) is Professor of Marketing at the Institute for Marketing and Communication at Lugano University. His research interests include the effects of constraints on innovation, consumer behavior, and research methods. His work has been published in Cognitive Science, European Management Journal, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Long Range Planning, MIT Sloan Management Review, Organizational Research Methods, Research Policy, Strategic Management Journal, and The Wall Street Journal. As a researcher, he has helped managers at Siemens, Henkel, Infineon, Infinity, Louisenthal, Lufthansa, and Mini unleash creative strategy insight with thematic thinking. His books include Strategy Making in a Crisis and Strategic Networks.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Kind(s) of Similar: Defining the Basics of Thematic Thinking

3. Rising Awareness of Thematic Threats and Opportunities

4. Exploring Themes

5. Taking Different Thematic Perspectives

6. What Customers Can and Cannot Tell Us

7. Why Some Do Think Thematically and Others Don't

8. Thinking Thematic

9. Organizing for Thematic Thinking

10. Wrapping Up


Use Thematic Thinking to uncover powerful new innovation opportunities - and head off dangerous new business risks

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