Professor and author Roger Martin
argues in this Harvard Business Review video
that either-or choices are problematic for two possible reasons:
- We choose one option, and lose all the benefits of the other.
- We compromise between the two options (e.g., “a little bit about love, and a little bit about money”), which is “never particularly satisfying.”
Instead of settling for either of those two paths, Martin recommends a process he calls integrative thinking to get more out of two options by creatively combining aspects of each one.
Here are the steps he suggests for putting integrative thinking to practice:
First, don’t accept that you have only two options to choose from.
Second, for each of the options, list all of their benefits. The trick here is to focus on practical, real-world benefits versus more abstract concepts.
Third, with all the benefits for each option laid out, ask yourself: How might I use the benefits of one option to realize the benefits of the other option?
Martin points out that anyone can use integrative thinking across a range of settings, but many people are not aware that it’s an option.
From his perspective, those who do use it are more innovative, and help to “make the world a better place.”