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Critical Analysis in Decision-Making:

Conventional and "Outside

the Box" Approaches to

Developing Solutions to

Today's Business Challenges


By: James Briggs


What Linda Lawrence says about this book


Whatever creativity is, it is in part a solution to a problem.     Brian Aldiss (1925 - )


What is it that enables some people to make good business decisions more effectively, more often, than others? Great leaders in the public service, business, and the non-profit sectors, remind us that an effective decision-making process is the key to solving problems for any organization. Effective organizations, both large and small, search for leaders who have good problem solving skills.


In the past, the process of making good decisions was handed down from generation to generation by individual managers and through organizational practices. Today's mobile, increasingly entrepreneurial workforce has not enjoyed the benefits of this type of mentorship. Middle management layers have been eliminated, and training budgets slashed. The velocity of business today pressures us into thinking we can (and must) skip steps in the decision-making process for the sake of expediency. As an executive at Apple Computer and Netscape Communications, I learned that skipping steps doesn't save time. The "quick and dirty" approach ultimately takes longer, and as a result, produces fewer viable solutions.


James Briggs brought his pioneering experience creating new markets for IBM, to mentor decision-makers in Silicon Valley - working with start-ups as well as established companies. Organizations like Oracle, Seagate and Netscape have used this decision-making approach to capitalize on opportunities and to address challenges around the world.


Few executives can effectively teach to others what they themselves have learned. Mr. Briggs is the exception.


Use the real-world techniques outlined in this book and establish yourself as one of the effective leaders in your community.





James Briggs is the President of Decision Concepts, a consultancy specializing in decision skills development.


His 30 year management career has been in business side of high technology, first with IBM and subsequently as an independent consultant in Silicon Valley. He has extensive international experience on three continents, including multiple resident management assignments in Japan and China.


He holds BA and MA degrees in Chinese studies from Stanford University.


Mr. Briggs lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Dorothy, who operates her own commercial facilities support business. They have, to date, nine grandchildren, all of whom are extraordinarily attractive and brilliant.








1 Overview

2 Descriptions: (Enhanced) Conventional vs. Outside the Box


PART I: Using the (Enhanced) Conventional Critical Analysis Approach

3 (Enhanced) Conventional: Problem Definition

4 (Enhanced) Conventional: Problem Classification

5 (Enhanced) Conventional: Model Selection

6 (Enhanced) Conventional: Model Development

7 (Enhanced) Conventional: Solution Statement Preparation


PART II: Using the Outside-the-box Critical Analysis Approach

8 Outside-the-Box: Breakthrough Opportunity Identification

9 Outside-the-Box: Scenario Creation

10 Outside-the-Box: Scenario Testing

11 Obstacles to Thinking Outside-the-Box

12 Outside-the-Box: Learning to Think Outside-the-Box


PART III: Tools, Laws, and Appendices

13 The Laws of Problem Solving

14 The Fast Track Tool Box


Appendix A: Definitions

Appendix B: Model Type Profiles

Appendix C: About the Author




Critical Analysis in Decision-Making: Conventional and "Outside the Box" Approaches to Developing Solutions to Today's Business Challenges by: James Briggs 234 pages, ISBN: 978-1-55270-116-4;  softcover; published in 2002;  Canadian $48.95. 


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