On Strategy : What Managers Can Learn from Philosophy part 2 – Coursera course experience

Again, with a great charm and wit, Professor Luc de Brabandere offered part 2 of the course. I was looking forward to having the part 2 because I enjoyed the part 1 of the course so much. Not like other MOOC video, his lecture is very unique and intellectually stimulating – I had several moments during the course that I had to pause the video and think about the topic. In this part 2, the lecture was focused on how to think in the fast moving world. Here are my learning points.

Learning pointsSS-20150216223214

Traditionally people tend to focus more on Matter (e.g. tangible material) rather than Information. A story about a bottle water company. Professor asked them what they are selling – Matter (water) or Information (brand & marketing)? When the matter is more focused, below 4 questions can help to determine what’s going on. However, information does not fit into these questions….this means we need a new way of thinking.

  • Where are things?  – Matter is easy to answer, but information is not easy to answer to this question.
  • When do things happen? – Time used to measure lots of things.
  • What is true? What is false? Café in Casablanca built after the movie. Which one is the real? We need critical thinking.
  • Why do things happen? Most important. Not easy to answer. When there are more than 5 answers, answering ‘why’ doesn’t have any value. Especially, it is difficult to find ‘why’ in Information because the world is changing.


With the Big Data technology, three outter areas can be defined (conicidence, correlation, conjunction). However, Big data can help in a certain level of degree in all areas, but it is up to us to define the final cause & effect. This means the technology can find the missing links and help us to get close to the reason, but not the actual cause & effect. We are the one who need to draw the relationship between cause & effect with a new mind set.

SS-20150306231046Finally, techniques to survive in the fast moving world.

  1. Choose select define words
  2. Criteria
  3. Beware of questions
    1. Agenda should be put on as a question.
    2. Question should be open, visible. To run a discussion, brain storm, keep it under the image line rather than abstract word.
  4. Use creative technique
    1. Use analogy. e.g. Imagine you are…
  5. Think visual
    1. Left brain for text and right brain for diagram which makes it very powerful.
  6. Don’t stop thinking. Never stop thinking.
  7. Use humor
    1. Humor and Irony is different. Irony is a weapon. Don’t use it.

Avoid hypothesis in the future

Q: When there is a crossroad, what to do to prevent a collision?

A: Two options.

1. Light signal – this needs to predict future traffic and need to add hypothesis in the future.

2. Roundabout – no need to have hypothesis for the future.

Conclusion: remove traffic lights and add more roundabouts in the fast moving world.


In recent months, I haven’t had an opportunity to think deep about the subject. In my daily life, I made so many decisions. Sometimes difficult decisions, sometimes easy decisions. I really feel great philosophy can help me in many ways, especially making decisions. In order to make a decision, it needs to be based my value and the value comes from direct/indirect experience. In my opinion, philosophy helps me to enhance my indirect experience and gives me an ability to perform Meta-thinking. I really enjoyed this course and hope to get something out of it for my daily life at work and life. Thanks to Professor Luc de Brabandere and Coursera!


On Strategy : What Managers Can Learn from Great Philosophers – Coursera course experience

What a great course! I became a big fan of Professor Luc de Brabandere. With his unique French accent, throughout the course, he pointed out very important things about thinking.  This course explores the ultimate question – How do we think? By answering this question throughout the course, Professor Brabandere explains Induction and Deduction. Continue from Creativity, Innovation, and Change (CIC) course, I have been thinking about being creative and way of thinking. This course exceed my expectation and inspire me many different ways.




Learning points

  • Idea always generated in two steps – good old ^ new idea => new good
  • Rule : To have a best idea, you will need to have many many ideas.
  • How do we think?
  • In front of us is “reality(world)”. You simplify everything. Simplification of thought represents as Box/Model.
  • Induction is the other way of thinking – much more complicated process.
  • Deduction example : You have a concept of car in your box/model. Answer to “Car is…” is easy. Simply finding car brand. Like Toyota, Volvo or something.
  • Induction example : You have Reality/World in front of you and you need to bring that into your box/model. Answer to “Car is an example of …” is much harder to answer because it requires your existing or new box/model.
  • You can’t have perfect induction.
  • Algorithm, analysis, number is deduction. Heuristics, synthesism, concept is induction
  • Deduction is a form of thinking involving the application of an existing box, such as a framework, to details observed in the world in front of you, testing the box’s capacity to interpret them.
  • Induction is a form of thinking involving moving from fragmentary details (particulars) observed in the world in front of you to a connected view of a situation, a binding principle, which eventually forms a theory, a working hypothesis, a box.
  • Thinking is about organizing facts, data, and observations from the world in front of you by introducing connecting links and then using this information.
  • Managers with a strategic vision will have scenarios based on the mega trends.
  • Strategic Vision : An ambitious image of a future state that is radically preferable to the current state, according to those who develop it. It is a box that becomes a reference for a company, and thus serves as a guide allowing each employee to approach work more effectively.
  • A megatrend is a sweeping but relatively predictable change that is expected to affect the world in front of you (usually our customers, competition, market, etc). It happens independent of your company and your issues. Megatrends can serve as sources of idea in the search for new boxes.
  • A scenario is a story about a possible future; it is a box consisting of the description of an end state, a related interpretation of current reality, and an account of how the world gets from one state to the other.




I’ve learned how we think. Understanding how we process our thinking helps me in many different ways. In the end, I understood what “thinking outside of box” truly means. This course is highly recommended, especially someone who are interested in “Metathinking”.