Strategic Analysis of Keystone Factors

A keystone factor is a small factor that has disproportionately large effects on the whole system. The strategic analysis of keystone factors aims to identify such few critical factors, so that the whole system could be changed by merely altering the keystone factors. Keystone Species In architecture, a keystone is […] Read more »

The 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 principle is essential for solid strategic thinking, because it allows you to achieve a lot with minimal efforts, provided you focus on the critical few factors. This popular principle is a good example of non-linearity. Its basic tenet is that a large number of effects are usually produced […] Read more »

The Fallacy of Identity

The fallacy of identity is one example of how our analytic skills are often incapacitated because our thinking is predisposed to look for linear relationships and disregard non-linearity. The fallacy of identity, according to a historian David Hackett Fischer, is the idea that effects must somehow resemble its cause.[1] One […] Read more »


Effective strategic thinking is often possible only if we can grasp non-linearity in systemic relationships between causes and their effects. Yet, while we can usually see linear relationships without any problem, our minds persistently fail to grasp non-linearity. In linear systems, actions have proportional effects, meaning we can easily see […] Read more »

Force Field Analysis

Force field analysis is a basic analytic technique that relies on the model of tension systems. Its essence is very simple: list both positive forces and negative forces, and then analyze their intensity and relations. If you see that the negative force field is stronger, then try to think of […] Read more »

Tension Systems

Tension systems is a useful mental model explaining that almost always there are some forces supporting each other and some forces opposing each other. As the previous post discussed, one serious obstacle to effective thinking is our tendency to oversimplify causal nexus, and we can improve our strategic and analytic […] Read more »

Causal Complexity and the Fallacy of the Single Cause

Causal complexity means that in almost any situation there are many causes behind a single event, including a good deal of random factors and unknown causes. Getting to grips with causal complexity is indispensible for effective strategic and analytic thinking, especially for our ability to diagnose the problem, to understand […] Read more »

55/5 Rule of Problem-Solving

55/5 rule of problem-solving suggests that often it is preferable to spend more time on identifying and properly framing the problem before trying to solve it. The proportion 55/5 comes from a quote attributed to Albert Einstein (but most likely apocryphal). Einstein supposedly said that if he had only one […] Read more »