Sharpen your strategic entrepreneurial and Critical thinking skills

18-tips-for-improving-innovation-with-design-thinking10 How to enhance your thinking skills

In this article you will learn the following

-18 tips for improving innovation with design thinking

-10 steps to apply critical thinking skills effectively + 11 steps to improve your critical thinking skills

-9 characteristics of the strategic entrepreneurial mindset

-19 tips to improve your strategic thinking skills

-21 ways to strengthen your analytical skills

I have come across these 12 most popular thinking skills - strategic-thinking, critical-thinking, analytical-thinking, design-thinking, entrepreneurial-thinking, creative-thinking, lateral-thinking, linear-thinking, nonlinear-thinking, convergent-thinking and divergent-thinking, out of box-thinking.

It gets confusing at times to clearly differentiate between these varied thinking-skills - as often - many of the qualities of one skill - overlaps with another very impressive sounding buzzword.

Here in this article - I have tried to define most of these thinking and along with how you can improve, sharpen and strengthen a few of these skills.

All the one line tips - have separate and detailed do it yourself blogs in this website as well as in my 2nd website.


Critical thinking is developing multiple pragmatic solutions to any crucial problem and choosing the best one.

10 steps to apply critical thinking skills effectively

  • 1.Identify the problem. Before you put those critical thinking skills to work, you first need to identify the problem you're solving
  • 2.Observation through seeing and asking questions plus recording of observation
  • 3.Research with open-mindedness to take into account other possibilities and points of view
  • 4.Processing information and knowledge for data validation and relevance study
  • 5.Analysis to create inference of whether the knowledge you have is sufficient and reliable and interpreting the meaning of the processed information
  • 6.Evaluation the pros and cons to enable decision-making
  • 7.Using all information - creating multiple-solutions through creative problem solving methods
  • 8.Communicating to the arrived solutions to the stake holders - by explaining the future actions needed based on logical-reasoning
  • 9.Implementation of action-plan, monitoring and tracking
  • 10.Improvisation and course-correction

11 steps to improve your critical thinking skills

  • 1.Understand the problem from different perspectives and angles
  • 2.Ask simple open-ended, outcome-based, reflective and structured questions - what information you already have - what information is needed but not there - what outcome is needed
  • 3.Identify and record your biases, prejudices and assumptions - to avoid the fallacy of assuming that your solution is the best plus to kill the urge to take action without thinking through plus to avoid what you have always done
  • 4.Develop knowledge and awareness about what is happening in the world in your field as well as in many unrelated fields - read more and interact with people who have varied opinions and perspectives
  • 5.Improve your inference skills - by having discussions with teams from different age groups, backgrounds, and experiences to understand varied viewpoints - let yourself be open to totally opposite views - consider all the information available - even the minutest details and then only make decision
  • 6.Develop respect for other's opinions - even if they are different from what you believe in - learn the art of finding good in different opinions
  • 7.Stop forcing your opinions on others and start taking and accommodating solutions which are better than yours
  • 8.Learn the art of creative problem solving
  • 9.Look for gaps in the information available - identify connections and patterns
  • 10.Work on developing leadership skills - by getting smarter, more qualified, more knowledgeable and experienced people to lead
  • 11.Become a flexible thinker- look at new insights - and accept new opinions

Entrepreneurial thinking

Entrepreneurial thinking involves seeing things differently and ability to identify opportunities and developing solutions that are unconventional and disruptive.

Entrepreneurial thinking cannot exist in a vacuum as all the entrepreneurs - need to use all form of thinking - strategic, critical, design, creative, non-linear - to generate, validate, test and apply all ideas to use it for creating business and solutions for benefits of masses and to create wealth.

9 characteristics of the strategic entrepreneurial mindset

  • 1.Ability to turn crisis into opportunities
  • 2.Ability to explore and identify opportunity in times of massive disruptions
  • 3.Pursuing opportunities identified in highly disciplined and consistent methods
  • 4.Creating strategies for long-term
  • 5.Focusing on execution of strategic plans
  • 6.Engaging the energies, resources and efforts of all internal and external stakeholders
  • 7.Encouragingdisruptive innovations
  • 8.Enabling the organization to transit to more effective business and marketing models
  • 9.Encourage competition and use the competition to create a bigger success story


Strategic thinking is the process of finding a different way to do what the organization now does or to adopt a business model different from its competitors through exploring and creating alternative strategies and business models to deliver exceptional customer value.

Strategic thinking requires a holistic approach by recognizing and incorporating the principals that organizational success depends on complex systems and factors like market-dynamics, technology, political, economic, environmental, humans as employees and customers.

Strategic thinking is usually associated with the competitiveness of the organization - while entrepreneurial thinking is associated with innovation and creativity to capture opportunities.

Strategic thinking is about ideas and the development of novel solutions to create competitive advantage using creativity to imagine multiple possibilities and to search for alternatives to conventional approaches.

Strategic thinking skills include - analytical skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, planning and management skills.

Strategic thinking involves making a series of decisions about what actions the company needs to take to become more successful.

Strategic planning helps

  • 1.Predict what are best opportunities are for growth
  • 2.Your ideal target customers and the best markets to serve
  • 3.How to take advantage of competitor's weaknesses
  • 4.Offer a superior mix of products and services to its target customers
  • 5.Setting long-term objectives
  • 6.Create contingency plans

19 tips to improve your strategic thinking skills

  • 1.Ask strategic questions - where will the organization's growth come from in the next five years - what's the direction for growth for each of our products or services - how should the organization respond to the threat presented by potentially disruptive competitors
  • 2.Observe and reflect
  • 3.Consider opposing ideas
  • 4.Creating habit of questioning yourself any time you are about to make a critical decision - can there be some solution or perspective that you have overlooked or can a radically different perspective give you a more effective solution
  • 5.Look for trends around you - try to identify problems that keep reoccurring. As you're looking at the big picture, like your overall business operations or the scope of your personal life, look for issues that you have to keep addressing time and time again
  • 6.Block out time for thinking try not to get bogged down in details during your thinking time
  • 7.Challenge the status quo by questioning everything - be curious and let go of assumptions - don't be afraid to question why things are done a certain way or how they could be done differently
  • 8.Dig deeper if you feel something is unclear or ambiguous
  • 9.Get other perspectives - have people around you who have the courage to challenge you and who think different than you - ask for their solutions and ideas
  • 10.Train yourself to proactively anticipate problems before they happen
  • 11.Focus on continuous improvement and how to make things better
  • 12.Set clear goals and evaluate them periodically - stay focused on your most important goals
  • 13.Give yourself time to make important decisions - work on the weakest part of your plan
  • 14.Focus your energy on where you need the maximum improvement
  • 15.Create contingency plans if things don't work out as per your solutions and plans
  • 16.Take risks as long as you have a mitigating strategy to bounce back
  • 17.Reflect and improvise on everyday basis
  • 18.Boost your strategic thinking with chess, jumbled-words and other strategic games
  • 19.Focus on all important problems - with the focus to find what is within your area of control and stop wasting time thinking about things beyond your control

10 examples of analytical skills

Collaboration -Brainstorming -Troubleshooting -Forecasting-trends -Data-analysis and data-analytic - Creative problem solving -Active learning and creating learning strategies -Technology design - Critical thinking and analysis -Complex problem-solving, reasoning and ideation

21 ways to strengthen your analytical skills

  • 1.Seek mental stimulation through developing a profitable business-idea and creating a tangible business plan
  • 2.Consciously analyze your surroundings - create the habit of forcing yourself to analyze seemingly obvious truths and established concepts - Get in the habit of asking how and why
  • 3.Try teaching others - as it needs you to use multiple elements of analytical thinking.
  • 4.Play new games learn new board games that involve strategic thinking, do crossword puzzles and play mathematical games
  • 5.Identify math problems in everyday life, then take time to solve them Mentally - Practice complicated math problems that include long division, algebra, calculus, and more
  • 6.Consider multiple sides of a problem - before picking a solution picking the easiest and simplest solution right away without ruling out the easiest solution - as at times it could be the real best option
  • 7.Expand your worldview -Travel and learn about new cultures
  • 8.Meet with and surround yourself with people who are very different from yourself
  • 9.Connect the unrelated -search for connections
  • 10.Think about things in terms of cause and effect
  • 11.Pay attention to detail - look at small things (as well as large things)
  • 12.Ask yourself questions about why things are the way they are - never accept the first option that comes to your mind
  • 13.Take new roles, responsibilities and challenges in your academic, personal, or professional life
  • 14.Develop the skill to analyze, interpret, and question data
  • 15.Challenge yourself with little things
  • 16.Consider starting a blog where you can share your experience with others.
  • 17.When you are facing contradictory and confusing data ask yourself - can I trust the data's source - is it structured in a way that makes sense - what actions does it prompt
  • 18.Clarify and determine the relationship between two or more variables
  • 19.Form initial hypotheses and then test that - then create meaningful conclusions and data-based recommendations
  • 20.Consider opposing viewpoints
  • 21.Learn and practice the these 3 types of business analysis - interpretation of historical data to identify trends and patterns - forecast future outcomes - determine which outcome will yield the best result in a given scenario - decide which method to employ is dependent on the business situation at hand


Goal of design thinking - is to identify alternative strategies and solutions - which can actually create a solution which has the potential to fulfill future needs.

Design thinking is a process in which you seek to challenge your assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions which you can prototype and test and understand your users.

14 Design thinking skills

  • 1.Emotional intelligence - consensus building - user research - user surveys - user interviews - direct observation - charting your target customer or end user's journey as they choose a solution to their problem
  • 2.Brainstorming - crowdsourcing - mind mapping - creating solution prototypes to gauge how they perform and address the user's problem

18 tips for improving innovation with design thinking

  • 1.Study the theoretical aspect to gain some knowledge around the basics. Read basic, core theories and understand different aspects of designs
  • 2.Research trends change, designs change, and it's very important to cope up with the changing trends - to stay abreast with the latest and coolest designs.
  • 3.Learn from the experts find some experienced designers who freely share their knowledge
  • 4.Increase your observation power
  • 5.Collect feedback get some help from an experienced mentor
  • 6.Experiment with tools
  • 7.Do some side hustles
  • 8.Understand that excellence is the key - as far as design-thinking is concerned
  • 9.Use design thinking - when there is no clear understanding of how to move forward with a complex challenge
  • 10.Choose your team - where members have different thought-process, people who are confident in their abilities and challenge new concepts
  • 11.Listen and stay with the customers
  • 12.In the initial stage - allow all ideas - believe that anything is possible - aim for the best - focus on outcome over output
  • 13.Visualize the process - communicate the change clearly - be clear about and understand the potential value for the customer
  • 14.Take rigorous customer feedback
  • 15.Define and communicate a hypothesis well in the beginning and after the analysis
  • 16.Understand that not everything will work
  • 17.Imagine from multiple perspectives - go for fine-tuning - only at the end
  • 18.Maximize each learning experience


Linear thinking is a systematic and analytical thought process that follows a known step-by-step progression.

Linear thinkers view a problem as a process with a set starting point that follows a sequence of connected series, ultimately leading to a solution.

Linear thinkers follow a step-by-step process that leads them to a solution - Nonlinear thinkers think outside the lines and sometimes use unorthodox methods to solve problems.


Lateral thinking is used to find new and better ways to do things - using unconventional methods and process going beyond the deductive or logical ways it has been done.

Lateral thinking assumes that innovation is a necessity for creating competitive advantage and growth.


Convergent thinking occurs when the solution to a problem can be deduced by applying established methods, rules, process and logical reasoning.

This type of reasoning involves solving a problem within the context of known information and narrowing down the solution based on logical inference.

Divergent thinking

Divergent thinking is more than thinking outside the box- it is about thinking freely without the box and then drawing the perimeter later.

Divergent thinking needs nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence. 

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