Effective problem solving requires combining creative and critical thinking, and effective problem solvers are T-shaped, having both depth and breadth of knowledge.

Effective problem solvers are T-shaped, being both generalists and specialists. Strategic thinking improves the breadth dimension.

While formal training focuses on the depth dimension, there is little material available to help us become better at the transferrable skills and knowledge. This website aims at correcting that.

Management consulting first exposed me to issue trees / logic trees and Minto’s pyramid principles. While I liked the tools, I also felt that consultants weren’t using them fully. So for the past fifteen years I’ve been investigating problem-solving epistemology, both on the theoretical and practical sides. Because problem solving is so prevalent in our lives, many disciplines deal with it: management, engineering, psychology, medicine, philosophy, architecture, … They all approach it from a different perspective; my interest is to break these silos and make the material available to all and distill it away so that it’s understandable and practical.

As a result, my course at Rice is highly practical: each student brings a problem. We talk about theoretical concepts that we apply to these problems and we use those as case studies. Students come from all departments, and we leverage this diversity to enrich the group’s problem-solving capabilities.

Through my research and the hundreds of cases that I’ve seen with my students, we’ve adapted the strategy consultancies’ tools: we’ve made them more evidence based, more creative, more logical still, and easier to use. This website gives a glimpse of what we do, and I hope it is useful to you.

About Arnaud Chevallier

I’m an associate vice provost at Rice University, where I teach strategic thinking in the engineering school.

I trained as a mechanical engineer, first in France, then at Rice. Then I went into strategy consulting with Accenture before returning to academia at the University of Monterrey—to teach engineering and business and serve as their graduate dean. Since 2011 I’ve been back at Rice, managing a varied and changing portfolio of responsibilities.

If I’m not solving problems, I’m usually training for one tri (HITS Ocala 2016) or another (IMTX 2016) or another (IMTX 2017) or another (IMFL 17) or another (IMTX 2018) or playing in Kirby-sur-Seine.