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Jennifer Riel

The Strategist


Jennifer Riel

Revamping Your Business

Business Strategist and co-author of Creating Great Choices: A Leader's Guide to Integrative Thinking

Have you ever been faced with a seemingly unsolvable business problem? No matter how you slice it, you have to compromise on something—and it just doesn't feel right. Enter Jennifer Riel, adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management. Jennifer is the co-author of Creating Great Choices, which Malcolm Gladwell calls "superb and wholly original […] the rarest of business books. [It] teaches decision makers how to think, not what to think." In her "how-to" rather than "know-what" talks, Jennifer explains why—and how—to embrace powerful integrative thinking.

Jennifer Riel is an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, specializing in creative problem solving. Her focus is on helping everyone, from undergraduate students to business executives, to create better choices, more of the time.

Jennifer is the co-author of Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking (with Roger L. Martin, former Dean of the Rotman School of Management). Based on a decade of teaching and practice with integrative thinking, the book lays out a practical methodology for tackling our most vexing business problems. Using illustrations from organizations like LEGO, Vanguard and Unilever, Jennifer and Roger show how individuals can leverage the tension of opposing ideas to create a third, better way forward.

An award-winning teacher, Jennifer leads training on integrative thinking, strategy, and innovation at organizations of all types, from small non-profits to some of the largest companies in the world.


Creating Great Choices: A Leader's Guide to Integrative Thinking

What stops us from generating great new ideas within our organizations? And what stops the good ideas that do come up from gaining traction? Too often, it's because we use the same old approaches to decision-making. Conventional wisdom, and business school curricula, says it is essential to make trade‐offs. And that is at least partially true. But sometimes, accepting the obvious trade‐off just isn’t good enough. The choices in front of us don’t get us what we need. 
Integrative thinking uses the models in front of us to create a new and better answer. It solves wicked problems in new ways. In this talk, Jennifer Riel explains the practice of integrative thinking, as demonstrated by business and non‐profit executives, MBA students, and even kids. She reveals how to apply integrative thinking in your own work—strengthening your decision-making acumen and bolstering your business. As Jennifer says: "It's only when you dive into the mess of it that you can see something better."

Changing the Game: The Secrets of Winning in Business

Strategy is one of the most important tasks of any employee in the organization, no matter their job description. But tackling that job can be confusing, complex and exhausting in the absence of clear and compelling framework for thinking through strategy and leading strategy conversations. In this session, Jennifer Riel explores a simple, fun, and effective framework for creating strategy. 
All strategy is about choice—explicitly choosing what you will do, and not do, to win with customers and against competition. Jennifer examines the five key choices behind a winning strategy (what is our winning aspiration, where will we play, how we will win, what capabilities are required to win in that way, and what supporting management systems are needed). She talks about the process of creating a strategy. And, she reflects on the application and implications for your role and organization.


Contact us to learn how Jennifer can craft a talk for your audience.

A 2017 Best Business Book
— The Globe & Mail