In-House Training Courses

Business Acumen Course

Basics of Critical Thinking

Basics of Critical Thinking

Course Overview

In this course, you will learn and practice a disciplined, systematic approach to using critical thinking to solve problems, analyze trending, and identify areas of improvement. In order to achieve this, you must ensure that your analysis of a problem/situation is comprehensive and based on quality, credible evidence that takes in a full and fair account of the most probable counterarguments and risks. The key result of this process is to create a thoroughly defensible assessment of what the problem is, what the root cause is, and the most effective and reasonable action that can be taken to resolve it. By the end of this training you will be able to identify and frame a problem by identifying its context; use a creative and critical thinking to develop a reasonable and implementable solution to fix the underlying causes that you’ve identified.

Key Concept

How were we taught how to think? The plain fact is that we really weren’t taught how to think at all, we were taught what to think – to memorize the right answer – the only one right answer. From entering school through post-secondary, there were little-to-no lessons based around how to think. The good news is that during the early years in the education system, we were exposed to somewhat open creativity. You might say, how in the world does that help? Creativity is imagination and la-la land – the fact is, to be a good critical thinker, you need to be a good creative thinker. This course is designed to remind you of the few tools that you were given, and to leverage those skills by combining them into structured, creative solutions.

Key Terminology

Risk:    Potential problem which has not been realized yet – it has not happened yet – it’s a threat.

Issue:  Current/active problem that has already occurred.

Critical Thinking:

Critical thinking is the objective analysis of a risk or issue based on facts, data, and related evidence without the influence of personal feelings, opinions or biases – it focuses solely on factual information and takes a logical, sequential, disciplined manner to rationalize, analyse, evaluate, and interpret information in order to make an informed decision. It involves gaining understanding, not just knowledge.

Creative Thinking:

Creative thinking is looking at something in a new way or with a fresh perspective (as in “thinking outside the box”) to conceive something new or original which requires an open mind to develop a novel or unorthodox solution that does not depend wholly on past or current solutions. Creative thinking is the process of thinking in a flexible, flowing and original way. This method usually makes use of Reframing, Abstraction (working with concepts that differ from concrete reality), Brainstorming, Mind Mapping, Conjecture and Divergent Thinking (challenging accepted assumptions and ideas).

Decision Making:

Decision making is the process of making choices by identifying risks/issues, gathering information, and assessing alternative resolutions based on sound, reasonable arguments. Formal decision-making models are generally called rational decision-making models which consider inputs, analysis and evaluation of outcomes in order to make a decision as to which solution to implement.


Imposing constraints that are designed to spark creativity (such as ruling out obvious solutions).

Logical Fallacy:

A logical Fallacy is a flaw in reasoning based on biases or deep rooted brainwashes.


The first step of problem solving through critical thinking is to identify the situation and the factors that may be influencing it. The main purpose is to identify the problem, identify the cause, and differentiate symptoms from causes.


Definition is the statement of the risk/issue and its impact on the system. It’s important to also define the gap between the current state and the desired state. This process will also define available options and avoid the “quick solutions.” The final definition required is to identify and define the criteria by which decisions will be made.

SWOT Analysis

Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats that can help to identify potential solutions.


An unbiased, persuasive statement of fact or conclusion that is reasonably defensible.


Separating or breaking a whole into parts in order to discover its’ nature, function and relationship.

Identifying Biases:

This skill can be extremely difficult because biases are deeply seeded and very difficult for individuals to recognize their own biases. The core of this consideration is evaluating the arguments from all sides of an argument while taking into account the biases each side may possess. It is exceedingly difficult to learn how to set aside personal biases which cloud a person’s judgement and the assumptions used to form their arguments.

Determining Relevance:

This can be one of the most challenging parts of critical thinking – especially during challenging scenarios – this task involves figuring out what information is relevant and important for consideration in formulating an argument.

Applying Standards:

Assessing problems (risks or issues) according to established personal, professional, or social rules/criteria.

Information Seeking:

Searching for evidence, facts, or knowledge by identifying relevant sources and gathering objective, subjective, historical, and current data from available sources

Root Cause:

The Root Cause is the base element that created the problem – ignore symptoms quickly.

Learning Objective

  1. Be able to deconstruct a risk or issue to its core elements in order to prepare it for analysis.
  2. Identify the ideas and concepts involved in Problem Solving and Relational Decision-Making.
  3. Understand the difference between How to Think and What to Think.
  4. Understand the difference between a Risk and an Issue.
  5. Understand what Creative Thinking is and how to leverage it to create original solutions.
  6. Understand what Critical Thinking is and how to use it to constrain and evaluate Creative Concepts
  7. Identify Logical Fallacies and cognitive biases in order to create better solutions.
  1. Understand how to use this hybrid process in business management, problem solving, and forecasting/projecting.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction to Ideas and Concepts of Problem Solving
    1. What is Risk vs. What is an Issue?
    2. What is a Problem and how does it occur?
  • What is an idea and where does it come from?
  1. What is Creative Thinking and how is it useful?
  1. Introduction to Critical Thinking
    1. What is Logic?
    2. What is Critical Thinking?
  • What is Relational Decision-Making?
  1. What are constraints?
  2. What are Logical Fallacies?
  3. What are Cognitive Biases?
  • What is a Defensible Fact?
  • What is the Reasonability Test?
  1. What is a Solution/Argument?
  1. The Critical Thinking Process
    1. Identifying and deconstructing Risk and Issues.
    2. Analysing Contributing Factors to find the Root Cause.
  • Eliminate Symptoms as Factors and Focus on Defensible Facts.
  1. Focus on Solutions derived from the “How to Think” process, and minimize the automated, pre-conceive “What to Think” canned solutions and based on SWOT testing.
  2. Formulating a Defensive Solution/Argument via a balanced use of Critical, Creative, and Relational Decision-Making processes.
  1. Implementing Creative Thinking to Create Solutions
    1. Creative Thinking Workshop
    2. Critical Thinking Workshop
  • Logical Fallacy Workshop
  1. Cognitive Biases Workshop
  1. Going Beyond
    1. How to Apply Critical Thinking in Every-day Activities
    2. How to use Critical and Creative Thinking to improve Business Processes
  • This is the most Rapidly Changing Time in History – how can you use Critical and Creative thinking to get in front of the change?
  1. Concept Evaluations
    1. Quizzes
    2. Competency Reviews and Evaluation


Workshop Concept:    The workshops for this program are a structured methods to implement concepts and processed discussed in this program. The purpose of these workshops are to:

  1. practice the brainstorming techniques involved in the creative thinking process;
  2. develop and practice problem solving skills using deconstruction and analysis processes;
  3. use Logic Fallacies game to reinforce concepts ;
  4. use Cognitive Biases game to reinforce concepts

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