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This technical note is designed to be used early in a graduate-level elective course on strategic analysis, though it can be used at multiple levels, including advanced undergraduate and Executive Education. The note assumes some basic knowledge of hypothesis testing or the hypothesis-driven approach as a tool used in strategic analysis, particularly in the context of consulting. Building on this foundation, students will learn more about what makes a good hypothesis, the relationship between hypothesis and theory (the scientific method), and why this has become such a useful problem-solving framework in business settings. Specifically, a significant part of the discussion will center on the more practical or applied art of using hypotheses to reduce complexity and get to the heart of a clients or other stakeholder’s needs.
- Understand hypotheses and what differentiates a “good” or “useful” hypothesis. - Consider the roots of the hypothesis-driven framework in the scientific method and think about why scientific inquiry might help solve complex business problems. - Explore how hypotheses are used in the practice of strategic analysis, consulting, and other problem-based work. - Recognize the role of personal intuition and experience in hypothesizing and strategic analysis.