Friday, December 09, 2016

Are You a "First-Principle" Thinker?

In last week’s New York Times Corner Office column, Adam Bryant interviewed Abe Ankumah, CEO and founder of the software company Nyansa. Ankumah discussed the importance of cultivating “first principle” thinkers in your organization. He wants people who don’t just to creating a solution without first understanding and defining the problem in a crystal-clear fashion. Here’s Ankumah explaining his “first principle” approach: 

I think start­ups kind of take on the value system of their founders. There are three of us who started the company, and we’re all first­-time entrepreneurs. We tend to be very “first principle” thinkers. What I mean by that is when you’re trying to solve a problem, you start by trying to understand the essence of the problem, rather than starting with what the answer should be and then working your way to justifying it. So it’s all about making sure that everyone understands the problem we’re trying to solve. And to do that, you have to maintain a broader perspective and listen very carefully to people.

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