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‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory.’
A good theory will inform your ideas and help get them across effectively. In fact, a good theory will probably allow you to do without all the fancy rhetoric and illustrations, and just focus on getting right to the point.
A theory is more than just a hunch or an untested idea. It is a set of ideas that explains the way things work. It’s generally based on evidence, either real or imagined, that is gathered together into a logical pattern.
It has applications in all aspects of life. If you are a good cook, rather than just following someone else’s recipes you can come up with your own recipes. If you are a good mechanic, rather than just following the manufacturer’s directions for fixing your car, you can design your own way to do it.
A theory is a hint, a possibility, an intimation. It’s an idea that someone thinks is worth exploring or one that somebody already holds dear.
A good way to develop a theory is to start by looking for things we can agree on. For example, we can agree that good products and services solve problems. To be useful to our users, they must fulfil a real need, and fill their lives with more joy, satisfaction, and value than other solutions would.
“These are the assumptions that shape any organization’s behaviour, dictate its decisions about what to do and what not to do, and define what the organization considers meaningful results. These assumptions are about markets. They are about identifying customers and competitors, their values and behaviour. They are about technology and its dynamics, about a company’s strengths and weaknesses. These assumptions are about what a company gets paid for. They are what I call a company’s theory of the business.”
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