Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing (SAST)

CSL4D

Mitroff’s ‘operationalization’ of Churchman’s systems approach, part 1

In table 12-3 (p. 301 of Mason’s and Mitroff’s ‘Challenging strategic planning assumptions’) major approaches to business problem solving are compared, including the systems approach and SAST (strategic assumption surfacing and testing), but also analytic modelling (typical of operations research), the case method (widely used, but lacking in objectivity), structured approaches (e.g. PIMS and its many derivatives, often failing to look at key non-quantifiables). The problem with the systems approach is that it is difficult to operationalize (although it could be argued that Wicked Solutions solved that problem). The problem of SAST may be the unwillingness of participants to lay bare their assumptions. This is a general problem in all approaches where we want to leave no stone unturned (as assumptions, e.g. about people’s motivations, lurk beneath them). In this post I will argue that SAST can be combined with…

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