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Challenging the Assumptions As the mayor faces the problem of traffic congestion, it would be typical to assume that the best way to reduce congestion would be to find ways to make commuting easier.

For instance, the mayor may expand the number of road lanes available – however this may actually encourage TTC users to drive to work. Alternatively, the mayor may expand public transportation. However, if such a plan were successful, commuters would quickly notice that roads are less congested and start driving again.The assumptions discussed above would fall under the 85% areas of context and if I allow these ideas to dominate I will not be able to think outside the box.

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The assumption that making it easier to commute to Toronto will reduce traffic is an example of the single-loop-learning method. Measures based on these assumptions may ultimately result in the same traffic congestions coming back to surface in the long run and therefore do not create a sustainable solution. I should instead invoke the double-loop-learning method to break out of assumption based thinking and to challenge fundamental norms. 5% Recommendation In the language of the 15% leverage theory, the assumption based solutions discussed above would require the city to put in 85% of the work to create a 15% result. The mayor should instead think of ways that the city could make it more difficult to drive downtown. The city could implement a tax incentive based permit system whereby drivers would be required to hold a permit that would only allow them to drive downtown four out of five business days of the week.In addition the city could reduce parking spaces and increase parking prices.

By doing this, the city discourages downtown driving in a manner that would actually increase the use of public transportation and car-pooling. By implementing this idea, the city could use small initiatives to administratively structure a plan that would have a much larger impact. Framing and Reframing There are several different stakeholders involved in any traffic congestion problem and each stakeholder will frame the issue differently.The mayor may view the problem as it relates to the city’s responsibility to implement policies. Citizens may see the problem as it relates to the length of their commute and the frustration it causes. Businesses may frame the problem as how it affects their productivity if employees are often late to work due to traffic. Stakeholders need to reframe their perceptions to incorporate each other’s view in order to effectively approach the problem.

By understanding each other’s positions, stakeholders can find a new way of framing and approaching the problem.The mayor should reframe the city’s perspective of traffic congestion and take a holistic view to develop initiatives that will make Torontonians less dependent on vehicles. 15% recommendation: The mayor can make it attractive for all stakeholders to benefit from a small initiative by changing the way stakeholders view the problem of traffic congestion. This can be done by creating a tax break for companies that encourage employees to work from home for one day week. The tax break will kick in once these employees log in remotely through a government tracking system.

The city can also offer discounted monthly public transit passes for those persons who participate in the work from home program. This plan benefits all stakeholders – in particular it allows the mayor to implement an effective policy with low administrative costs, citizens will be relieved of the stress of commuting to work for one day, businesses will benefit through the tax break, and environmentalists will appreciate that the program lessens CO2 emissions . 3) Benchmarking Benchmarking to international moving companies (an industry unrelated the mayoral administration).New standards are being set by North American moving companies which have been minimizing the amount of miles driven from one destination to the other as well as driving during the night. International moving companies are operating much more efficiently by saving time, gas and mileage by creating solutions such as maximizing the number of customers in one trip from one city to the other, as well as moving during the least busy hours of the day.

15% Recommendation Create a program that provides tax incentives to businesses that offer employees the option to work different shifts and promote car-pooling.For instance, companies will receive a tax break if they allow employees to work different shifts (i. e.

, 7am-3pm, 8am-4pm) and co-ordinate these shifts by the area of the city in which the employee works to encourage car-pooling. Employees commuting from Richmond Hill can work a different shift than employees working from Mississauga. Such a policy will be attractive to companies and employees. For instance, employees will be able to change their hours and better accommodate their lifestyle needs, while employers benefit from the tax breaks.The employers should have an incentive program where employees can collect points for the amount of time they take part in this program that translates to cash bonuses, so long as the company can write it off so it doesn’t cost them much and the government incentive to the company is more than the cost of implementing the program.

Conclusion: Initially our problem was traffic congestion, but now we have tackled another problem – reducing the use of oil, which potentially causes heath concerns to residents of Toronto.By reducing traffic congestion we have created opportunities for a healthier and more sustainable environment. Part B: Reflection 1) I chose the three thinking techniques because I feel that they are the major techniques that develop critical thinking. Since I’ve learned these concepts in class, I’ve noticed myself trying to apply them to the decisions I make at home and at work. I particularly enjoyed the examples that Gareth used for challenging the assumptions (Toyota’s innovative idea on cost ; quality) and for benchmarking (how a U.

S. uto company cut its accounts payable department down dramatically after benchmarking themselves after the Japanese auto company). With regard to framing and reframing I thought the concept of the “pig”, and how all stakeholders frame the pig, relate to the industry in which I work. It reflects the different frames in which people view a problem and how reframing will help them make better decisions. I think that concept will stick with me for a long time. 2) I’ve learned that many of the concepts taught in class relate to each other in many ways and can be used to compliment another.For instance, the “5 Why’s” are similar to framing and reframing in the sense that you end up tackling a problem that is different than the one you began with.

Challenging assumptions relates to Single ; Double Loop Learning, as well as Ram Nidumolu’s 5 stages of achieving sustainability in that once assumptions are successfully challenged new business opportunities can arise. “Benchmarking” relates to “Metaphors” in that when benchmarking to an unrelated industry that has achieved ultimate success in setting new standards for competition, a company can discover ideas, particularly from merging two unrelated analogies.I believe the 15% leverage concept is most important to critical thinking, because most of us really only have access to that 15% degree of influence. 3) Strengths are that critical thinking helps us overcome biases and perceptions and open our thoughts to areas in which we are generally not comfortable with – this can lead to other ways of seeing and understanding a problem.

Weaknesses are that we can become caught up in over-thinking all of the critical thinking concepts when trying to apply them to creative critical thinking.

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