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Connecting New Information

20 January, 2016 - 16:32

Strategic thinking is “thinking about thinking.” It is being conscious of your thinking processes, such as how you have gathered and organized the information and experience in your memory (old information), and then how you reorganize it (new information) to fit a new situation. You have to connect the new information to what you already know in order to help make sense of what actions to take. You can do this by identifying what you know and what you do not know about a cultural situation. Here is an exercise to help you identify old and new information. Take a sheet a paper and draw a line down the middle of the sheet to create two columns. At the top of the left column, write, “What I know,” and at the top of the right column, write, “What I want to learn.” As you research, explore, and interact with a cultural situation, people, or information, you will learn to clarify, revise, verify, or expand your understanding of the situation.

Let us look at the example of Betsy, who is a product manager for a local distributor of processed foods and snacks. With a growing Hispanic population that has an increasingly large purchasing power in the United States, her company wants to expand into the market and seize on this opportunity and potential for growth. This is not a new market for the business, but it requires that her team think strategically about what they know and do not know about this consumer base.

Table 5.1 Identification of Knowledge Gaps

What I Know

What I Want to Learn

Between the years 1991–2013, the projected growth of Hispanic purchasing power is 560%.

Differences in lifestyles among Hispanic groups.

Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States.

Reasons for immigration or coming to the

United States.

By 2020, the U.S. Hispanic population will triple.

Cultural etiquette in doing business with


Family is central to Hispanic communities.

History of Hispanic culture in the United States.

A large percentage of Hispanic families are from low-income families.


Next, Betty and her team will need identify the strategies that will help them to be more intentional with their work.