Home > Store

Using Thematic Thinking to Achieve Business Success, Growth, and Innovation: Finding Opportunities Where Others Don't Look

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Using Thematic Thinking to Achieve Business Success, Growth, and Innovation: Finding Opportunities Where Others Don't Look

eBook (Watermarked)

  • Your Price: $39.99
  • List Price: $49.99
  • Includes EPUB and PDF
  • About eBook Formats
  • This eBook includes the following formats, accessible from your Account page after purchase:

    ePub EPUB The open industry format known for its reflowable content and usability on supported mobile devices.

    Adobe Reader PDF The popular standard, used most often with the free Adobe® Reader® software.

    This eBook requires no passwords or activation to read. We customize your eBook by discreetly watermarking it with your name, making it uniquely yours.


  • Copyright 2014
  • Dimensions: 6" x 9"
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-344811-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-344811-5

Leverage hidden similarities and connections to succeed in new markets and avert emerging business risks! Firmly rooted in the latest cognitive science, Thematic Thinking helps you recognize your great opportunities and grave threats in distant but related industries and markets. If you're an executive, entrepreneur, or strategist, it will help you illuminate blind spots on your strategic maps and innovation processes, by radically redefining what you see as similar to your core business.

Using Thematic Thinking to Achieve Business Success, Growth, and Innovation explains why this approach to innovation works so well, and how to successfully apply it in your business. Using realistic business cases, the authors show: 

  • How Thematic Thinking responds to today's radically shifting business environment, and the collapse of traditional market boundaries
  • Why traditional approaches to innovation can often be counterproductive, and how to go beyond them
  • How to systematically uncover deep similarities where most managers only see differences
  • How to understand these similarities as immense new business opportunities – and uncover emerging risks you wouldn't otherwise notice until too late
  • How to explore and combine themes, identify similarities, create and evaluate thematic ideas, organize for Thematic Thinking, and overcome obstacles to success

Which Google manager would have imagined people substituting Facebook for Gmail? Which Nike manager recognizes the huge potential competitive threat now presented by Apple? With Thematic Thinking, linkages like this become clear – and innovative, once-hidden strategic options are revealed!

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Preface    xv

Chapter 1  Introducing Thematic Thinking: Start Seeing the World with Both Eyes    1

Strategic Opportunity Search    4

Recognizing Strategic Threats    6

Avoiding the Innovation Dead End: Reconsidering

What’s “Distant” to Your Core Business    8

Takeaways    12

Chapter 2  Behind the Themes: How Thematic Ideas Are Motivated    13

Four Types of Motivation for Thematic Ideas    14

Improving the Experience    16

Achieving Customer Lock-On    19

Solving Problems    22

Reaching New Target Groups    26

Reaching Untapped Customer Groups:

Base of the Pyramid Innovation    27

Insights from the Base of the Pyramid    30

Takeaways    35

Case Overview    35

Case Study: Safe Cooking    38

Chapter 3  Kind(s) of Similar: Defining the Basics of Thematic Thinking    41

Types of Similarity    42

Themes    45

Association    46

Complementarity    48

Sources of Thematic Similarity    50

Operation    52

Evaluation    54

Effect    55

Complementarity    56

Takeaways    57

Chapter 4  Exploring Themes    59

Different Kinds of Themes (Not All Themes Are

Created Equal)    60

Creating New Themes (or Combining Existing Ones)    67

Thematic Distance    71

Abstract Themes    74

Analogies    76

Takeaways    79

Case Study: Washing Hands the Thematic Way    79

Chapter 5  The Thematic Power of Brands    81

Extending Brands    83

Coincidental Thematicness    87

Brand Alliances    91

Thematic Threats    97

Thematic Brand Extensions Do Not Work for

Everyone    99

Brands as Themes    104

Takeaways    105

Case Overview    105

Case Study: Italians’ Lifestyle on the Road    107

Chapter 6  Thinking Thematic    111

Why Some Think Thematically and Others Don’t    112

How to Create Thematic Ideas—and Don’t Worry,

Everyone Can Do This    119

Guided Thematic Thinking    122

Fictional Case Study 1: TMD Furnishings    123

How to Recognize a Thematic Idea When

You See One    128

Takeaways    130

Fictional Case Study 2: The Coffee Team    131

Fictional Case Study 3: Tematech    132

Fictional Case Study 4: Lighthouse Theaters    133

Fictional Case Study 5: Tema Air    134

Your Task (For All Cases)    135

Chapter 7  Thematic Ideas in the Corporate Environment—Giving Them a Fighting Chance    137

What Makes a Good (Thematic) Idea?    139

Turning to Customers for Thematic Advice    141

Seeing the Whole Thematic Picture    144

Getting the Message Across    147

Surviving the Execution Gap    149

Selling Thematic Ideas    153

Takeaways    155

Case Study: Swedish Design Meets Chinese

Technology    156

Chapter 8  Linking Technological Innovation to Thematic Thinking    159

The New Life of Mobile Phones    162

Apps    167

Putting Real Life Online    168

The Internet of Things    169

Home Automation    170

High-tech Health Care    172

Takeaways    174

Case Study: Teenage Consumption    174

Chapter 9  Wrapping Up: Think Thematic    177

1.) THemes: If there is no theme, it is not thematic    178

2.) INtegration: Entities should be integrated within ideas    179

3.) Keep practicing    180

4.) THematic ideas face great dangers in the corporate context    181

5.) Experience: To understand a theme, you need personal experience    182

6.) Many items make up a theme: Think big    183

7.) Association and cultural awareness matter    184

8.) Taxonomic ideas can be great, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to them    185

9.) Individuals differ in their preferences for ideas and kinds of similarities    186

10.) Customers’ perspectives should be taken    187

Glossary    189

Readings    195

Endnotes    199

Ch. 1    199

Ch. 2    201

Ch. 3    204

Ch. 4    207

Ch. 5    209

Ch. 6    211

Ch. 7    213

Ch. 8    214

Ch. 9    215

Glossary    216

Index    217


Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020