Monday, February 8, 2016

IBAR Critical Thinking Method Inventor Creates New Word for the Study of Critical Thinking

IBAR Critical Thinking Method Inventor Creates New Word for the Study of Critical Thinking

On February 6, 2016, Edward S. Brown III, M.S., inventor of the IBAR Critical Thinking Method, coined the word “Coruscology,” to mean: The study of critical thinking and its influence on decision-making and problem-solving.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

5 Trends & Predictions in Corporate Training for 2016


Edward Brown, M.S.

Training is imparted to employees to ensure that they stay competent, competitive, and resourceful for an organization. The very purpose of providing corporate training is to ensure that employees are skilled sufficiently enough to take up any challenge, as well as tackle any changes in the workplace. 
Most of the employees of an organization come from diverse backgrounds and hence possess different skills and mindsets. This is where the call for diversity becomes most important. Different ethnicities and backgrounds have various decision-makingprocesses. If corporate managers can encourage greater self-initiative and inspiration within a diverse corporate community, this makes for business opportunities that create groundbreaking innovation, which leads to greater corporate productivity and profitability. So what trends and predictions for 2016 will lead to corporations becoming more profitability by employees becoming more proficient? 

1.    An upsurge in critical thinking and soft skills training. A 2012 American Management Association (AMA) study asked 768 managers and executives about the importance of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity (described as the Four C’s) to their organizations. An estimated 74.6% of the managers and executives who responded to AMA’s survey believed that the Four C’s will become even more important to their organizations in the next 3 to 5 years.

Prediction: Forbes 2014 Corporate Learning Factbook indicates that the U.S. spending on corporate training grew by 15% last year (the highest growth rate in seven years) to over $70 Billion in the US and over $130 Billion worldwide. Seventy-percent of organizations cite “capability gaps” as one of their top five challenges (Bersin, 2014). Corporate investments in skills gap training will continue to increase as the global economy becomes more competitive.

2.    Corporate training directly tied to employee performance and evaluation. Wittbrodt (2014) suggested that an underperforming employee in a high-performing group (numbering 3 or 4) can bring productivity down by 30-40%. To put this in dollar terms, the annual revenue lost by an underperforming employee can be as high as $300,000 (Wittbrodt, 2014).

Prediction: As corporations require human resources departments to play a more active role in business development, corporate training, employee performance, and evaluation will become more granular for corporate profitability. Underperforming employees will be terminated in greater numbers with documented cases of underperformance. Particularly, this will impact regions of the country that have traditionally maintained strong employee unions.

3.    Decision-making skills assessments will become part of the hiring process. Maggitti (2015) noted that “The Wall Street Journal reported last year saying, according to an study, employers are asking more often for critical thinking skills in their new hires. The study says that since 2009, mentions of critical thinking have doubled in job postings.”

Prediction: In addition to reading and writing evaluations, problem-solving and critical thinking assessments will become part of the employee vetting process to ensure that employees not only have the formal educational requirements, but also the decision-making skills to be self-directed and self-reliant employees.

4.    The increase in corporate training certification programs. Go2HR (2015) noted that “Offering training programs and identifying clear career paths for junior employees leads to easier recruitment and lower turnover. Classes in such areas as language skills can increase communication between employees and improve work efficiency” (Go2HR, 2015).

Prediction: Corporations will create more in-house proprietary training certification programs as a way of expanding their mission as learning organizations (LO’s). Some corporations will have the magnitude of GE’s Crotonville management training center while others will have smaller on-site facilities tailored for junior employees during the onboarding process. Additionally, these training centers will become a part of the process for promotional opportunities, as well as profit centers for other companies to send their employees. 

5.    Corporate training will require more measurable results and outcomes. McAlone (2015) pointed to a University of Cambridge study conducted on Macat, an online learning platform and critical thinking tool, which found that using Macat caused improvement in both discipline-specific and general critical thinking skills also in just 8 hours.

Prediction: Corporate training, in-house or off-site, will require guaranteed results at the end of each training session. There will be less tolerance for “Motivational speeches” and more demand for inspired training that lead to qualitative and quantifiable outcomes. Consequently, corporate training providers will have to create methods, models, and systems that meet these expectations as opposed to “canned” presentations that fail to build workable skill sets.
The year 2016 will see a recommitment by corporate managers to providing the necessary tools for a productive workforce with employee compensation commensurate with documented success in work performance, as well as professional development.
Edward Brown, M.S., designs critical thinking and strategic thinking models for Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute, Inc. (Core Edge).

To view Core Edge’s catalog of critical thinking and decision-making models, visit:


Bersin, J. (2014, Feb. 4). Spending on corporate training soars: Employee capabilities mow a priority. Forbes. Retrieved from
Go2HR (2015). Investing in your entry-level employees really can increase your company’s profitability. Retrieved from
Maggitti, P. (2015, June 2). Be the problem-solver: Employers want graduates who can think critically, analyze data, and challenge the status quo. U.S. News & World Report (Knowledge Bank). Retrieved from

McAlone, N. (2015, Nov. 4). This Cambridge-approved startup says it can make you smarter in just 8 hours and it’s now raised $30 million. Business Insider (online). Retrieved from

Monday, October 5, 2015

Does SWOT Analysis Beat the IBAR Critical Thinking Method?

Does SWOT Analysis Beat the IBAR Critical Thinking Method?

Helen R. Metcalf


In today’s business climate, where corporate managers are attempting to make the most of their resources, it is essential to choose a strategic thinking model that nets the best results. Albert S. Humphrey is credited for developing the SWOT analysis in the 1960s. Essentially, the acronym for SWOT refers to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are considerations when a manager looks inside an organization to determine what it does best and least effective. Opportunities and threats are outside forces that could prove helpful or harmful to organizational development. In a practical sense, SWOT analysis seeks to find the benefits and liabilities that lie within and outside of an organization. As an example, a small business may be able to change directions rapidly (Strength), but this may prove harmful if the business is undercapitalized as it attempts to create new products (Weakness). Being a small company allows it to specialize in a niche (Opportunity), but may prove harmful if the niche is a commodity that can be dominated by a larger competitor (Threat). Typically, SWOT analysis affords the opportunity for managers to look at all angles of a company for establishing a viable marketing and business development strategy.

The IBAR Critical Thinking Method (IBAR) was developed by Edward S. Brown III in 2012. IBAR’s acronym stands for Issues, Benchmarks, Analysis/Application, and Recommendations. In strategic analysis, Issues, Applications, and Recommendations review the internal structure of the company, while Benchmarks and Analysis look at outside prospects. In a practical sense, a manager would ask what, when, why, where, and how a problem derived (Issue). Once the issue has been diagnosed, a manager would look for industry standards, best practices, and leaders who have dealt with a similar problem (Benchmarks). From these Benchmarks, a manager would determine why and how they worked successfully in the past (Analysis). It would be similar to precedents established in law. If judges have settled cases that serve as guidelines, the only determination is how this precedent (Benchmark) can be used successfully in this particular instance (Application). If there are several Benchmarks to consider, they must be triaged or prioritized based on their merit for providing the best chance for successful implementation. Resolving the order of priority is a part of the recommendation process, which reflects the most attractive solution available among options.

SWOT analysis is a comprehensive means of looking at an organization with a 360-degree lens. Harbour (n.d.) outlined the benefits and liabilities of SWOT Analysis. Harbour said the benefits are:

·         SWOT helps decision makers decide on a course of action using a simple matrix.

·         SWOT is an excellent tool for marketing campaigns.

·         No special training is needed to implement SWOT.

Harbour says the liabilities include:

·         SWOT identifies issues without providing solutions.

·         SWOT may not reflect the reality of the business.

·         SWOT does not prioritize the issue within its four quadrants.

Although very little has been written on the IBAR Critical Thinking Method, anecdotal analysis generated from its influence from the IRAC Method prompts some benefits and liabilities.

Some general benefits are:

·         IBAR creates a solution to the issue.

·         Benchmarks are anchored to the success of diverse companies.

·         No special training is necessary after the initial introduction.

Some liabilities include:

·         Its critical thinking premise is relegated to a simple formula.

·         Provides a recommendation for issue resolution but still involves trial and error.

·         Does not have a long history.

So does SWOT analysis beat the IBAR Critical Thinking Method? Based on the findings, SWOT analysis is effective at self-reflection and marketing campaigns. However, IBAR is effective at resolving issues, planning, and decision making. In this vein, IBAR is a better choice for comprehensive decision making for organizational development. On the other hand, SWOT is a better choice for getting a snapshot of the current state of organizational operations. The best choice between the two rests on the specific results a practitioner is attempting to achieve.


Harbour, S. (N.D.). What are the benefits and detriments of SWOT analysis? CHRON (Houston Chronicle). Retrieved from: