Arnaud Chevallier is Professor of Strategy. He helps executives solve complex problems and make better decisions under uncertainty. His research, teaching and consulting draw on empirical findings from diverse disciplines to provide concrete tools that prepare executives to manage the strategic challenges they face in today’s dynamic global marketplace.
In his view, effective problem solvers are T-shaped; they are both generalists and specialists, combining depth and breadth of knowledge. Although traditional education and training can cultivate specialist skills, they pay much less attention to the acquisition of generalist skills, including strategic thinking. Executives can use Chevallier’s tools to improve on the breadth dimension.
His books include the 2016 title Strategic Thinking in Complex Problem Solving, and Solvable: A Simple Solution to Complex Problems, co-authored with Albrecht Enders. This book synthesizes the strategic thinking needed for complex problem solving into a simple three-step process: frame, explore, decide. It also shows practitioners how to follow these steps using highly applicable, concrete tools.
Facing a complex situation, it’s easy to fall into one of two pitfalls: jumping straight to a solution or letting the complexity of the problem paralyze us. Both are suboptimal. Solving a problem too quickly might involve missing better opportunities or costly reworks; getting paralyzed might mean that the problem snowballs into an uncontrollable one.
Chevallier has helped numerous organizations to identify breakthrough solutions to complex problems including Shell, SAP, Lenovo, Cisco, Novo Nordisk, Statkraft, and the United Nations. He recently helped the International Committee of the Red Cross identify innovative funding sources and assisted Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in its drive to have greater impact. He also helped Swiss company Agathon to make decisions under high uncertainty during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and supported Tetra Pak in improving its decision-making processes through the optimal engagement of stakeholders.
At IMD, he is Director of the Global Management Foundations (GMF) program and the Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Technology (SMT) program offered jointly by IMD, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and the University of Lausanne. He is also Co-Director of IMD’s Complex Problem Solving (CPS) program.
Before joining IMD in 2018, Chevallier served as Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he taught strategic thinking in the School of Engineering. He was previously Graduate Dean of the University of Monterrey in Mexico, teaching engineering and business. He trained in mechanical engineering and his PhD from Rice University focused on nonlinear stochastic mechanics. He then worked in Accenture’s strategy and business architecture division before joining academia.
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