The Minto Pyramid is a way to organise presentations, communication and thinking in an ‘executive friendly’ way, by starting with the answer and key idea; grouping and summarising your recommendations and supporting arguments; and logically ordering your supporting ideas.
The Minto Pyramid is a way to organise presentations, communication and thinking in an 'executive friendly' way, by starting with the answer and key idea; grouping and summarising your recommendations and supporting arguments; and logically ordering your supporting ideas.
THINKING vs COMMUNICATING.
Minto recommends using this model in two separate modes. The thinking process is done from the ground up, naturally progressing from your findings to recommendations to your key answer or theme. Importantly, with this model, communicating is done in the reverse, sharing it from the top down - the opposite of your thinking and your journey.
Let’s break down the pyramid in more detail:
MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE & COLLECTIVELY EXHAUSTING (MECE).
A supporting model to help develop your pyramid is the MECE principle, also developed by Barbara Pinto and used at McKinsey. MECE is a method to Divide and Conquer by identifying subsets that are mutually exclusive (ME), and collectively exhaustive (CE). MECE avoids overlapping or double counting and creates distinct, independent ‘buckets’ of work.
USE IT FOR PRESENTATIONS, CHATS, EMAILS & MORE.
Minto's Pyramid is effective for presenting and engaging with busy executives who want answers and supporting information as required and is just as effective for structuring an email or even a 2-minute impromptu conversation.
SITUATION, COMPLICATION, QUESTION & ANSWER (SCQA).
We've combined the discussion of Minto's Pyramid and SCQA in this one model entry - however, consider using SCQA as a stand-alone model to quickly describe the situation, complication, question and answer for any challenge.
INFORMATIONAL AND EFFICIENT, NOT SO COLLABORATIVE.
One note explored in Limitations below is that this approach does not particularly lend itself to co-design or collaborative engagement, so it's essential that you know your audience to assess whether this is the most effective approach.
The intent or practical goal of the conversation. It guides the collective thinking process and determines the direction of the conversation.
The inner impact and overall experience of the conversation on the group. Affecting the mood of the group and the tone of the communication.
Focus on data, facts, and the ‘truths’ that everyone can agree on, such as what was seen, heard, touched, etc. Examples:
To engage the five senses (sight, sound, taste, smell and touch)
Invites inclusive participation and focuses attention
Gets out the facts and objective data.
Focus on reactions, moods, memories, associations. Examples:
To elicit and acknowledge imaginative, intuitive and emotional responses
Acknowledges emotions, memories and initial associations
Invites participants to use their imaginations.
Focus on meaning, purpose, significance, implications. Examples:
Focus on resolution, agreement, and possible new directions or actions. Examples:
To develop depth level collective opinions or resolve that may lead to future action
Draws out the deeper meaning
Makes conversation meaningful and relevant to the future
Exposes individual and group choice.
© ICA:UK the Institute of Cultural Affairs, 2014. Read more about ORID here