The newly sovereign island nation of Fooji, in and effort to modernize its economy, offered tax breaks to American companies for doing business in their country. Two shoe companies, the well established Air Kobe and the upstart Stretchers were among the companies given invitations. The claim was Fooji should have shoe stores.
In order to validate the claim, both companiessent a representation to evaluate the situationand discover issues that would convince theirrespective companies to be for or against theclaim. This process of gathering information fordecision making or advocacy is called “ISSUEDISCOVERY.”
There are four types of issues that can be discovered: POTENTIAL ISSUES- These are all the possible questions that can be asked of the claim. ADMITTED ISSUES- These are questions raised by one side and agreed to by the other side, making the issue “moot.” REAL ISSUES – These are the important questions that remain after narrowing the potential issues down.
ULTIMATE ISSUES – These are key questions that, in and of themselves, are sufficient for the disposition of the claim. Overall, issues are the questions inherent in the claim that are discovered through brainstorming, research, and analysis. These discovered questions must be answered so that a stand on the claim can be taken… Answered issues become the basis for your contentions.
Contentions are the main argument that support your position on the claim. Contentions mostly come from the ultimate issues.
The Air Kobe company sent the Director ofSales, Teddy Sycophant, to Fooji to assess thesituation. It was hot, humid and there was nogolf course so he was in a real hurry to gethome. He made quick work of his issuediscovery and found the ultimate issue rightaway. “ Do Foojians wear shoes?” The answerwas no, they do not and never have.
So, he adopted the con side of the claim bycontenting that “the Foojians do not wear shoesso there is no market for shoes in Fooji.Therefore the Air Kobe company should notinvest in building shoe stores in Fooji.”When Teddy returned home he was given a bigraise for averting another Tokyo cake mixdisaster.1
The Stretchers Company however hired aprofessional, Sally Effort, to go to Fooji andassess the situation. “The difference between aprofessional and an amateur is knowing whatquestions to ask.”2 Sally’s issue discoveryuncovered hundreds of Potential issues. Shedid Exploratory research to structure newproblems and Constructive research to developnew solutions.
Sally did Empirical research by getting outamong the people of Fooji to find out theirconcerns, their life style and desires.From this she discovered that the UltimateIssue was: “How can Foojians be persuaded towear shoes.” The answer to this became hercontention for siding with the status quo.
Sally contented that “ the Foojians can bepersuaded to wear shoes by marketing them tothe children. Therefore, the Stretchers companyshould build shoe stores in Fooji.” TheStretchers shoe company accepted hercontention because of the supporting groundsshe provided and built shoe stores in Fooji andput Sally in charge of marketing.
Sally took charge. She had the best shoe for the Foojian life style developed, The Fooji Footy. She had pseudo scientific research papers delivered to the schools explaining the benefits of wearing the Footy, you can run faster, climb higher and stay on your surf board better. She offered incentives, any child 14 and under got their first pair free. This is called priming the pump.
She sponsored classes for expectant mothersthat among other things, taught expectantmothers the importance of having theirchildren shod for their first steps to promotehealthy foot development.She had hundreds of pairs of infant size FoojiFootys made available, free of cost, to allmothers of newborns and she paid for the localbronze foundry to bronze a baby’s first pair forfree.
But by far, her greatest achievement was tohave the Stretchers company sponsor the localsurfing hero because when he won theAustralian Pipeline Challenge, wearing FoojiSurfboard Footies, they became aninternational hit.Now, twenty five years later, all the babyboomers have grown up and they all wearshoes, so do their children and their parents.
The international demand for Fooji Footies has made the Stretcher Fooji Footy division the largest employer in the nation with revenue in the hundred millions annually. The Fooji Footy theme park and golf course attracts a million tourist a year and the Stretcher Company helped elect the current Prime Minister.
When the President and CEO of the Fooji FootyDivision, Sally Effort was asked the secret ofher success, she said, “I always knew whatquestions to ask because I did the exploratory,constructive and empirical research necessaryto discover them. But, I didn’t stop there, I didthe Cost/Benefit Analysis by weighing thetotal expected costs vs. the total expectedbenefits of each action.
I did Priorities Analysis by prioritizingobjectives and weighing the trade-offs if weadopt a claim. I did Continuities Analysis bystudying the results of following similar claimsand determining if a break from tradition iswarranted. Finally I did a lot of Brainstorminggenerating an extensive list of questions bybringing together people of collectivewisdom.”
Sally concluded with a quote from Michelangelo “if people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldnt seem so wonderful at all.“1. Reference to an American Companies decision to send thousands of box of cake mix to Japan without first asking the questions :“Does the typical Japanese household have an oven?”2. Jim Marteney3. Note: all definitions come directly from Communicating Critical Thinking, Jack Stark and Jim Marteney pages 149 to 159.