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Critical Thinking: The
21st-Century's most in-demand skillset.

In the age of hyper-connectivity, rapid information flows and artificial intelligence, critical thinking is integral to personal and professional success.

Critical thinking is the power to change the world. When developed fully, it's a complete metacognitive machine that empowers us to think about the way we think and to constantly self-improve.

For leadership

Critical thinkers are more powerful persuaders.

For innovation

Creative and critical thinking are the fundamental building blocks of innovation.

For strategic thinking

Critical thinking drives quicker, more informed choices.

For wellbeing

Critical thinkers are more rounded, emotionally intelligent individuals.


In education

Why schools need to teach critical thinking as its own class

Countries that excel at problem-solving encourage critical thinking

In business

Critical thinking and the bottom line: Are organizations ready for the ideas economy?

Why are critical thinking skills so crucial in 21st-century business?

Find out more about Macat Insights

Is it possible to define critical-thinking?

Critical Thinking: The
21st-century's most in-demand skillset.

Critical thinking is the combined cognitive power of six interlocking skills. The University of Cambridge calls them the PACIER skills.


Organizing strong solutions; asking productive questions; generating solutions – all of these are problem-solving skills. Problem-solving teaches you how to make more informed decisions and generate new, more creative possibilities.


Analytical skills lie at the heart of critical thinking. They allow you to understand an argument's sequence and reasoning by breaking arguments down into bite-sized chunks and seeing how the pieces fit together.

Creative Thinking

The ability to come up with new connections and fresh solutions is the toughest thinking skill to master, but it's also the most powerful. It means connecting things together in new ways, producing novel explanations for existing evidence, and redefining an issue to see it in a new light.


Interpretation involves decoding the meaning and significance of claims, including evidence and definitions. It involves asking – just as a detective or data scientist might – "what does this evidence really tell me?"


Evaluation is the skill of exploring the strengths and weaknesses of an argument. Improving your ability to evaluate makes it much easier to decide whether someone else’s argument is weak or strong and judge its quality of reasoning. It also helps you to deal with other people’s attempts to knock down your arguments.


Combined with the application of the other five PACIER skills, strong reasoning skills allow you to become a more powerful persuader. You’ll find it easier to produce well-structured arguments, deal with counter-arguments—and persuade your audience you're right.

Dr Roy van den Brink-Budgen

It is not enough to be skilled:

You must also understand the cognitive routes that allow you to apply these skills to the greatest effect.

Critical thinking skills are the habits of mind that make it possible to master new challenges, succeed in new jobs, tackle unforeseen problems – and do all of these things better, more soundly and more quickly than would otherwise be possible.

How does Critical Thinking work?

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Critical Thinking: Completed

By incorporating the skills of problem-solving and creative thinking, Macat's definition of critical thinking is more complete than any other in existence. Rather than identifying problems, Macat provides life-changing answers.


Cambridge and Macat research confirms critical thinking, like any other skillset, can be nurtured and improved.

Metacognitive thinking – any active thinking in which you are aware of the need to think carefully and critically – is fundamental. It means thinking about thinking.

Habits for metacognition build better critical thinking. Just by reading this page, you’re beginning the process of supercharging your higher-order thinking skills.

The road to smarter thinking

The best way to build critical thinking is to learn via exciting, relevant, multimedia content.

To provide a sharper awareness of your PACIER strengths and weaknesses, Macat’s team of critical thinking experts and advisors are developing a suite of tools that measure, analyse and improve critical thinking.


Packed with tips, techniques, tests, in-depth profiling, Insights equips critical thinking by teaching you how to:

Take into account the totality of a situation

Actively looking for as much information as is relevant and using it as part of the management, decision-making and leadership process.

Keep in mind the basic objective

Ensuring that the initial problem, issue or question is always central to the way in which decisions are considered and options are framed.

Be alert for alternatives

Including innovation in the management and decision-making process. What else might explain this? Is there a different way of looking at it?

Be open-minded

Interpretation involves decoding the meaning and significance of claims, including evidence and definitions. It involves asking – just as a detective or data scientist might – "what does this evidence really tell me?"

Seek as much precision as the nature of the subject allows:

This is especially significant in decision-making when it can be very important to specify what the decision needs to be and which evidence is important in making a decision.

Want to 'get it right'

This encompasses everything that good, successful managers and leaders should do. Critical thinking provides a toolkit for checking that everything has been accounted for.

Harness the power of CT with free multimedia resources

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Take a closer look at Insights,the world's most sophisticated critical thinking
measurement and analysis tool.