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Analytical Thinking

Analytical Thinking is identified as one of Matter’s top soft skills that is linked to performance, development, and career success.
Matter’s definition of
Analytical Thinking
Applies logical thinking to solve complex problems.
Matter is based on an ontology of over
30 recommended skills.

What is Analytical Thinking?

Analytical thinking is the ability to tackle complicated issues by evaluating information you’ve gathered and organized. Analytical thinkers can detect patterns between datasets that often lead to creative solutions.

They’re able to turn noisy data and information into action. As critical thinkers, they help teams make informed decisions based on collected data and identified goals. Analytical thinkers also help their team embrace new ideas and develop a growth mindset.

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Analytical Thinkers You May Know

Heidi Zak

A major difficulty for millions of women is finding a bra that actually fits. There didn’t seem to be a scalable way for manufacturers to provide sizes for women of all shapes and sizes. Zak and her company ThirdLove set out to solve the problem by building a better bra while simultaneously making it easier for women to find their correct size. The company’s innovative system, which includes half-cup sizes, has made life easier for women who were once ignored by the mainstream market.

Reshma Saujani

During a visit to a high school computer science class, Saujani noticed a lack of girls in the classroom. She later learned that the biggest drop off for girls’ interest in computer science occurs between the ages of 13-17. Saujani realized this wasn’t an isolated incident. To tackle this systemic issue, she started Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that offers coding lessons and summer programs to girls from middle to high school across the U.S. Today, Girls Who Code has served over 185,000 women and young girls, bridging them with opportunities in tech.

Ryan Hoover

While trying to track down information on new products, Hoover found it almost impossible to find what he was looking for. Instead of throwing up his hands and giving up, Hoover looked at the underlying problem and worked to find a solution for everyone. To quench his curiosity and solve a need, he started Product Hunt, a community where early adopters, tech enthusiasts, and startup founders can share their enthusiasm and ‘hunt’ on new products.

Why Analytical Thinking Is Important

Practical Foresight

Analytical thinkers are great at spotting issues before they happen. They look ahead, picture a product or service in its development, and make a plan to create it.


Rome wasn't built in a day. Analytical leaders know how to break large goals or problems down into manageable, achievable steps. They help their team manage their energy and effort in the most productive way.

Growth Mindset

Approaching every setback and failure as an opportunity to learn is an example of analytical thinking. Leaders often incorporate past learnings to solve present problems. They’re excellent at getting to the heart of a problem and finding the logical solution.

What Analytical Thinking is NOT About


The definition of analytical thinking does not include noisy, clustered data. Rather than overcomplicating a project, critical thinkers look for the simplest ways to break down a problem and find a solution.


Great analytical thinkers know when it’s time to stop analyzing and take decisive action. They know that “doing” helps improve the learning process.

Making Assumptions

Strong analytical thinkers know that it is always better to make decisions from an informed point-of-view, rather than jumping to conclusions without a full understanding of the problem at hand.

Abilities That Lead To The Mastery of Analytical Thinking


Analyzing information

The ability to examine information or a situation in detail in order to identify key or important elements, their strengths, and weaknesses and use these to compile a persuasive argument, make recommendations or solve a problem.


Breaking down problems

Big problems can usually be made easier by breaking them down into smaller problems. These smaller problems are often easier to solve than the original big one.


Gathering information

Ask appropriate questions of yourself and of others in order to gain the necessary insights that will enable you to make more effective decisions about the problems you are facing.


Identifying issues and problems

Developing your ability to recognize underlying issues or problems based on trends, associations and cause-effect relationships between datasets is a critical step towards solving the right problem.


Identifying root cause

Root cause analysis helps ensure you have identified the actual problem as opposed to just fixing the resulting symptoms. It also helps you avoid the temptation to single-out one issue in order to resolve the problem as fast as possible.


Organizing information

Once all relevant information has been collected successfully, it's important to organize and integrate all the pieces in a way that will provide you with insights and ideas that can be used to draw appropriate conclusions. This will lay the foundation for potential solutions to the problems you are working to solve.

Who can benefit from practicing Analytical Thinking?

Explore Complementary Skills to Analytical Thinking

Analytical Thinking shouldn’t be practiced in a vacuum. Improve your Analytical Thinking by exploring and developing these complementary skills.