Teaching a class in Strategic Management  and consulting  in this area to colleges and universities and companies in the higher education space, I’m asked a lot about various tools and techniques that can be effective in diagnosing problems and generating ideas/solutions, and the answer is that there are many. Perhaps too many.
There isn’t space to go into many of them here, but I will devote some future posts to various tools and how they can be used in higher education. For now, let me tell you about a good overview of various tools used by companies put out by Bain and Company. Their short publication, Management Tools 2011: An Executive’s Guide , gives you a good overview of several of the most common management tools and frameworks, as well as a brief description of each tool, how to use it, common uses, and references for learning more about each tool. A worthwhile read.
Also from Bain is an interactive map showing the Top 10 Management Tools from 1993 to 2010  (selected years), so you can see what tools/methods are used by a high number of companies, the relative newcomers to the list (e.g., customer relationship management, or CRM), the rise and fall in popularity of some (e.g., strategic alliances) and the ones that are within the Top 5 throughout the 17-year period (e.g., benchmarking, strategic planning).
Which types of tools and analyses do you find most helpful in diagnosing problems, generating ideas and solving problems at your institution?