Arnaud Chevallier

Arnaud Chevallier
Facing a complex situation, it’s easy to fall into one of two pitfalls: jumping straight to a solution or letting the complexity of the problem paralyze us. Both are suboptimal. Solving a problem too quickly might involve missing better opportunities or costly reworks. Getting paralyzed might mean that the problem snowballs into an uncontrollable one.
Arnaud Chevallier

Arnaud Chevallier helps executives solve complex problems and make better decisions under uncertainty. His research, teaching and consulting draw on empirical findings from diverse disciplines to provide concrete tools that prepare executives to manage the strategic challenges they face in today’s dynamic global marketplace.

Effective problem solvers are T-shaped – they are both generalists and specialists, combining depth and breadth of knowledge. Although traditional education and training cultivate specialist skills, they pay much less attention to the acquisition of generalist skills, including strategic thinking. Executives can use Chevallier’s tools to improve on the breadth dimension.

His initial 2016 book Strategic Thinking in Complex Problem Solving, published by Oxford University Press, is now followed by his latest title, Solvable: A Simple Solution to Complex Problems, co-authored with Albrecht Enders. This book synthesizes the strategic thinking needed for complex problem solving into a simple three-step process: frame, explore, decide. It also shows practitioners how to follow these steps using highly applicable, concrete tools.

He has helped numerous organizations to identify breakthrough solutions to complex problems, including Shell, SAP, Lenovo, Cisco, Novo Nordisk, Statkraft and the United Nations. He recently helped the International Committee of the Red Cross identify innovative funding sources and assisted Gavi the Vaccine Alliance in its drive to have greater impact. He also helped Swiss company Agathon to make decisions under high uncertainty during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and supported Tetra Pak in improving its decision-making processes through the optimal engagement of stakeholders.

At IMD he is Director of the Global Management Foundations (GMF) program and the Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Technology (SMT) program offered jointly by IMD, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and the University of Lausanne. He is also Co-Director of IMD’s Complex Problem Solving (CPS) program.

Before joining IMD in 2018, Chevallier served as Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he taught strategic thinking in the engineering school. He was previously graduate dean of the University of Monterrey in Mexico, teaching engineering and business. He trained in mechanical engineering and his PhD from Rice focused on nonlinear stochastic mechanics. He then worked in Accenture’s strategy and business architecture division before joining academia.

Selected publications

Don’t let the AI hype undermine good decision making (Management and Business Review, 2022 forthcoming)

Solvable: A Simple Solution to Complex Problems (Pearson, 2022 forthcoming)

Strategic Thinking in Complex Problem Solving (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Oil and gas well drilling: A vibrations perspective (The Shock and Vibration Digest, 2003)

Nonlinear stochastic drill-string vibrations (The Journal of Vibration and Acoustics, 2002)


BS (Mechanical Engineering)

Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines


MS (Mechanical Engineering)

Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines


MS (Mechanical Engineering)

Rice University

PhD (Mechanical Engineering)

Rice University

Global Management Foundations
Global Management Foundations (GMF) 20-week journey is a powerful, new virtual learning experience, which rapidly prepares you to step up to general management.
Complex Problem Solving
Go beyond traditional strategy frameworks and equip yourself with a clear process and versatile tools to solve complex problems and engage your stakeholders throughout.
Orchestrating Winning Performance
IMD's signature program, OWP, brings you the latest business trends, thought leadership and insights to revitalize your business, drive innovation and lead you forward. Fully customizable schedule. For executives and teams.
Master of Business Administration
Develops young and experienced international professionals into future corporate leaders through an intense one year program focused on leadership and general management.
Executive MBA
Provides experienced executives with an opportunity to achieve mastery of business concepts, leadership skills and continuous learning without leaving their job
All IMD programs
Arnaud Chevallier's Publications
There is no one-size-fits-all way to solving problems. Here’s how to tailor your approach
The four types of questions leaders should be asking