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The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems [Kindle Edition]

Christian Madsbjerg , Mikkel B. Rasmussen
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Businesses need a new type of problem solving. Why? Because they are getting people wrong.

Traditional problem-solving methods taught in business schools serve us well for some of the everyday challenges of business, but they tend to be ineffective with problems involving a high degree of uncertainty. Why? Because, more often than not, these tools are based on a flawed model of human behavior. And that flawed model is the invisible scaffolding that supports our surveys, our focus groups, our R&D, and much of our long-term strategic planning.

In The Moment of Clarity, Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen examine the business world’s assumptions about human behavior and show how these assumptions can lead businesses off track. But the authors chart a way forward. Using theories and tools from the human sciences—anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and psychology—The Moment of Clarity introduces a practical framework called sensemaking. Sensemaking’s nonlinear problem-solving approach gives executives a better way to understand business challenges involving shifts in human behavior.

This new methodology, a fundamentally different way to think about strategy, is already taking off in Fortune 100 companies around the world. Through compelling case studies and their direct experience with LEGO, Samsung, Adidas, Coloplast, and Intel, Madsbjerg and Rasmussen will show you how to solve problems as diverse as setting company direction, driving growth, improving sales models, understanding the real culture of your organization, and finding your way in new markets.

Over and over again, executives say the same thing after engaging in a process of sensemaking: “Now I see it . . .” This experience—the moment of clarity—has the potential to drive the entire strategic future of your company. Isn’t it time you and your firm started getting people right?

Learn more about the innovation and strategy work of ReD Associates at:

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Product Description


Included in Entrepreneur magazine's "25 Amazing Business Books from 2014" list. "Recommended Reading: 10 Books on Creative Leadership" -- Forbes "Best Business Book of the Year: Executive Self Improvement" -- strategy+business magazine "The Moment of Clarity offers some useful and thought-provoking ideas...a good place to start for those who want a readable overview of 20th-century social theorists and of the potential applications of their ideas." -- Financial Times "...the best new business book of the year." -- Tom Cox, Oregon Business "The application of sensemaking in business is made abundantly clear through a number of case studies, including LEGO, Coloplast, Intel, Adidas, and Samsung TV." -- Buyers Meeting Point ADVANCE PRAISE for The Moment of Clarity: Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO and President, LEGO-- "The Moment of Clarity demonstrates the significant impact and value that businesses create when they actively build strategies around the complexity of human behavior. This book is essential reading for any leader struggling to find a solid path forward in a rocky and uncertain environment." Michael Canning, CEO, Duke Corporate Education-- "Madsbjerg and Rasmussen bring fresh perspective by applying a human lens to solve business challenges. Drawing on the social sciences, they uncover elusive insights needed for navigating our increasingly complex world. A great read--I highly recommend it." Sheila Heen, coauthor, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most-- "Buried under spreadsheets, market analyses, and big data lies the essence of the human experience that your product or service is built on. The Moment of Clarity shows us how easily this gets lost amid the hubbub of today's business "wisdom," and how stopping to deeply understand the humanity at the heart of it all has brought some of the world's biggest companies back from the brink. Ignore Madsbjerg and Rasmussen's groundbreaking insight at your peril." Taylor Carman, Professor of Philosophy, Barnard College-- "The Moment of Clarity offers a brilliant and much-needed critique of the disastrous consequences of trading embodied intuitive understanding for abstract technical manipulation, especially for companies whose success depends on their sensitivity and responsiveness to the experiences, the concerns, the lives--in short, the worlds--of their customers. Madsbjerg and Rasmussen shine a light on the persistent but stultifying habits of corporate thinking that stand in the way of genuine imagination and insight into what it means to be human."

About the Author

Christian Madsbjerg is one of the founding partners of ReD Associates, an innovation and strategy consultancy. Madsbjerg advises the executive suite of many Fortune 300 companies on top-level strategic issues, integrating sophisticated techniques traditionally used in the human sciences into each company's problem-solving processes. His work has had a significant impact in the market for each of his clients, and he is known for debunking more traditional market research practices. Mikkel B. Rasmussen, also a founding partner of ReD Associates, is an expert in innovation and business creativity. As the director of ReD Associates Europe, he works closely with the top management of some of Europe's most forward-looking companies, including Adidas, LEGO, and Novo Nordisk.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 428 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (21 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232,853 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If we accept that change has become inevitable and many of the old ways of looking into business transformation and innovation are becoming obsolete, Christian and Mikkel bring a new and better rooted perspective on how to approach shifting industries, particularly in the consumer sector.

For those who expect an easy recipe or the 7 infallible steps on how to transform a company, you will be disappointed. This is a far more cohesive and comprehensive approach that invites us to look at consumer behavior as a phenomenon not as simple characteristics, puts humans into the right perspective (usually irrational, always social and making most decisions without really any conscious reasoning) and makes the case for looking into a more uncomfortable approach of avoiding certainties and understanding the consumer through the techniques of social sciences. I particularly enjoyed the abductive reasoning approach of arriving without preconceptions or hypothesis to observe changes.

All in all, a highly recommendable business book on techniques foreign to traditional business people
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read it if you make things that people use 3 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have worked in User Experience for 9 years at the time of reading, and I still found value in its stories.

It was an easy read. Broken into three sections, by the time I was done I had forgotten the first one, because the lessons of the last were the most valuable. "Getting people wrong" is easy to forget. "Getting people right" will fuel several conversations you have if you work in a "making things for people to use" industry.

The examples of companies who have used sensemaking, and how they used it were very interesting. Did you know Intel cared about how people use technology? I didn't!

I would not advocate sensemaking as a solution to many problems, but the ones that it can solve, it should solve exceptionally well. It was very good to read that taking more than 6 months to rephrase a problem as an experience, observe the experience, analyse the results, and find groupings, and finally come to a moment of clarity which enables further action, was a) normal and b) a path to success.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Business exposed

One of my favourite management books is “Business exposed” by Freek Vermeulen. It basically says that most of the management theories we belief in, are based on nothing. Boards, downsizing, ISO, TQM, talent, strategy, numbers, innovation, you name it.

99% of the case hard science does not work

“The Moment of Clarity” is that kind of book. Business is using the wrong models to make decisions. Linear models of problem solving based on rational and logic don’t work. Particularly on problems with big levels of uncertainty, with no real understanding of the problem. Which is now 99% of the case. On anything to human behaviour, hard science cannot be applied either. As businesses are 99% human, sciences such as anthropology, sociology, art, philosophy and literature should be used.

What got you here, won’t get you there

Business are using the wrong assumptions, numbers are not the only truth, businesses are not objective or unbiased, they are suffering from confirmation bias, they are using the wrong language, market research does not give you the answer (18 bln spend per year), people don’t care as much about your business as you think they do, people lie all the time, are not aware why they do what they do and in general are not rational. A lot is unconscious behaviour. Say and do are two different things. (Read Kahneman if you don’t belief me). Therefore you need to question even the most basic assumption about your company and your customers. It is why for example innovation in exercise are not coming from sports companies, but outsiders like Nintendo Wii, EA spots and Garmin. And why the music industry did not make music mobile.

You have become the system

Numbers and jargon dehumanises .
Read more ›
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