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The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems

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Christian Madjsberg and Mikkel Rasmussen, principals at ReD Associates, argue for the role of a new set of tools to understand the “soft” factors that influence how people buy and consume ideas and products. Drawn from the authors’ work with companies like Lego, Samsung, Adidas, Intel, IBM, and Coke, the book will teach you how to understand people holistically in their en Christian Madjsberg and Mikkel Rasmussen, principals at ReD Associates, argue for the role of a new set of tools to understand the “soft” factors that influence how people buy and consume ideas and products. Drawn from the authors’ work with companies like Lego, Samsung, Adidas, Intel, IBM, and Coke, the book will teach you how to understand people holistically in their environments—how they live, what they think and do all day, what their habits are, and how they understand the world. For brand fanatics and business leaders alike.


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Christian Madjsberg and Mikkel Rasmussen, principals at ReD Associates, argue for the role of a new set of tools to understand the “soft” factors that influence how people buy and consume ideas and products. Drawn from the authors’ work with companies like Lego, Samsung, Adidas, Intel, IBM, and Coke, the book will teach you how to understand people holistically in their en Christian Madjsberg and Mikkel Rasmussen, principals at ReD Associates, argue for the role of a new set of tools to understand the “soft” factors that influence how people buy and consume ideas and products. Drawn from the authors’ work with companies like Lego, Samsung, Adidas, Intel, IBM, and Coke, the book will teach you how to understand people holistically in their environments—how they live, what they think and do all day, what their habits are, and how they understand the world. For brand fanatics and business leaders alike.

30 review for The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andy Murray

    An outstanding book for anyone in Marketing who is faced with an abundance of data but a poverty of insight. In Leo Tolstoy’s nonfiction magnum opus The Kingdom of God Is Within You, he writes: “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” If you are An outstanding book for anyone in Marketing who is faced with an abundance of data but a poverty of insight. In Leo Tolstoy’s nonfiction magnum opus The Kingdom of God Is Within You, he writes: “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” If you are not open to questioning even the most basic assumptions about your company and your customers, then you risk missing the new ideas that will be the future of your business.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rangi Robinson

    I enjoyed reading this and found the case studies interesting. The book looks at how big companies can become stuck in their habitual ways of running, ways which no longer work when the world changes. I liked the case studies about Adidas struggling to understand non-competitive "sports" such as yoga and Lego losing touch with the essence of "play". The authors outline a process called "Sensemaking", to help companies such as these solve their problems using human sciences. It would have been ni I enjoyed reading this and found the case studies interesting. The book looks at how big companies can become stuck in their habitual ways of running, ways which no longer work when the world changes. I liked the case studies about Adidas struggling to understand non-competitive "sports" such as yoga and Lego losing touch with the essence of "play". The authors outline a process called "Sensemaking", to help companies such as these solve their problems using human sciences. It would have been nice to have some more specifics about how the Sensemaking process solved the problems these companies faced. I would say this book is aimed at CEO's or people with a degree of influence in their companies, as not everyone can embark on 6-month ethnographic studies when they feel they might have lost touch with their market.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rodrigo Cornejo

    Finding business strategy books that are clear in their intentions is a rare ocurrence. While this book doesn't quite nail it, it aims to subvert the conventional wisdom that uses the scientific method as a basis for all business research, which is all too prevalent on most MBA's frame of reference: trial and error and experimentation that treats people as fixed variables and voilà. Too good to be true? You bet. The book makes that clear. While the authors don't go for it all the way, they make a Finding business strategy books that are clear in their intentions is a rare ocurrence. While this book doesn't quite nail it, it aims to subvert the conventional wisdom that uses the scientific method as a basis for all business research, which is all too prevalent on most MBA's frame of reference: trial and error and experimentation that treats people as fixed variables and voilà. Too good to be true? You bet. The book makes that clear. While the authors don't go for it all the way, they make a bit of a critique of the Homo oeconomicus, in service of building better products for the market. It is a strange but interesting way to go about making market players more effective in catering to the needs, desires and erratic behaviour that people exhibit when you treat them as consumers and only that. For the uninitiated, it provides some references to phenomenology which sound more like Husserl than Heidegger but refer to the latter nonetheless. This is the third time I've seen Heidegger quoted in service of business objectives. The first was in relation to gamification ethics and the other one in regards to his method of inquiry. This is an interesing paradox, given Heidegger's distrust of modernity and his rejection of machines. In sum, it's an allright book. It provokes and entices more than it explains, it has a couple of useful business cases (the rest are a bit bland) and it is a light read. As someone living under the stuffy influx of American culture, the Europeanness of the authors is refreshing. God bless the Danes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Alkire

    This book is for business people who either never took the humanities in school or who have forgotten about them. It’s an introduction in how business people can use the humanities to so non-obvious why questions which can’t be answered by data analysis. The structure is basic, first why businesses need to use human sciences. Then, it introduces the various methods of human sciences in such areas as psychology or sociology. Lastly, like any conventional business book, it applies all this to real This book is for business people who either never took the humanities in school or who have forgotten about them. It’s an introduction in how business people can use the humanities to so non-obvious why questions which can’t be answered by data analysis. The structure is basic, first why businesses need to use human sciences. Then, it introduces the various methods of human sciences in such areas as psychology or sociology. Lastly, like any conventional business book, it applies all this to real case studies. I found this a pretty basic introduction insofar as the human sciences went. There are better books on each science and method. As a non-business person, I found the book more enlightening on how business actually thinks and how business really considers creative problem solving and the like.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marcela

    Tried to disrupt how we think about doing traditional market and user research but left me a bit confused about what knowledge we could actually gain or if the point was making sense out of ambiguity. Love that they used Genevieve Bell as an example.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kumar

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Moment of Clarity proposes an exploratory technique for business problems centered around people with unknown unknowns. The technique called sense-making leverages methods from philosophy (phenomenology), anthropology (ethnography), and sociology. It starts out with reframing the problem with purposeful naïveté, collecting data through aforementioned techniques with a focus on experiences, looking for patterns, creating key insights and building business impact. A leader leveraging this approach Moment of Clarity proposes an exploratory technique for business problems centered around people with unknown unknowns. The technique called sense-making leverages methods from philosophy (phenomenology), anthropology (ethnography), and sociology. It starts out with reframing the problem with purposeful naïveté, collecting data through aforementioned techniques with a focus on experiences, looking for patterns, creating key insights and building business impact. A leader leveraging this approach will care, have a perspective and connect different worlds within the organization. Excellent cases on LEGO, Intel and Adidas are presented.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I found this book engrossing and a good introduction on how to approach extremely challenging, vague business problems. I particularly connected with the first few chapters, jotting down notes several times to aid my thinking. I would recommend this book to anyone working on or interested in business strategy - not only is it short, the content is invaluable.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Senholt

    Excellent introduction to the method of 'sensemaking', using a combination of classical management consultancy practices and the insights from classical humanities studies such as philosophy and ethnography. Gave me quite a few insights as to what my humanistic background can contribute sensibly with at a higher level of business management.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jan Tománek

    The idea of so called "sensemaking" is generally interesting, but the book is too repetitive and shallow (way too much PR stuff). If you're going to read it, just leaf through it and pick up the rare good bits here and there.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    A useful book for anyone, especially business leaders, who is interested in implementing qualitative research into their business. As a researcher, the first three chapters are a bit of a throw-away and quite sales-pitchy, but part 2 is quite useful. The case studies are all interesting reads and there are some useful take aways in the theory chapter and next steps chapters. You can definitely, however, tell this is written from an agency stand point and implementing research in-house is quite a A useful book for anyone, especially business leaders, who is interested in implementing qualitative research into their business. As a researcher, the first three chapters are a bit of a throw-away and quite sales-pitchy, but part 2 is quite useful. The case studies are all interesting reads and there are some useful take aways in the theory chapter and next steps chapters. You can definitely, however, tell this is written from an agency stand point and implementing research in-house is quite a different ball game. Nice read with a bit of useful information but nothing mind-blowing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paulo

    Um livro sobre sensemaking. O título NÃO corresponde ao conteúdo. NO original, ver-se-ia "The Moment of Clarity" ou o momento de clareza, ao invés de "A filosofia nos negócios". Um bom livro, mas não um calhamaço dedicado aos filósofos. São mais análises de cases, com citações esparsas de uma ou outra frase de um filósofo. Em suma, o autor prega o "Sensemaking" como a solução para os problemas, quando o seu negócio começa a não dar bons resultados. No fundo, trata-se de usar o bom senso e voltar-se Um livro sobre sensemaking. O título NÃO corresponde ao conteúdo. NO original, ver-se-ia "The Moment of Clarity" ou o momento de clareza, ao invés de "A filosofia nos negócios". Um bom livro, mas não um calhamaço dedicado aos filósofos. São mais análises de cases, com citações esparsas de uma ou outra frase de um filósofo. Em suma, o autor prega o "Sensemaking" como a solução para os problemas, quando o seu negócio começa a não dar bons resultados. No fundo, trata-se de usar o bom senso e voltar-se para as necessidades dos clientes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Castelao

    Really objective, clear view of one of the most obvious leadership behavior so scarce today that is sensemaking. People wait for answers to come ready, without criticizing or asking if the simple data process make sense or not. Really great reading for revisiting the common sense.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan Micu

    A real eye-opener on how insights are generated. His choice and narration of the stories is much stronger than his theorizing. Absolutely LOVED the depiction and critique of the "creativity religion" ☺

  14. 5 out of 5

    Avik Saha

    The authors talk about the importance of human sciences in addition to hard sciences when businesses forget about it's core value propositions

  15. 4 out of 5

    Navid Baharlooie

    If you don't know how human sciences operate in the world of business and organizations, I suggest starting with The Moment of Clarity. Books like this are important to argue for a more interdisciplinary approach and broaden our understanding of the value of this in problem-solving. The book deals with the qualitative sciences in contrast to the quantitative, and why in particular ethnography can be a very useful approach to researching and understanding the experiences and needs of customers. It If you don't know how human sciences operate in the world of business and organizations, I suggest starting with The Moment of Clarity. Books like this are important to argue for a more interdisciplinary approach and broaden our understanding of the value of this in problem-solving. The book deals with the qualitative sciences in contrast to the quantitative, and why in particular ethnography can be a very useful approach to researching and understanding the experiences and needs of customers. It's probably a better book if you're not trained in human sciences, but if you are, it still gives you a bit perspective and possibly a language to explain what you do. But I wasn't too happy about the depth—I had hoped for more.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sokunna

    A must read for market researchers and strategists.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luis Adrian

    Muy interesante el punto de vista que plantea

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Cook

    If you're looking for a how-to guide showing you how to enact the human-centered qualitative research that Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen have become known for, The Moment of Clarity will not meet your expectations. If you are instead seeking to undersatnd what Madsbjerg and Rasmussen mean when they talk about sensemaking and thick description, you're more likely to be satisfied with this book. Madsbjerg and Rasmussen do their best at offering a few philosophical guidelines around which If you're looking for a how-to guide showing you how to enact the human-centered qualitative research that Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen have become known for, The Moment of Clarity will not meet your expectations. If you are instead seeking to undersatnd what Madsbjerg and Rasmussen mean when they talk about sensemaking and thick description, you're more likely to be satisfied with this book. Madsbjerg and Rasmussen do their best at offering a few philosophical guidelines around which deep qualitative market research can be constructed. The examples in the book are not as compelling or useful. The authors haven't found a clear way to communicate about their ideas and their methods, and often distance themselves from the attempt to establish such clarity - ironic, given the book's title. That they urge their readers to avoid reducing deep qualitative analysis to a few simple rules, speaks well of their preservation of sincerity and subtle understanding in a commercial culture that demands quick and simple ideas. Their struggles to bring coherence to the practice of applied qualitative inquiry beyond the superficialities of focus groups are in large part due to the lack of a strong literature on the subject outside of academia. They are to be thanked for beginning the larger effort to bring this challenging subject to the attention of a corporate audience.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heath Henwood

    The Moment of Clarity is about understanding people, whether customers, employees or anyone around us. As such is mixes practical advice with theory about society, particularly business around us. The book has two parts - 'Getting people wrong' and 'Getting people right'. As one can guess the first part is about what businesses and managers are doing wrong, while the second part gives us the concept of sensemaking. That is using a mix of participant observation, qualitative data gathering and hol The Moment of Clarity is about understanding people, whether customers, employees or anyone around us. As such is mixes practical advice with theory about society, particularly business around us. The book has two parts - 'Getting people wrong' and 'Getting people right'. As one can guess the first part is about what businesses and managers are doing wrong, while the second part gives us the concept of sensemaking. That is using a mix of participant observation, qualitative data gathering and holistic analysis to arrive at new insights about what really matters to customers. The underlying theme of the book is about getting a true understanding of your customers that comes from understanding human behaviour. Not the easiest of reads, and there are better books on the topic in the marketplace. http://books-reviewed.weebly.com/lead...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jysoo

    The authors explains new ways of setting up strategical direction in organizations by focusing on human aspect. Although I find the topic interesting, the focus of the book need significant improvements. General introduction to the issue probably need a chapter or so, and I feel that the author should give more details on the case studies and/or practical issues on implementation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This book was almost too short. The authors do an excellent job of going beyond the small views that companies take in understanding their users. Our reliance on data and analytics has pulled us away from truly understanding the consumers and customers using our products and services. I'd like to learn more about the methods for pattern clarification they used in the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    658.834 M1836 2014

  23. 5 out of 5

    aljouharah altheeyb

    كشخص خلفيته عن إدارة الأعمال صفر، وجدت أن أسلوب الكتاب والتفصيل فيه مفيد جداً وممتع وفتح آفاق عن المشاريع والأعمال لم أفكر بها من قبل.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rick Yvanovich

    I liked the concept of the book and the points it made but was waiting all the way through for the boom moment of clarity ... it was sort of there but not much of a boom.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julia Lo

  26. 5 out of 5

    Helle

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ieva

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rob Lambeth

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christine Tindahl

  30. 4 out of 5

    Prashant Kakade

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