Sense making in business

Edited by Christian Madsbjerg

In today’s complex and rapidly-changing environment, companies are recognizing the need to reach deeper levels of understanding of their customers. Yet the methods of typical management science (skew charts, P&L reports, customer surveys) are only effective at quantifying and cataloging what’s already happening. To analyze where things are heading—and to make sense of mysteries too intractable for a spreadsheet to solve—more exploratory methods and approaches are required.

Drugs are no longer the only king of pharma

Pharmaceutical companies should begin to take a closer look at how they create the most value for their stakeholders. In the emerging world of value-based healthcare, the answer will increasingly go beyond a new drug providing an opportunity for early movers.

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Now that obesity is a disease, how will we treat it?

Although a concern for healthcare systems for several decades, 2013 was a watershed year for obesity. Its recognition as a disease by the American Medical Association provides an opportunity to move beyond dead-end debates around personal responsibility and create renewed focus on what healthcare systems can do to treat this burgeoning epidemic. In this article we explore the implications and opportunities that this reclassification presents.

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The Practice of Sense Making

1. When should I turn to human sciences 2. Five signs that you are in a fog 3. The four horizons of…

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Disease is not just physical

Building on ReD's ethnographic study of the condition, the results of a global quantitative investigation of nearly 2,000 psoriasis sufferers was recently published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology1. The study's main finding confirmed ReD's: "the experience of the disease is as much a psychological, social, and emotional experience as a physical one"

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The Creativity Myth

The myth of the lone genius and his aha moment has recently spawned a younger cousin that has become immensely popular in the worlds of business and consulting – the idea that we can all unleash our inner creative genius under the right circumstances.

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The Heidegger Sessions with Taylor Carman

These podcasts are the result of a series of internal sessions on the works of Martin Heidegger led by Taylor Carman Professor of Philosophy at Barnard College and Columbia University. They are at the core to the practice of ReD Associates and can be used by anyone interested in Martin Heidegger's philosophy and how to apply it to the world of business. Enjoy.

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Function and change in China: Reviving Mauss’ “total social fact” to gain knowledge of changing markets

This paper attempts to revive Mauss’ concept of the total social fact as a method to establish understanding of new markets. Our case study of alcohol in China illuminates the spirit baijiu’s connections to the total social facts of guanxi and hierarchy. We outline a methodology based on using total social facts as a heuristic device, removed from the problematic assumptions of classical functionalism.

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Why brain scanning doesn’t work for consumer research

The sterile fMRI scanner, for anybody who has ever been in one, is a far cry from the social and physical richness of the real world consumers spend most of their time inhabiting.

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The anti-anatomy of a tearjerker

What Adele’s songs teach us about human emotion, and why we have to dig deeper into both subjective experience and cultural context to achieve a complete picture of complex human phenomena.

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A Case for Ethnography in the Study of Corporate Competencies

In this paper, we use a large-scale study for the medico company Coloplast as a case for how to use ethnography to rigorously study competencies and leverage growth.

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