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.

“The human sciences address the reality of people’s lives at their most complex and, quite frankly most interesting. Once you start truly understanding people’s behaviour, you will begin to see your business landscape with new clarity.”

This new methodology, a fundamentally different way to think about strategy, is already taking off inFortune 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?


Wall Street Journal: The Power of ‘Thick’ Data
Successful companies work to understand the emotional, even visceral context in which people encounter their product or service–they are able to use what’s called Thick Data.
Fox Business – Opening Bell w Maria Bartoromo: Using science to understand the consumer
Red Associates co-founder Christian Madsbjerg on using the human sciences to solve business problems.

Quartz: rebuild excerpt of chapter from the moment of clarity

LEGO turned itself around by analyzing overbearing parents

Somehow, the company honored with the Best Toy of the Century award twice had completely lost touch with its core consumers. How did it happen? And how did LEGO come out of the fog and solve its own mystery?

“The great thing about Red is that they’re supersmart,” says Mike Milley, the director of Samsung’s lifestyle research lab. “They are an unparalleled deliverer of that well-framed idea that’s going to help tell the story of what we need to do.”

“I’ve seen Red in meetings with hard-core board members who’ve dealt w the Big Three consul firms their whole lives who are just blown away .”

Christian Madsbjerg and mikkel B. Rasmussen talk about their book on Smart people.
“How many of your business issues involve people and their behavior? Likely, most of them do. This is an invaluable book for all managers and leaders to better understand “people holistically in their environments” and better handle the innate variability of the challenges that arise there. As the authors make clear, data is useful for system productivity, but we need a manual for human change. This is it.”

Most people in business associate the human sciences—anthropology, sociology, political science, and philosophy—with academia, and for good reason. The work of scholars in these fields is notoriously difficult to understand, and the insights they offer often seem to have little practical relevance in business.

But that is changing rapidly. An emerging method is dramatically shaping how businesses can apply the human sciences. This new approach is finding its way into the labs of technology companies such as Intel, IBM, and Samsung; the marketing departments of large consumer-product companies such as Adidas, Lego, and Procter & Gamble; global health care companies such as Novo Nordisk and Pfizer; and the thinking and writing of business leaders and new breeds of consultancy that, like our own, merge hard and soft sciences.

Data informed podcast : How How the Social Sciences Can Help Data Scientists Understand Customers Superbowl, Seinfeld and the importance of knowing your customer

The Financial Times: Close observers of consumers

The Economist: The Adidas method

Washington post: We need more humanities majors

The Atlantic: Anthropology inc.



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Advance praise

Jørgen 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.”

Reviews on Amazon

"Madsbjerg and Rasmussen do a remarkable job laying the grounds for their thesis, drawing from their own experience as businesspeople in the past decade and their efforts to champion a somehow controversial perspective."

"This book also challenges entrepreneurs and corporate execs to push for deeper meaning to better understand consumer preferences."

"For Coloplast in particular, it was fascinating to read how studying their customers led them to uncover a seemingly simple - but hitherto overlooked - pain point that became a game changer for them."

" far the best book I have come across on how to use the humanities in a business context."


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