Author(s): Christian Madsbjerg
We live in the age of algorithms and big data. But what happens when number crunching fails to solve a company's problems? Christian Madsbjerg argues that many of today's biggest success stories stem not from "quant" thinking, but rather from a company's deep, nuanced engagement with the culture, language, and history of its customers. Madsbjerg calls this technique "sensemaking," and through captivating stories, he illustrates how business leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals can use human science tools to innovate and find solutions to their thorniest problems. In a time when liberal arts graduates fear for their prospects in a data-obsessed economy, SENSEMAKING is a welcome, transformative vision for business and success in the twenty-first century.
At Ford, we believe the key to creating products and experiences that truly make people's lives better is to deeply understand our customers. Technology alone isn't enough. So we've changed our product development process to focus on the customer experience - and not just the vehicle itself. In Sensemaking, Christian Madsbjerg explains with depth and structure how this is done. -- Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company This book makes powerful sense. Madsbjerg is a fascinating fellow, philosophically astute and immensely business savvy. Packed with a rich array of concrete examples and thick data, Madsbjerg shows how the problems of the coming century are cultural and how we require the tools of the humanities - especially philosophy - in order to confront them successfully. This is essential reading for anyone in the world of business and everyone with a concern for how human being make sense of their world. Highly recommended. -- Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy, The New School Having helped some of the world's largest companies transition for the digital age, it's clear to me that those best positioned to win in today's marketplace possess a deep and human understanding of their customers. Companies must master not just big data, but thick data - insight into culture, history, and the social structures underlying human behaviour. Sensemaking is the road map for how this works, and it is essential reading for anyone looking to thrive in a world of digital disruption. -- Francisco D'Souza, CEO, Cognizant Almost twenty years ago, I wrote, 'To be qualified to be a chief executive officer, you must be broad-gauged, widely read, and have many diverse interests.' This remains just as true in today's world, where companies have become enthralled with quantitative analysis. Christian Madsbjerg's Sensemaking is a powerful defense of human intelligence to solve problems. Anyone who dreams of leading a company should read it - and heed his wonderfully contrarian advice. -- Jeffrey Fox, bestselling author of How to Become CEO and How to Become a Rainmaker Many have decried the widespread conclusion that the humanities have lost relevance, but few have proposed how to respond. Offering neither a rearguard defense of the humanities as we have known them, nor an unrealistic plea to other fields simply to take them seriously, Christian Madsbjerg offers a ringing endorsement of how humanities knowledge is still critically necessary to make sense of the world and its problems. With roots in Aristotle, Sensemaking calls on humanist to reinterpret their contribution while showing others how they cannot do without it. It is a book of the first importance. -- Samuel Moyn, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History and Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law and Professor of History, Harvard University
Christian Madsbjerg is a founder of ReD Associates, a strategy consulting company based in the human sciences and employing anthropologists, sociologists, art historians, and philosophers. Madsbjerg studied philosophy and political science in Copenhagen and London. He lives in New York City.