The Moment Of Clarity

The Moment Of Clarity Book CoverDecisions based on data models are woefully incomplete – no matter how carefully we collect and analyze the data.  What’s missing from the decision is our customers’ experiences. And the authors of this book (Christian Madsbjerg / Mikkel Rasmussen) claim that human sciences has the answer through the study of phenomena.

Data models excel at solving problems that we’ve seen before and have a tested system to address them. But what about those problems that we’ve not seen before and don’t really have a clue how to tackle? The wrong decision can bankrupt your business because of these blind assumptions:

  1. People are rational and fully informed.
  2. Tomorrow will look like today.
  3. Hypotheses are objective and unbiased.
  4. Numbers are the only truth.
  5. Language needs to be dehumanizing.

In 2000, LEGO was the 5th largest toymaker in the world. By 2004, it was losing $1,000,000/day! It achieved clarity on its tough problems, using sensemaking:

  1. Frame the problem as a phenomenon (instead of “what toys do kids want”, LEGO asked “what is the role of play?”)
  2. Collect the data (instead of analyzing sales,  LEGO watched the family experience)
  3. Look for patterns (instead of depending upon assumptions, LEGO pored over the data to identify common childhood patterns)
  4. Create the key insights (LEGO built on the patterns to create appropriate new products)
  5. Build the business impact (LEGO rejects products that aren’t a match for company’s aesthetics and ethics)

In your business strategy, make sure you balance the quantitative with the qualitative. Numbers without appropriate context won’t serve you long-term, especially in disruptive times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.