The Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success

The Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success

by Ori Brafman, Judah Pollack
     
 

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In the bestselling tradition of Switch and Made to Stick, Ori Brafman reveals how organizations can drive growth and profits by allowing contained chaos and disruption the space to flourish, generating new ideas that trigger innovation.

In The Chaos Imperative, organizational expert and bestselling author Ori Brafman (Sway, The

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Overview

In the bestselling tradition of Switch and Made to Stick, Ori Brafman reveals how organizations can drive growth and profits by allowing contained chaos and disruption the space to flourish, generating new ideas that trigger innovation.

In The Chaos Imperative, organizational expert and bestselling author Ori Brafman (Sway, The Starfish and the Spider) shows how even the best and most efficient organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to today's US Army, benefit from allowing a little unstructured space and disruption into their planning and decision-making.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this surprising tome, organizational expert Brafman (Sway), who has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Army, argues that contrary to conventional wisdom, chaos is essential for generating new ideas. While noting that organizational structure and discipline have their place, the best ideas, he posits, come from what he calls “white space”—short, unstructured moments that allow the brain to ruminate without performance pressure. Using examples such as Albert Einstein—who is said to have derived many of his best ideas in coffeehouses and on hikes—and the Army, arguably the least likely group to accept anything unstructured, the author offers five rules of chaos. The rules are based on a training program Brafman developed with the Army over the past two years: avoid the seductive lure of data, because not everything can be determined by metrics; put a loose structure around the chaotic; make white space productive; embrace “unusual suspects,” those outside the inner circle, who approach the issues from a fresh perspective; and organize serendipity (set the stage for spontaneous interactions of different groups). This useful and practical book will be welcomed by managers looking for new ways to innovate. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
Pop psych meets pop business in Brafman's (co-author: Click: The Forces Behind How We Fully Engage with People, Work, and Everything We Do, 2011, etc.) latest outing in the land of counterintuition, written with the assistance of leadership expert Pollack. Business types live and breathe for data, analysis and endless planning. Yet, as Joseph Schumpeter observed, there's something irresistibly compelling about cleaning house, resetting priorities and otherwise changing course by means of what he called "creative destruction." Brafman doesn't quite counsel burning down the house, but he isn't shy of introducing a little bubonic plague into the equation, either. Drawing on the results of a three-year consultancy with Martin Dempsey, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Brafman urges that we consider the bright side of chaos and calamity: The Black Death may have brought about all manner of death and destruction, but "it was actually instrumental in bringing about Europe's ascent to greatness." Post–James Gleick, the word "chaos" has been applied and misapplied in all sorts of half-baked, Gladwell-ian ways, and Brafman plays it a little loose at times. Nonetheless, this book has value in encouraging a rethinking of how things get done, particularly in heavily institutionalized cultures. For instance, in the military, there's a manual for everything, including one on the proper way to change a tire on a tuck. But why read a manual when a YouTube video would do? Such useful ideas come from what the author calls "casual downtime," the thinking time that institutions too often don't budget for. And what situation wouldn't benefit from more thinking about it, as long as it's not perfectly unbroken? For some readers, there won't be much news here, but for others--particularly those down the chain from Dempsey--there's much good food for thought in Brafman's sometimes-brash assertions.
Booklist
“Thought-provoking insights. . . . A must read.”
Booklist [HC starred review]

From the Publisher
“Thought-provoking insights. . . . A must read.”
Booklist [HC starred review]

“Narrator Drew Birdseye’s lively phrasing and appealing vocal personality help listeners stay engaged.”
AudioFile

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307886675
Publisher:
Crown Religion/Business/Forum
Publication date:
08/13/2013
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,479,087
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.90(d)

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