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The Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success [Anglais] [Relié]

Ori Brafman , Judah Pollack

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Description de l'ouvrage

13 août 2013
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.

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Revue de presse

“This useful and practical book will be welcomed by managers looking for new ways to innovate.” -Publishers Weekly

Biographie de l'auteur

ORI BRAFMAN has an MBA in organizational studies from Stanford Business School and consults with and speaks to Fortune 500 companies on organization, disruption, and innovation. Brafman is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Sway, as well as the bestselling and critically acclaimed book The Starfish and the Spider. For the past two years, he has worked closely with the US Army on a training program that introduces chaos theory into the Army's decision-making.

JUDAH POLLACK is a regular speaker at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, as well TEDx conferences around the country. An expert in the field of leadership, Pollack has worked with Google, SAP, and Oracle, as well as with the Special Forces and the Army's senior leadership. Most recently he developed a program to help returning soldiers reintegrate into non-combat military life from the experience of war.

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index
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22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A lotta, lotta white space 16 août 2013
Par Aaron C. Brown - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
This book describes a three-year consulting project one of the authors did for the US Army, interspersed with a wide variety of stories illustrating the virtues of contained chaos. The writing is smooth and clear, the book is a quick read. However, the reader is not left with much at the end.

The prerequisite for contained chaos is "white space." This is never defined in the book and has different meanings in different stories. In the Black Plague, it refers to the death of a quarter of the European population, which cleared out competition so some "unusual suspects" (in the authors' phrase) could thrive. That's a reasonable concept. But in the worldwide dispersion of coconut palms, the white space is the empty ocean that provides a barrier to competition rather than a place for coconuts to grow.

Okay, so you think white space is anything that reduces competition. But in the story of Kary Mullis, the white space is an advisor who shields him not from competition, but from being forced into conventional paths or dismissed from the school. For Fletcher Henderson, it is the racism that denied him a career as a chemist and forced him into music. That was no protection, no emptiness, no removal of competition. White space also refers to what your brain does when you're not concentrating on something, the lack of preconception that outsiders bring to a problem, what you start with if you ignore conventional assumptions, government money (I think because it removes the pressure to fund yourself), and any lack of regimentation or any freedom. Tellingly, white space is also refusal to subject your methods to objective validation, something that proves very handy for one of the authors when the Army tries to determine the effectiveness of his consulting project.

My best guess at a definition is white space is any negative force or removed constraint or emptiness that helps someone or something succeed in an unconventional way. Nassim Taleb calls this via negativa, "So knowledge grows by subtraction much more than by addition--given that what we know today might turn out to be wrong but what we know to be wrong cannot turn out to be right, at least not easily." While I think there is a lot of insight in this view, you won't get it from this book. The definitions are so imprecise that any story can be fit into the mold, meaning that the stories add nothing to the argument.

Separately, the stories are not very accurate on their own. The asteroid impact at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary did not increase biodiversity, as the authors claim, but reduced it dramatically. The story that the bubonic plague caused nobles to leave their wealth to universities instead of the church, resulting in university-trained priests overthrowing medieval dogmatism and sparking 150 years of philosophical and technological progress in Europe is silly (the plague certainly changed a lot of things, some of which were important precursors to the Renaissance, but this particular vector is wrong, and no one has any idea how history would have been written without the plague). Kary Mullis is an unconventional character, but his PCR work was done in a conventional way, and cannot be credibly linked to academic protection offered 15 years earlier. Anyway, it's not so much that the stories are factually incorrect, it's that they're much too shallow to be useful illustrating the white space concept. The one thread that runs through the book, the Army consulting project, is just random bits and pieces, it never goes anywhere.

The advice in the last chapter is the opposite of what I expected. Only the first rule is subtractive, avoid data and measurements. Even this one is not chaotic in principle, data and measurement have often overturned conventional wisdom, without them it's hard to see how you get people to change anything. Also, I'm skeptical of people who recommend this, in my experience it means data and measurement don't favor their ideas.

The other four rules are all addition, no subtraction, and it is all containment to limit chaos. Rule 2 is "Remember it's called organized chaos." It consists of admonitions to make sure there's plenty of organization and constraints, so small amounts of chaos can spark their magic. As far as I'm concerned, that is to chaos what breeding is to evolution, the attempt to direct a process that depends essentially on randomness.

Rule 3 urges us to make our white space productive, which means it's no longer white space. Rule 4 is another positive admonition, embrace unusual suspects. That may sound as if it adds to chaos, but the details tell you to avoid the really unusual people and find a comfortable mildly eccentric suspect close to home. Rule 5, organize serendipity, is like rule 3 in that it destroys what it purports to seek.

There are a lot of words in this 224-page book, but if you boiled it down to the clear and useful information, it would consist almost entirely of white space.
7 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 How to Create Room for Creativity and Innovation 16 juillet 2013
Par bronx book nerd - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
This is yet another book that claims to have found the way to create room for creativity and innovation. Three things need to be done: create white space, or, set aside time to allow for creative thinking. This white space can be simply detaching from the current problem and doing something else. This has been suggested before by other writers. What seems to be new in this book is its presentation of neuroscience as evidence that our brains are doing a lot when we daydream or do "mindless" tasks. This is the most fascinating content of the book because it confirms that our minds are always at work, even, and maybe especially, when we are "vegging out". Second, you need to recruit "unusual suspects" or people who have a different point of view. This is also something that is common in the creativity literature. Personally I am tired of the Kary Mullis example. He is the scientist who came up with a technique for copying strands of DNA and advanced DNA processes by leaps and bounds. However, reinforcement of this story gives the impression that you have to be some kind of far out personality to come up with great ideas and that is just simply not so. Additionally, the author's example of the work he has done with the Army is actually not very impressive. I did not see any real breakthroughs that were shared other than perhaps some personal insights from army officers partaking in his exercises. The third thing to do is to provide for "organized serendipity" or in other words processes or environments that encourage and promote the free exchange of ideas. All of these are well and good but frankly most of the author's example have been around for years. My concern is also that for these types of theories, it is not that hard to go back in time and fit events and history into your model. Others have posited different phenomena for great advances, like the intersection of different cultures, for example. I am not sure that the author's case is fully convincing to account for large historical changes, although it may work for some of the individual breakthroughs and insights cited. Perhaps the biggest value of the book, however, is that the writing fills one with hope that breakthrough change and ideas are truly possible given the right combination of circumstances and people, and these are things that can be consciously created.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 some OK ideas but not enough "meat" 3 octobre 2013
Par sparky_magic_rainbow - Publié sur
I'm an aspiring screenwriter with a day job in another field
who was hoping to pick up some practical advice to boost my
creativity+productivity. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about
Einstein's laid-back approach but a lot of the other examples
were just ho hum. The gist of this book is -- you should take
frequent breaks to increase performance. This is worth a quick
read on the train but it wont improve your life.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Anecdotes and vague ideas 17 octobre 2013
Par Rawim - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Working in the public sector I try to read as many books on leadership as I can get my hands on. I have always figured when it came to motivating your average government employee, you need as much help as you can get. So naturally I was intrigued by the concept of "The Chaos Imperative", especially with a subtitle of "How change and disruption increase innovation, effectiveness and success." Since most of the time I have been in government, I have found that what was supposed to be organized and orderly was actually a giant mess, I thought "Hey maybe we are already doing this chaos imperative thing already and we just don't know it?" No such luck.

The main thrust of the book is the author's work concluding with the U.S. Army on the topic of leadership. This is then interspersed with anecdotes of similar occurrences from all sort of other fields and place.

So what does the author tell us to look for, "White Space" now if this were a dissertation I would have to deduct points because there is no real definition or theory of what white space is and how to use it. Maybe that is the chaos inherent in the book, and we have to figure it out?

From what I could gather, "white space" is allowing room for a sort of semi-controlled chaos; a place where the unusual and unlikely can be allowed to exist and experiment without standard repercussions and measurements of success. There are several different stories that refer to some form of this "White Space" but it at felt like they were just interesting stories of unusual success being brought together.

You know, now that I think of it, this book kind of reminds me of a Malcolm Gladwell book, but without a strong central theme, nor quite as interesting to read.

So yeah, I think that sums it up. A book about leadership written in a Gladwell-esque style. That would be my best description. I personally did not get much out of this book. But maybe I was interpreting it wrong, could be. For a long time I just thought Green Eggs & Ham was about eating breakfast.

If you have any questions about the book feel free to leave a comment below and I will be happy to try and answer.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Delicious Story Telling for Organizational Behavioralists 1 octobre 2013
Par William Dahl - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Ori Brafman and Judah Pollack are tremendous story tellers. They have the ability to weave rather complex concepts into practical story lines that the reader can digest with ease. Brafman and Pollack are "inductive communicators." They use stories as varied as the plague referred to as "The Black Death" that arrived in Europe in 1348 to a consulting engagement with the U.S. Armed Forces (General Martin Dempsey - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) as the vehicles to illustrate their thesis.

The bottom line of this book is:

"Organizations can become too structured. They can eliminate all the white space (where innovative, constructive, novel ideas emanate from). Unusual suspects are given no voice, and new ideas are stifled. The overhanging canopy of an organization's structure can block out too much sunlight to allow new ideas to grow." pp.28-29. AKA - "The Tyranny of structure."

There are some fantastic quotes in this book like this one: "Information does not change behavior. If it did, none of us would smoke and we'd all floss." (p.40).

"Doing the same thing day after day doesn't help us sustain or build new neural pathways. Participating in activities that force us to improvise and think does." (p.73).

"I have become convinced that we need white space in order to avoid becoming so task-focused that we lose our creativity." (p.83).

"As we've seen time and again, serendipity depends on the flow of ideas and the intermingling of unlikely people. Organizational silos are the enemy of serendipity: it's hard to find serendipity in a cubicle." (p. 164).

"You don't get much wisdom from your crowd if everyone in your crowd is the same." (p.188).

Once again, another genuine contribution to the organizational behavioral literature. Ori Brafman has an MBA from Stanford Business School and the author of one of my favorites, SWAY. Judah Pollack is an expert in the leadership arena. She speaks routinely at TED conferences and UC Berkeley's HAAS School of Business.

A wonderfully edible book. You'll enjoy it.
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