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

Ori Brafman, Author, Judah Pollack, Author
Ori Brafman, with Judah Pollack. Crown Business, $24 (168p) ISBN 978-0-307-88667-5
Compact Disc - 270 pages - 978-1-62231-248-1
Open Ebook - 107 pages - 978-0-307-88669-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-76345-6
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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.)
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