The premise of this book is about the imbalance in the world of business between STEM-based knowledge and the humanities. So much of what is considered to be true or valuable lives in data, numbers and science. On the other hand, psychology, sociology and anthropology —or any study of the human being— are being left out, to society's disadvantage. Christian Madsbjerg makes a solid case for bringing back the humanities into the corporate decision-making process.
With his idea of thick data VS thin data, the author makes a point that data is only valuable if embedded its in original context.
When corporations are generating ideas or problem-solving, the author suggests to reframe the issue at hand into a phenomenon using phenomenology. He phrases it as escaping the zoo (where individual data points are scientifically correct) and empathically observing the savannah (where the context surrounding the data reveals the truth).
The practice of sensemaking is about pattern recognition. Pattern recognition is invaluable to extract any relevant insight. And to achieve that, the only way is to extensively read and consume culture and theories from all parts of history and from a variety of topics.
The goal of the practice is to reach a moment of grace, the "click" when everything about an idea locks in together. Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of Danish architecture firm BIG, in his discussions with Madsbjerg, states it as follows:
“With a click, the left and right get equally satisfied, there are so many crossovers that it crystallizes into something that makes sense.”
—Bjarke Ingels (BIG) on his creative process
That's when you know your solution can effectively solve the problem and endure in the long-term.
And I love how Madsbjerg wraps it up:
“The humanities aren’t a luxury; they’re your competitive advantage.”
If you’re curious to read more, consider borrowing this book from your local library or buying it from a local bookstore. Here are some suggestions: