Christian Madsbjerg

Contributed Articles

Doing Design Research in a Cognitive World

EPIC2017 Platinum Panel Moderated by: CHRIS HAMMOND (IBM) Panelists: MARK BURRELL (IBM), MELISSA CEFKIN (Nissan Research Center), CHRISTIAN MADSBJERG (ReD Associates) & DAWN NAFUS (Intel) Overview Increasingly, experiences are being created that incorporate augmented intelligence, promising to make us smarter, more efficient, and more effective. Doctors can recommend more comprehensive personalized treatment plans, teachers can provide lesson plans tailored to individual students, and farmers can vary crop irrigation and fertilization cycles in response to predicted weather patterns. Human capabilities (some might say intelligence) are being augmented, aided by machine learning algorithms that interpret and find meaning in vast quantities of both structured and unstructured data. This panel addresses challenges of doing design research in a cognitive world where predictive analytics, conversational interfaces, and augmented intelligence are core aspects of the technology solutions being designed. What skills...

Have We Lost Our Minds?

by CHRISTIAN MADSBJERG, ReD Associates Since the mid-nineties, the story about IT has been that the “New Information Economy” would give way to vast gains in productivity. We’ve been told that if we simply implement ERP, CRM, and God knows what other kinds of systems, our companies, public services, cities, and infrastructure would be smarter and more efficient. That we humans would be supercharged by technology and become vastly more productive as a result. After 20+ years, one would think there would be indications of this productivity boost at all levels of society, beyond just the valuations of the companies selling us the message. Yet that is not the case. Let’s look at education. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which tracked the relationship between math performance and access to information and communication technology in schools from 2001 to 2012, there is actually an inverse relationship between how well our kids learn math and how many computers we put in our classrooms....

Happy Birthday, Now Grow Up…

CHRISTIAN MADSBJERG ReD Associates EPIC has been my spiritual home for ten years. So, rather than present the speech I’ve been giving on a book tour this year or talk about a new book I’m writing on cultural knowledge, I want to report back to headquarters on what I’ve seen this past year talking to corporate executives and marketing heads of the largest corporations in the world. What I have seen is that these companies are ready for our practice and expertise. They are finally ready for our type of thinking. The skeptical conversations about our methodology are over. We won. It is now completely reasonable and desirable to do our kind of work, which I don’t think was the case in EPIC’s early days, some 10 years ago.Before I delve into what lies ahead for our practice, I want to tell a short story about the insurance of wheat. During a workshop with a reinsurance firm in Switzerland the CEO pragmatically stated what big corporations need right now. He said, “We don’t have any ideas anymore. We have cash. We have...

A Case for Ethnography in the Study of Corporate Competencies

CHRISTIAN MADSBJERG, MIKKEL KRENCHEL, MORGAN RAMSEY-ELLIOT and GITTE HESSELHOLT In business thinking, ‘core competencies’ have long been seen as the critical factor that distinguishes great from good. Great companies have strong core competencies that they constantly leverage and develop. On the other hand, companies who do not understand their own strengths and weaknesses cannot execute at the highest proficiency. Their growth initiatives fail, not because they lack commercial potential, but because they fail to apply the same due diligence to their competencies they so naturally apply to their finances. Understanding competencies entails understanding culture, and few companies know how to approach this topic beyond the gut feel analyses of executives or the rare employee survey. In this paper, we use a large-scale study for the medico company Coloplast as a case for how to use ethnography to rigorously study competencies and leverage growth. We show how understanding the effects of culture and competence on market performance...

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