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The Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success
Ori Brafman and Judah Pollack

Retail Price: $24.00
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Format: Hardcover, 240pp.
ISBN: 9780307886675
Publisher: Crown Business
Pub. Date: August 13, 2013

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

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.


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.
—Publishers Weekly

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About the Authors

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Bottom Lineix
1Harnessing Chaos1
2Contained Chaos31
3Einstein's Brain45
4The Neurobiology of Insight84
5Surfing Naked120
6Accelerating Serendipity147
7Putting it all Together172
8The Five Rules of Chaos193

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