“Describes how to incorporate uncertainty into business strategy. It’s a brilliant book.”
Ian Stanton. Client Services Director, MMT Digital
“I actually started thinking about this more deeply.“
Chris Morley. President, Nielsen US
“Fascinating, stimulating reading. Very well written. Forces you to think.”
Peter Whitehead. VP Strategic Cooperations, BP
“Comfort in mystery is core to creativity, this book shows why this is important to all of us and how to achieve it.”
David Osborne. VP Product, Behavior Interactive
Read Forget the Answer to learn about Negative Capability. Negative Capability is a skillset and mindset that makes the ability to thrive in uncertain environments a competitive advantage. Forget the Answer gives clear pointers and simple, practical tips for how to build Negative Capability for you, your team and your whole organisation.
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Here be dragons
Business has long been about having answers to simple questions: How can I make that for less cost? Who would want to buy this? What’s that worth? Understanding how to answer a relatively small set of questions better, quicker, has always been enough to create lots of value, to make lots of money. The information age has allowed us to answer these questions in more ways faster than ever before. Modern businesses increasingly recognise that the biggest untapped source of value is understanding and thriving in the vast space between and around this relatively short list of knowable ‘answers’. As the world becomes more complex, managers can no longer just interrogate data and extrapolate to an unambiguous optimum, they must sense what is going on in uncharted territories where the dragons of disruption, disintermediation and digitisation dwell. This was once terrain restricted to the maverick explorers who relied on ephemeral qualities like intuition to create intangible assets like insight, innovation and allure.This book begins the work of distilling the skillset and mindset to thrive in the space between the ‘answers’ and gives it a name: Negative Capability. Of course the first thing Negative Capability asks you to do is this…Forget the Answer.
About the author Alastair Barber
Over the last 25 years I’ve been advising, working with and observing some of the world’s biggest organisations and best known brands helping them to address this issue of ‘the answer’ in the age of Disruptive Innovation. Sometimes this work has come under the banners of Strategic Positioning, Brand, Purpose, Organisational Development, Change Management, Creative Leadership or Culture Change. Sometimes it’s been wrapped up in specific ‘innovation’ initiatives: Jams, Hacks, Co-creation, Workshops. And other times it’s been part of Process, Safety or Quality Improvement. The more I do, the more I learn that the less there is I need to do to get the biggest result, the most heartfelt buy in, the most sensational output. This ‘less’ isn’t nothing; it takes thought, work and determination because what I’m helping organisations – people – struggle with is a deeply ingrained habit, an addiction to the quick ‘answer’ in the face of uncertainty. The good news is that what has emerged is an identifiable capability – of organisations, of people. This capability can be nurtured, enhanced and taught. It is applicable to any situation and endures if practiced consciously. So if you want to survive and thrive in the era of uncertainty, join me in the quest to understand Negative Capability.