EXPLOITING CHAOS: An Interview With Author Jeremy Gutsche
The great thing about reviewing books on the Post2Post Book Tour is that you get to meet some very interesting people as well as get a chance to delve into some juicy topics. (If you are not familiar with the tour, it was started by the brilliant Paul Williams over at Idea Sandbox). This month’s topic is about trends and innovation.
What? Does the world need another book on innovation?
I’ll let you, the reader, decide that. In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to Jeremy Gutsche. He’s 31 and is the founder of Trendhunter.com. What makes Trendhunter different is that it’s a crowdsourcing site where over 28,000 trend spotters contribute emerging or different "trends" from around the world. The premise of Jeremy’s book, Exploiting Chaos, is that instead of retreating in times of chaos, companies should exploit trends to spark innovation and creativity.
Jeremy is a gutsy and creative entrepreneur. He’s also an impressive PR machine and promoter. (In many ways, this book’s core purpose is to drive traffic to the Trendhunter website - in fact you can download the first chapter by visiting it here).
Each page challenges the reader to think differently. Some headlines are smart "Fight the confidence that you know your customer" and some rather cliche "Cross-pollinate your ideas". For those who prefer more structure, there’s also an Exploiting Chaos model.
While none of the ideas or approaches in the book strike me as being that unique or new (my belief is that most companies look at social, economic or even political trends to inform strategy or spark new thinking), the book still has merit. One way I could see using this book is as a thought provoker. One could, for example, pick a concept from the book and use it as the lens by which you view your brand, company or leadership challenge from a different perspective. If you do pick up the book, I’d love to hear your opinion and how you’ve benefited from reading or using it as a tool to spark innovation.
Okay. Now on to the interview with Jeremy.
KK. What was the goal of writing this book? Who do you think will benefit most from reading it?
JG. People get all absorbed by the doom and gloom of the current recession, but some of the most iconic companies were founded during economic downturns, including: Microsoft, General Electric, HP, Apple, Amgen, Hyatt, EA, and Fortune Magazine. The book was written in a way that it could help to inspire anyone with an idea, from those stuck in large organizations to entrepreneurs alike.
KK. Your book is packed with ideas and images – what’s the best way for the reader to approach your book?
JG. Our reading habi ts have entirely changed in the last decade. Driven by media clutter and our shrinking attention spans, our world has become headline obsessed. Hence, this book is visual and action packed, offering two ways to read:
Consume the content front-to-back
Just read the headlines on each page. They flow together and will help spark your next big idea.
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