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Kaplan | Press Release

Berrett-Koehler Staff Posted by Berrett-Koehler Staff.

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Kaplan | Press Release


Harness the Power of Surprise for Business Breakthroughs

By Soren Kaplan, Ph.D.

If there’s one thing we all learn in business, it’s to avoid surprises at all costs.

In LEAPFROGGING (August 6, 2012, Berrett-Koehler), author Soren Kaplan reveals why this command-and-control mindset is exactly what stymies innovation today.

Turning conventional wisdom on its head, Kaplan shows how both positive and negative surprises have the power to change the game in any endeavor - if we open ourselves to them and learn the right way to harness unexpected experiences and events.

Through extensive research, compelling examples and 20 years in strategy and innovation, Soren Kaplan has identified a consistent process for using surprise to create transformative business breakthroughs.

Kaplan’s research reveals that surprise is not just something that differentiates breakthrough products and services - it is also a key ingredient in creating those delightfully surprising breakthroughs. In fact, Kaplan shows, the single most important factor to fostering true game changers isn't the classic light bulb-above-the-head big idea. It's the way leaders and organizations handle the discomfort, the disorientation, and the thrill (and pain) of living with uncertainty, finding clarity from ambiguity, and being surprised.

Examples include:

  • Open Table, the online dining portal, which began with a stream of surprises that guided the company toward lightning fast growth
  • Hemisphere Development, a small redeveloper of ‚“environmentally distressed ‚” properties, which discovered how to use grants and tax incentives to turn industrial no-man’s lands into thriving ecologically sound communities
  • KIPP Academies, which created a network of 100 inner city charter schools with over 27,000 students who boast a 90% graduation rate - from college
  • HousingWorks, which reinvented the nonprofit thrift store model to raise money for HIV/AIDS by creating stylish destination stores with the unique look of a designer boutique
  • DMI Music , a music production company that creates ‚“audio logos ‚” like United Airlines’ Rhapsody in Blue

LEAPFROGGING shares stories like these from scores of global companies, start”ups, and nonprofits including Four Seasons, PespiCo, Kimberly” Clark, Philips, Unilever, Colgate Palmolive, and many others. Connecting these examples to the latest social science and brain research on how we experience surprise, Kaplan provides proven practical tools for navigating the seemingly ‚“messy ‚” process of achieving business breakthroughs.