Christian Madsbjerg joined us on November 15 as part of the Keller Center’s The Creative Mind and Leadership Lecture series.  His talk; Observation and Listening was delivered in Aaron Burr Hall to a crowd of over 60 Princeton University students, faculty, and staff as well as interested community members.

Christian was introduced by Keller Center’s James Wei Visiting faculty member Ken Anderson.

“(Chrsitian) is founder of ReD Associates which is a consultancy in New York City and Copenhagen, the consultancy specializes in using ethnographic techniques and methods as well as other social science philosophy approaches to understanding corporate problems. They have been extremely successful in delivering value in this space.”

Christian spoke of his experiences inside the corporate structure observing and listening to the customer and the people within the company infrastructure rather than relying on trends, surveys and spreadsheets of data created from assumptions and wrong assessments rather than actual human interaction.

ReD does not have the academic intention of solely theoretic study, they have a pragmatic view of trying to change a company’s mindset in a way that is functional and realistic.  His technique of radical empirical research and a human centered approach to building businesses and strengthen companies has brought both financial success and a better understanding of how customers use and live with products for companies like; Lego, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Ford Motor Company to name a few.

“Listening and observing sound passive in a way but it really is one of the most aggressive things you can do in these companies because it’s done so little, everybody seems to be talking and making things all the time, they call themselves sayers and doers rather than observers and listeners.”

You can view this talk here.