Lewis Pinault experienced an interesting phenomenon after the publication of Consulting Demons – instead of shunning him, consultants of every stripe were eager to echo his experiences, and wanted him to test and assess consulting techniques being developed in light of the new economic regime. In this environment, Pinault discovered how consultants were changing to keep up with the leaner economy, and his role as a consultant to consultants led to an invitation to join EDS as its VP of Consumer Industries and Retail.
Against this background, Pinault again draws back the curtain on the professional services industry, this time revealing the latest cutting–edge findings set to revolutionize the consumer experience: the amazing relationship between innocent play and complex technologies, and how the growing importance of our creative power as consumers is redefining the multi–trillion dollar consumer industry.
By integrating the latest findings from the fields of complexity science, and customer service and management, and rendering them simply and logically, Pinault has created a system of 6 principles that can be successfully applied to any organization to unleash the power of play in all aspects of the consumer experience.
Filled with entertaining stories, larger–than–life characters and eye–opening revelations, The Play Zone will guide readers through a boisterous crowd of important new ideas so that they can connect with consumers like never before.
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Lewis Pinault is vice president of consumer industries at one of the world's leading computer services and outsourcing firms, and he is a research practitioner with the Imagination Lab Foundation established by the LEGO Group. Consulting Demons, Pinault's notorious firsthand, partner-level account of the too-often unscrupulous workings of the consulting industry, led to his intensive exploration and development of new and better means of client engagement and consumer understanding. An MIT graduate, Juris Doctor, Fulbright Scholar and NASA Space Grant Fellow, Pinault combines a unique mix of science and policy perception in developing his exceptional "fun with a purpose" perspective on consumers, play and technology. He lives in London.From Publishers Weekly:
Amidst the legions of books peddling gimmicky sound bites on business management comes this highly complex approach to understanding consumers. Pinault (Consulting Demons) advises applying chaos theory to business and social science—through the youthful art of play (often with LEGOs). "Playfulness," he insists, "can allow the ‘hidden order’ of chaos to emerge." "Sophisticated, complex structures arise in nature all the time" and with the right creative spark, he supposes, this same self-emergent organization can help businesses understand customer desires and brainstorm new product ideas. All of this innovation occurs in Pinault’s "Play Zone"—a time and place where local players can globally affect the complex network of consumers by "playing" with various devices he calls "Ubiquitous Tools." For example, a Cabbage Patch Doll stakeholder used "the butterfly effect" in the 1980s when he paid a group of people to fight over the then-obscure toys at a single U.S. store, triggering immediate news coverage and a worldwide sales rush. But Pinualt focuses beyond the low-tech to new tools like Amazon.com’s personalized web suggestions for each visitor, which are based on an ever-increasing list of past purchases and searches. To help readers swallow the meaty scientific jargon, the author provides a quick primer on chaos theory in the introductory chapter, while sidebars and flow charts break up the prose, making important concepts slightly easier to digest. The toy graphics and constant reference to the LEGO company’s "SERIOUS PLAY" program sometimes make the book read like an advertisement. Still, this is a refreshingly thoughtful book for imagining businesses that agilely adapt to consumer demands.
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