Monthly Archives: January 2018

The most powerful Question…

GooddayLast week I spoke at my favorite conference to an audience of peers in the Human Capital space. I spoke on Happiness and presented some cutting-edge neuroscience on the topic and argued for its relevance in the workplace, not just outside it, as a key lever of human performance. I shared studies starting from about 100 years ago that began to explore the correlation between happy employees and workplace productivity. There is indisputable evidence showing both correlation and causation that you can google search. Yet, it is a taboo subject and as such, the workplace has abdicated that responsibility to outside its walls.  Continue reading

Innovation is a Neuro function

innov2Ask yourself where you had your last few innovative ideas? Ask someone else where they had theirs? You are likely to get a broad spectrum of responses ranging from a coffee shop, a shower, to an offsite retreat and a walk on the beach. The very fact that there are so many geo-spatial locations implies that geography has little to do with innovation. Why then would we design an “innovation center” or assume a conference room of sorts or any other workplace space is where innovation would occur? Or that a certain technology or tool is required for what ultimately is a cognitive function? The truth is that innovation occurs in our brains when a conglomerate of variables come together. It is the same with collaboration which is a form of innovation where the thoughts/ideas in one brain need to be complemented with those of another to produce a better outcome than had each one done it one its own.  I understand that a ‘space’ might be one of those variables but it hardly is an important one. Take for example a 2-hour problem solving collaborative innovation meeting in a conference room at work with say, twelve very talented people in a company meet led by the leader of that team. Let’s say that in the first hour, the meeting has gone reasonably well but the boss of the leader decides to enter the meeting. It is likely that many if not all of the twelve would suddenly ‘feel’ different about sharing their ideas or thoughts because the boss of their boss is now in the room. They might feel some anxiety or apprehension and decide to be more cautious than earlier. In this scenario, nothing much has changed. It was the same problem that had to be solved, in the same room, in the same time with an hour’s progress already made yet everything had changed. That ‘everything’ was a neurological and subconscious assessment of a new threat that subsequently compromised their ability to collaborate and innovate. The result was no real solution was achieved. Did the innovative or collaborative skills of the twelve suddenly disappear (they existed in the first hour) or was the skill still there but replaced with a more powerful motive to self-preserve?  I think most of you would conclude it is the latter.

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