Thoughts

10th May 2013

Is neuroscience helping education?

There is a new study ‘What can neuroscience teach education?’ getting underway at the Wellcome Trust that seeks to identify what are the most appropriate ‘well-justified, evidence-based neuroscience interventions in educational settings’. When it has done it’s initial research it will be interesting to see what ways neuroscience is already informing education practice and to see the evidence base for efficacy.  It seems inevitable that neuroscience will significantly change education in the not too distant future – we may even arrive at an agreed model of learning – and this will obviously have implications for development practice in the workplace.  […]
22nd May 2013

Putting neuroscience to work

This week we have started new development programmes with two clients; one a consortium of local authorities and the other a digital strategy consulting firm.  In many ways the two clients could not be more different especially from an employee profile point of view.  The former has many long serving employees lots of whom  haven’t worked anywhere else, the latter is full of recent grads and ‘second jobbers’.  ‘Baby boomers’ Vs. ‘Millenials’ might be an over simplification but not by too much.   What they have in common though is a workplace that is changing rapidly, extremely demanding and full of […]
15th Jun 2013

Neuroscience Vs. Emotional Intelligence

This article The Neuroscience At The Heart Of Learning And Leading got me thinking that one of the advantages of basing our work on neuroscience is that it seems to allow us to have conversations in the workplace that can otherwise be difficult to get people engaged with.  A really good example is our current work with managers in a large defence organisation.  Participants tend to be of a certain age, gender and outlook – most of them are engineers – that experience suggests won’t readily embrace ‘emotional intelligence’ as a topic that is pertinent to their development.  Yet when […]
22nd Jul 2013

Has email had it’s day?

I have come across a number of clients lately who have given up on email.  For some it has been an admission of defeat –  ‘one more thing I can’t stay on top of’, for others it has been a more empowering ‘I’m not going to spend an infinite amount of time on something that adds so little value’.  For evidence of how little value email adds we can refer to the study by Atos consulting that concluded that staff were spending up to 20% of their time dealing with email but that only 15% of the email added any […]
19th Sep 2013

Too much of a good thing?

This week we finished a programme we have been delivering for a digital media consultancy – as fast paced and rapidly changing an environment as I have come across.  The organisation is chock full of very bright, very driven, very engaged people who are absolutely on a mission to go and do great things – they are also mostly of an age that made me feel quite, old!   The positivity and energy in the organisation is almost tangible but what makes it a really special place is that the steadfast results focus is more than balanced by the genuine […]
28th Sep 2013

Mirror test

For a number of years now I have done a half-day session at one of the pre-eminent London Business Schools as part of student’s induction to their M.Sc. in Organisational Behaviour.  The objective of my workshop is to give students a practitioner’s perspective on the application of organisational behaviour (OB) and organisational development (OD) theory.  Typically I run the session as a case study based on a project I was involved in a number of years ago.  The context is the preparation of a response to a (potentially very lucrative) Invitation to Tender (ITT) where the client has given a […]
2nd Oct 2013

Brain-to-brain interface update!

Last year I posted about A Brain-to-Brain Interface for Real-Time Sharing of Sensorimotor Information (I must admit I do love that title) and wondered where these neuroscience developments were going.  I still don’t know the answer to that question but it would appear that we will be getting there much more quickly than I thought.  Researchers in Austria have, for the first time, used stem cells to grow cerebral organoids (mini-brains) in a petri dish.  Meantime researchers at the University of Washington have been playing computer games across the internet.  No surprise there maybe, except that in this case it […]
18th Oct 2013

Bringing coals to Newcastle?

In our work we frequently use a piece of neurofeedback equipment to help people to ’see inside their black box’.  The kit consists of two Electroencephalography (EEG) headbands and some software, magnets and motors that allow people to play at ‘competitive relaxation’ using something similar to a table top football set.  The EEG measures alpha and theta waves and the more relaxed the person becomes the more the kit pushes the ball away from them so they ‘score’ at the other end of the table.  Most recently we have used this at a medical systems company who, amongst other things, […]
11th Nov 2013

Speaking at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition

Last week we spoke at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition (ACE), or, to be more precise we spoke at it twice: firstly at an ‘Ideas Exchange’ session in the Exhibition and then at a Conference workshop.  Our Ideas Exchange session was called ‘Neuroscience at work – from interesting to useful’ and in it we give a very brief account of four client case studies where we have explicitly used latest neuroscience findings to help bring about change.  The case studies covered: a major change programme, stakeholder engagement, coaching, and L&D curriculum redesign.  The neuroscience we referred to was: neuroplasticity, […]
17th Dec 2013

The Year In Pictures

There is a fantastic blog post from the Brain Bank here.  The The Brain Bank’ is run by a group of biologists from the University of Manchester, all of whom share a desire to communicate the amazing complexities of science with anyone interested enough to listen’ and the post summaries their 12 – one for each month – best neuroscience images of 2013.  There are some fantastic images involved but the story these pictures tell also conveys the breadth and depth of neuroscience research that is happening now.   December, almost inevitably, features gender differences – or as it should all […]
25th Jan 2014

Personal Challenge of Leadership programme

We have just finished another Leadership/Management programme for a local government client where the, in my experience, unprecedented, volume of change continues unabated.  Titled ‘The Personal Challenge of Leadership’  the four module programme was underpinned by the latest neuroscience research and what it tells us about the power and fallibility of the brain in the workplace.   Local authorities are still going through massive, disruptive change driven by reduced funding and it could be easy  for people to be overwhelmed by this.  I say ‘easy’ because we all have a change tolerance threshold and the degree, speed and volume of […]
22nd Feb 2014

Working with CIPD – Neuroscience of Coaching

It’s always nice to be asked back and having spoken at the CIPD annual conference last year we have been invited to speak at the Learning and Development conference on May 1st.  Our topic is ‘Using Neuroscience to Enhance L&D Effectiveness’ and we are looking forward to explaining how to move neuroscience from the ‘interesting’ to the ‘useful’ i.e. what is the new learning from neuroscience that be applied to L&D in organisations.   Much as we are looking forward to this we are even more excited to be delivering  a new workshop on how to use neuroscience to develop your […]