10 Whole Brain Essentials for Innovative Era

eweber   October 26, 2010   4 Comments

1.       Ask – don’t tell. What if you were to ask one innovative question to a leader you encounter? What if you held back a strong opinion, in favor of learning from others today? Imagine the ground-breaking results for innovative workplace solutions you pioneer. Great solutions often span right and left brain hemispheres, through an integration of hard and soft skills – or smart skills.

Yet experts remind us how innovation loses because leaders remain locked in the past.  Sadly, innovative opportunities  get stomped on by narrow-minded learning approaches. How would you avoid errors shown in this interview video for instance, that prevented an applicant from landing her first job?

Whole Brain Essentials for Innovative Era

Can you see growth benefits for holistic leading that inspires organizational change? Ready to snatch up those daily opportunities to ask mind-bending what if questions? Researchers discovered  glaring gaps in skills needed to lead well for the innovative era we’ve entered.  The Center for Creative Leadership asked 2,220 leaders from 15 organizations in three countries, what leadership skills appear inadequate to meet current and future demands.

Top missing skills they found were leaders’ ability to: lead, plan,  facilitate, inspire,  communicate,  persevere, and learn. Have you noticed how gifted leaders draw more from both sides of the brain,  by creating space for a genuine answers, by building goodwill among those who may disagree on answers offered. So why do we not get asked more inspired questions?


What if questions may ratchet up leadership skills, but they tend to be harder to ask than most people recognize. Would you agree?

2.       Hitch your wagon to a star. Here are a few ways to ensure both sides of your brain will fuel innovation at the peaks! a). Show enthusiasm for new ideas, and express support when others propose quality innovations.  The stressed or bored mind, works against innovation and defaults back to boring routines. b). Create solutions rather than vent, and brainpower creates tools from both sides to design advanced ways forward. c). Let music rock you there, by choosing tunes that foster innovation. d). Run up stairs and avoid  elevators, to increase oxygen and brainpower. e). Eat more nuts, blueberries, and grains, and less sugar, carbs or refined foods.  f). Teach something to an elder or a child at the same time you are learning it, and you’ll retain 90% of what you learn. g). Offer a positive alternative to a few negative brain stoppers at work. h). Ask both men and women for  ideas on a hot issue or a conflict resolution at work, and then use suggestions from both genders.

3.       Cultivate curiosity. Having been hard hit by the recession, General Electric VP Susan Peters’ statement, “We were close to financial meltdown,”opened a window for curious minds to ask, “How can we expand innovation here? What would carry us past  cortisol chemicals that spread gloom faster than donuts disappear from a Monday morning staff room?”  It takes brain based smart skills to spot  innovation opportunities. When it happens though, it’s a winning recipe for ongoing renewal, that engages holistic brainpower.

Whole Brain Thinking for Innovative Era

4.       Hardwire for humility. Without doubt, humility that is hardwired into minds, is the stuff that builds and sustains a brain powered community. It’s also true that arrogance tends to trigger a toxic workplace. But why does virtue come easier to some people, while eluding others like deer dart from hunters? A thought to launch your next discussion on whole brain innovation. Humility involves exciting new discoveries about hidden traps that can undo brainpower.  It means snipping your amygdala, when others ridicule new directions. It also means leaving no brains behind when you plan innovative opportunities.  Humility is hardwired by  developing higher intrapersonal intelligence.

5.       Support you first. Then help those nearby, with a stronger, more together you. Just as they tell people before any flight, to take care of yourself first and then help others – why not  start your day with your own flight reminder to support you first. With  basic needs for laughter, love and life filled,  you have the ideal chemical and electrical circuitry to make far wiser decisions for those near you. How so?

To help yourself is to strengthen personal (or intrapersonal) intelligence, and results are quite amazing brainpower across both sides of your brain. Your intrapersonal intelligence stores equipment to cultivate values and live morally or spiritually, for instance.  Ethical practices, when lived, literally rewire the brain for more positive character traits that tap into creativity and logic for innovative progress.  Values practiced in everyday settings inspire mental habits for care in the wider community through mirror neurons. When you speak or live higher values you also create a climate of peace and safety where others tend to cultivate character. That’s how the human brain works.

Whole Brain Innovation

6.       Hop to different beats. Grow different brain parts daily. Use left brain by acting logical, sequential, objective, rational, detail oriented, analytical and fact oriented.  It includes visual perception, language, attention, memory, focus, and speed for completing tasks. The left brain is used more for math and science, where you memorize names, and learn dates or formulas. It’s reality based, safer, and easier to assess. It cannot help you to create new approaches or problem solve your way past financial challenges though.  Those mind-bending functions lie within your right brain. Use right brain daily for innovative tasks that are whole picture oriented, subjective, holistic, intuitive, synthesizing, and emotionally alert.  It includes general well-being, stress management, problem solving, spatial reasoning, integration of ideas, multiple intelligence use, and ability to collaborate, and to be thankful. Imagination rules in the right brain, as do beliefs, using symbols or icons,  and taking risks for renewed possibilities.

7.       Don’t Be Smart! Your right and left brain together draw on your unique mix of multiple intelligences, and these are ratcheted up a notch each time used. Can you see why the notion of fixed IQ is myth? Target your multiple intelligences daily to get more brainpower on-board. For instance: 1). Mathematical or logical targets enable you to trace the logical chains of reasoning to discern where problems rooted. 2). Verbal linguistic targets include reading and discussing economic trends, as well as writing a plan for economic growth, and perhaps even proposing it to your bank manager. 3). Musical or rhythmic targets have you composing musical solutions or studying those who have expanded the economy through music. 4). Visual spatial targets create or use images, graphs, or visual portrayals to understand and explain economic problems and possibilities. 5). Bodily-kinesthetic targets engage you in movement, building and handling materials in ways that deepen understanding about past and future economic challenges and opportunities. 6). Interpersonal or social targets help you to discern and respond well to moods, temperaments, motivation, and desires of different people as they relate to economic bust and boom.7). Intrapersonal or introspective targets tap into your self-knowledge, integrity and discrimination for good or bad money choices for yourself and others. 8). Naturalistic targets give you mental tools to draw on patterns and designs in nature as a way to see real world problems and propose nature-related solutions for economic growth. A new look at innovative brainpower within multiple intelligences helps you invent, create, and design original approaches – past rigid routines where you work. Why not propose whole brain opportunities to increase an organization’s innovative IQ.

8.       Run from ruts. When we do the same routines daily, we work against whole brain growth, and stomp out innovative potential that requires several active brain operations. How so? New research shows how the brain’s plasticity rewires itself on both sides. One girl without the right side of her brain, for instance recovered near perfect vision. In spite of the fact that right brains map the left field of vision. Here are a few suggestions: a). Sequence the top five priorities for an action plan you’ll do this week. Mathematical tasks enable you to thread through chains of reasoning to discern where ruts are rooted. b). Log a few winning ways over one week tell about your best plan to raise a specific strength up to new levels. Verbal linguistic tasks include reading and discussing communication trends, as well as writing a plan for new growth, and perhaps even proposing it to your mentor.  c). Play a new musical selection or compose one to show where you’d most like to be in one month? Musical or rhythmic tasks enable you to expand brainpower through personal or experts’ compositions. d). Place a visual near you today, that would most inspire your next adventure. Spatial tasks invite innovative investigations through images, graphs, or visual portrayals that diminish ruts simply by illumining inspired visual possibilities. e). Take a long to consider an answer to the question – “What could you do differently this week with life-changing results? Bodily-kinesthetic  tasks engage you in movement, or building in ways that deepen understanding about past and future challenges as well as opportunities for new directions. f). Ask a respected friend or colleague to suggest a new approach at work that would  move you ahead in a dynamic new direction. Interpersonal or social tasks would help you to discern and respond well to insights of different people as they relate to your change question. g). Think back in time and advise your teenage self on one change that could  transform the coming week. Intrapersonal or introspective tasks tap into your self-knowledge, integrity and discrimination for good or bad choices that relate to you. h). Highlight one part of nature that illustrates your highest life goal and tell somebody or write about what it can teach you to improve your day. Naturalistic tasks give you mental tools to draw on patterns and designs in nature as a way to see real world problems and propose nature-related solutions for growth.

9.       Spot toxins before they stop you! Subtle, and often cemented into workplaces, toxins kill innovative brainpower like carbon monoxide snuffs out life in a closed garage. Only after you hit unethical walls raised by scorn from the cynic, do you value freedom flights toward its opposite – the curious mind. I’m speaking of that chronically negative person, who expresses disdain for innovative ideas, where stressed brains rely on habit and distrust reigns.  Have you ever considered the mental equipment alive and active within brains of bullies and cynics? 1. Amygdala for the cynic is that tiny sac of neurons that remains agitated most of the time,  overheats easily,  and triggers turmoil as an emotional pattern. How do you tame your amygdala? 2. Cortisol releases from cynics like falls at Niagra, as its potent chemical slams people into stress that  shrinks human brains. What tactics do you use to counter that cortisol surge? 3. Neuron pathways for cynics create disagreeable expressions of gloom, and habitual synapses can reshape moods or jade perspectives into permanent problems over time. Can you see how today’s actions shape tomorrow’s brain? 4. Plasticity rewires the cynic’s brain nightly for angry responses, and deep seated frustrations. Outwardly,  poor tone packs punches that cripple opportunities to prosper. Rewire against cynicism by doing its opposite, since every action you take today helps to reshape the brain as you sleep tonight. 5. Dendrite brain cells connect negativity to negativity in the mind of a cynic, to regenerate mental stagnation not seen in the curious. Practice one positive act and watch chemical and electrical activity reboot you mentally for more of the same. 6. Basal ganglia, with its propensity to default back to ruts,  stores and replays worst habits of cynics till others can cite their complaints by heart. That’s why you see some people locked into racism, sexism and other poisonous practices picked up and played routinely without much thought. 7. Working memory sits unused and often remains mute for the cynic, who finds no need for mental equipment that prospers the curious or leaps into action for solution bound minds. Focus on facts that build concrete solutions and working memory tools spring into action to solve complex problems out of bounds to the cynical mind. 8. Brain chemicals refuel wretched  moods in cynics, with decreased natural drugs for well being, and increased hormones for negative behavior.  Cynicism blocks serotonin, ( sometimes referred to as molecule of happiness)  and stirs up chemicals that accompany disdain. 9. Serotonin sinks lower in the mind of the cynic, leaving the brain without resources against anxiety, disquiet, anger, or conflict at work. Each cynical act can lower a brain’s natural serotonin supplies. Increase serotonin through healthy foods, exercise, and many behaviors that spike sincere satisfaction. 10. Brainwaves of cynics rewire daily to  for more cynical performances. Organized by a hierarchy, electrical waves control how neurons communicate for better or for worse, and cynical forces can surge a brain’s circuitry for negative outcomes. Reading this post for more innovative brainpower, the cynic will likely see no cause for change, yet cynicism leaves its victims craving attention and creating conflict,  much like addicts crave drugs or drunks cause oppression. In either case mental tools shut down. In fact, looking back at mistakes, the cynic often chills to bitter regrets, while rarely taking advantage of mental equipment tapped by curious minds who build finer futures. Know any molecular switch that could turn off cynical cravings in your circle?

10.   Walk your ethical talk. Ethics is to the brain’s sense of right or wrong, what a noble life is to a highly intelligent and thoughtful person. Truth is – the brain comes with moral potential.  It equips people to do what is good – even when that good comes with personal cost.  Sure, it takes a bit of work, yet ethics physically reshapes the human brain. No wonder it also shapes our lives and entire communities. Interestingly, when your brain determines what good looks like – and leapfrogs you over bad habits, new neuron pathways are created to lead toward that action. Ethics engages the basal ganglia, and enables you to move past bad habits, in favor of ethical rejuvenation. Check neurogenetics of ethics to see how you can gauge your brain’s ability to grow a stronger moral code, through generating new dendrite brain cells for ethical choices.

The idea is  to engage both sides of the brain, to increase innovation.  Why not simply do one whole brain task daily – and use suggestions above to track your progress?

4 thoughts on “10 Whole Brain Essentials for Innovative Era

  1. Josie

    “Support others first. Then help yourself. Just as they tell people before any flight, start your day with a reminder to support those near you first, and then help yourself.”

    Just to be annoying: The airlines actually say just the opposite. Adjust your own mask before helping others.

    But thanks for the post. Lots of good stuff.

  2. eweber Post author

    Josie, that’s exactly what that is supposed to say!! HaHaHaHaHa.

    Not annoying at all – yet I see what I was trying to say is about as clear as a mudslide:-) Your comment made me laugh, and reminded me that I’ve been multitasking a bit too much today, and brains are not equipped to multi-task!

    Thanks Josie – and by the way, your school looks terrific! All the best to you as you extend joy into learning in ways that rev up more brainpower for all!

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