Marks of Brainpowered Workspaces

Ever shifted locations, and noticed new solutions to problems as a result?  Or have new ethical insights added zest to a project after a redesigned workspace? If so, you’ll be interested in research about buildings as mental stimulants for creativity and productivity. Have you seen it?

It makes sense since IQ comes from your gene pool and from your world. Poverty and inequality often add to lower IQ, according to Dr. Richard Nisbett, but it doesn’t have to be that way. His new book Intelligence and How to Get It, offers refreshing ideas for those interested in ratcheting up their IQ a notch or two. 

Just as bad environments suppress intelligences, so too enriched setting enhance brainpower, according to Dr. Eric Turkheimer.

With a quick change or two, could your workspace offer you a few more IQ points?

Light – Natural light, or artificial light that mimics sunlight – can lesson the effects of seasonal affective disorder, often referred to as SAD. Other restorative benefits of natural light include less fatigue, and increased productivity. Wal-Mart for instance, found that sales in day-lit sections more than doubled sales in artificially lit sections of their Kansas store.

Nature – Researcher Faber Taylor suggests that even a good view of one’s natural environment can increase attention and improve a person’s performance. Do you believe it? Check out Robyn McMaster’s suggestions for drawing more naturalistic intelligence into your workplace.

Roundtables - in your workspace invite comfortable fireside chats where people and ideas find feet for winning interactions. Those mind-bending contacts  stirred by great facilitators,  and energized by people who foster curiosity and collaborate creative ideas.

Art and images that add spatial meaning to the workplace. I’m speaking here of icons that set the stage for wonder,  inspire a sense of beauty and showcase significant people, places and events that spark serotonin chemicals for well being.

Music not only jacks up productivity but it can improve moods, inspire creativity, and calm your thinking. Check out Don Campbell’s list here to see how music alters mental states and changes the landscapes at work.

Centers crafted to challenge teaching and learning discoveries by and for employees, and questions engaged by the wider community. Books, monitors for viewing and discussing work-related matters, display boards for advanced organizers that drive curiosity, and technology for individual and group enterprises.

Nooks designated for fun,  laughter, relaxation, fitness or other playful activities that power down stress in a busy workday. Just as these cozy corners contain lounges for community exchanges, they should also add individual spaces.

Armed with a  target of removing toxins at work or adding personal well-being in your organization, what would you add to my list for a more brainpowered workspace?


  1. Dan Erwin says:

    The upside of the Bell Curve (and there are few upsides) is Nisbett’s new book. Exceptionally helpful. I found his analysis of cultural distinctions especially insightful and intriguing.

  2. eweber says:

    Interesting observation, Dan. Piaget discovered that the bell curve is usually accurate for a very specific group if a certain approach is used to teach. Yet when the teaching and learning approaches changed – so too did the distribution of learners change proportionately and some who were at the top of the curve moved toward the bottom and visa versa:-) Thoughts?

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  5. […] In MITA Brain Institutes character development is cultivated by building what Dr. Nel Noddings refers to as the ethics of caring communities. Brain based character building includes ethics cultivated in governing circles to ensure that virtue inspires all participants to learn and lead ethically. With the brain in mind, you investigate solutions to problems and at the same time cultivate virtue in yourself and others toward caring but challenging circles. […]

  6. […] 5. To ensure resourcefulness – effective leaders  work  with top management to capitalize on brain-powered workplace culture. […]

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