NICOLAS DE LA FUENTE
It will come as no surprise that Neuro Strategies founder, Nicolas de la Fuente, grew up rooted in the outdoors. Growing up in a small town in far northern CA, backpacking and exploring the glacier-carved granite mountain lakes, was part of his childhood.
Working abroad, and domestically among coalitions and collaboratives Nicolas began to recognize human patterns, and realities that cross borders, and man-made divisions. We all need to feel a part of something, connected to a place, and a community. However, over the years, that connectivity has increasingly diminished and Nicolas founded Neuro Strategies with the recognition that we need to better position individuals, organizations, and collaboratives in the best possible workflow environments to innovate, create, and problem solve-if we are going to tackle the most pressing issues in front of us.
The full story
We are at a moment in time where technological advancements, specifically online meetings, social media, and a clearly divided media system have created the perfect storm for isolation, algorithm-induced social and political silos, and constant, repetitive bot notifications. Nicolas would find himself fighting back against the online realities of our time, finding ways to unplug and get outside, and away from signal, and began to realize that every “ah-ha!” moment he had, every big idea, every time he was able to get into the “flow state” was when he was outside, walking, gardening, hiking, backpacking, or jogging. He figured it was just compounded by his own love for the outdoors, but soon after discovered the research coming out on neuroplasticity.
Studying the works of Dr. Andrew Huberman, Hani Akaseh, Kristen Meisenheimer, Anthony Hanan, and others, Nicolas became fascinated with the actual neuroscience behind his ah-ha moments. Environmental stimulation literally wires our brain for innovation. A repetitive behavior like walking outdoors or gardening increases serotonin and thinking through possible solutions to a problem while walking or gardening increases dopamine. A focus on both a repetitive behavior like walking and a final product solution to a problem reduces stress hormones and increases cortisol levels. The same applies to, cooking, drawing, knitting, etc. while thinking about the final product. The above affects our frontal cortex which affects our planning, behavior, and decision making. It all began to make scientific sense.
There is a saying among neuroscientists, “neurons that fire together, wire together.” Neurons that wire together, become habits, and habits manifest into organizational culture. A healthy organizational culture facilitates innovation, empathy, and solutions. Unhealthy cultures, create miscommunication, burnout, and in-fighting. So why then are we not utilizing something that is free, available, and right in front of us, i.e. our parks, our preserves, our community gardens, our cultural centers for meeting spaces? Why are we not rooting our organizations within the communities and places we live? Why are we not providing our companies, staff, and collaboratives with the best-case scenarios to innovate create, and inspire new solutions? That is how Neuro Strategies was born and it is our mission to ignite a renaissance in outdoor stimulation to inspire the creative solutions of tomorrow.