Updated: Mar 25, 2021
It is not Rocket Science: But it is Neuroscience
As the founder of Neuro Strategies, it is my goal and my mission to position individual leaders, organizations, and collaboratives in the best possible environment to create, problem solve, and execute. My focus at NS is around the health, happiness, and productivity of those tasked with educating our kids, improving our communities, and building solutions for the many pressing issues in front of us. Insights will be a quarterly subject in which NS discusses topics that currently do not garner the attention they deserve.
Burnout is a topic that covers and affects all sectors, and is an issue affecting our entire society. We are at a tipping point, mid/ late Covid where burnout has reached its highest level with a heavy increase in online communication. Ironically, big tech companies which built the attention economy, are increasingly looking at ways to increase their own company’s outputs and innovation through strategic unplugging and minimizing unnecessary online chatter.
In other fields, like the non-profit sector, the burnout levels are similar, online chatter reigns supreme, but the pre-existing culture of martyrdom and putting an organizations mission over the health of its employees compounds the problem. This Insights edition will focus on introducing the need to reimagine workflows that honor the humanity of the worker and leverage their abilities to create and innovate. To do so, it is important to have a basic understanding of how our brains work, how technology and online communication affect our creative cognitive abilities, and ultimately to introduce new systems of alternative workflows which maximize creative work and minimize unnecessary online communication. Reimagining our workflows will be a big part of what many call the biggest value generating productivity revolutions of the 21st century. Below I will highlight the work of a neuro scientist focused on neuroplasticity, and the work of computer scientist focused on technology and its effect on our society.
It used to be thought that our brains, once developed, were no longer plastic. Understanding how our brains function is fundamental to building in new workflows which leverage our current understanding of how to best position ourselves to learn new skills, maximize creativity and outcomes, increase happiness, decrease stress, and ultimately reduce turnover. While there are thousands of neuroscientists contributing to our understanding of neuroplasticity, for the sake of simplicity will just introduce one person’s work here which is directly related to the mission of Neuro Strategies. Dr. Andrew Huberman, has created a podcast with basic introductory episodes to the concept of neuroplasticity and has created many practical tools for individuals and organizations to review and implement on a personal or organizational level.
As you gain a basic understanding of how to position yourself or your organization for plasticity, and creating new workflow habits, the next step is to understand how deeply online communication effects our ability to focus, and create. Cal Newport, author of Digital Minimalism and A World Without Email, highlights the affects that online communication has on individuals and companies. Just as it is important to have a basic understanding of neuroplasticity, it is equally important to have a foundational understanding of the attention economy, the pros and cons of online tools i.e. email, and ultimately to be aware of the trends moving away from constant online chatter. Within Digital Minimalism and A World Without Email, you will arm yourself with a better understanding of how this is playing out on a societal level, learn about specific models of alternative workflows, and ultimately position yourself to begin experimenting with some specific shifts within your own organization, team or collaborative.
The goal of NS is to help innovators innovate. We want to share these resources and research with a larger population and help build a larger understanding of the actual mechanisms behind the concept of burnout which often times gets oversimplified as weakness. By sharing current resources, we aim to help your organization begin to think through your own organizational culture, levels of burnout, levels of happiness, and begin to re-imagine what the optimal workflow could look like. How much unnecessary online communication is taking place within your organization? How much time does your team spend in stimulating outdoor environments? How can you process engineer a more effective way of doing your work?
Each organization is different, cultures vary, and there is no cookie cutter universal formula. However, having a foundational understanding of neuroplasticity and the deliberate designs of the attention economy are the first steps towards imagining a new workflow. It is up to each leader, and each organization to find the optimal workflow which works for you and your team or organization- one which honors the workers happiness as equal to their outputs. At NS we want to help you get there.