Is neuroscience the key to business and personal success?

If you are a student, a skilled knowledge work professional, or even a professional athlete, you will want to perform at your best.

But regardless of what you do, your success is dependent on the knowledge and skills you have accumulated over time… And your performance will always be dependent on how well your brain performs. This newly-informed perspective of performance is based on current neuroscience research, where a truly remarkable stream of discoveries is transforming our understanding of how the brain works. In this article, taken from our monthly publication Human Capital Review, we take a look at the Neurozone™ Model of Brain Performance and how its application impacts on the performance of organisations as a whole.

We have learned more about how the human brain works in the past two decades than in all of previous human history. Remarkable new discoveries in the brain sciences continue to revolutionise our understanding of how we perform … how we think, how we decide, how we learn, and how we experience the world around us. This creates unprecedented opportunity to apply the performance-enhancing potential of this new knowledge by forming a bridge between your world (whatever that may be) and the world of neuroscience.

Neurozone™ Model of Brain Performance

For most people the brain is a mystery, and optimal brain performance something we take for granted. Designed as a template for enhancing human capacity, the Neurozone™ Model of Brain Performance was conceived and developed by neurologist and cognitive neuroscientist, Dr Etienne van der Walt. It uniquely synthesises the rapidly-evolving understanding of how the brain performs, building on two foundations: the anatomy of brain performance (the structures in the brain that most affect how it performs as a whole system), and the key drivers of brain performance: twelve drivers of optimum brain performance that can be individually and collectively enhanced. The Neurozone™ model integrates diverse fields of neuroscience, resulting in a whole brain model based on current, peer-reviewed, published neuroscience research. We know of no other similar model in commercial use.

As we apply this model in practice, we are discovering great potential in four key outcomes: wellbeing (thriving), resilience, leadership, and innovation. We are also discovering that the model works on a deeply personal level, with mobilising implications for the performance of organisations as a whole.

BrainCoach™ for Professionals

Our brains are always performing … every moment … day and the night. They never shut down. And most of us assume that our brains are performing as well as they can. The massively important and intriguing news from neuroscience is that our brains can function at significantly higher levels of performance. Our products, deeply rooted in neuroscience, are designed to show you how:

  • BrainCoach™ Diagnostics: Key performance driver assessments – tools to identify and measure areas of brain performance enhancement potential; tools to monitor compliance, with recommended activities to optimise this performance.
  • BrainCoach™ for Professionals: Facilitated workshops designed to teach professional knowledge workers the knowledge and skills they need to optimise individual and collective brain performance.
  • BrainCoach™ Mobilized: Activities and action plans designed to infuse brain performance knowledge and skills throughout the organisation.

More than ever, today’s highly sophisticated knowledge-work businesses are in the business of brain performance. That business depends on individual and collective brain performance for continued success seems obvious. Not so obvious is how this individual and collective (organisational) brain performs every day. We are learning from neuroscience that as a wonderfully complex system, the human brain is continuously affected by key drivers of performance … and that we can now learn how to manage these key drivers for optimum performance.

For the neuroscientist, the definition of creativity is “solving problems and fashioning new products that are adaptive for the group”. It accomplishes this by having evolved through the eons from most basic to most sophisticated in an increasingly complex environment. And for millions of years the complexity of the environment changed with infinite slowness, only very occasionally disrupted by events demanding rapid adaptation for survival. Not so today. A challenge we all face is for our brains to adapt in tandem with the seemingly unstoppable acceleration in the pace, quantity, and complexity of change.
So more than ever, we have to innovate to survive. Financial meltdowns, economic crises, climate change, poverty, corruption, opposing belief systems, you name it … there is no shortage of problems desperately in search of novel ideas and products to promote collective survival. We create these novel ideas and products with our brains. And to the neuroscientist, creativity is the highest and most sophisticated form of thinking.

This leads us to two enduring and damaging myths: the popular belief that only the ‘creative’ are creative; and the belief that creativity resides in a specific area of the brain (commonly believed to be only on the right side). These are misconceptions. They are simply not true. Current neuroscience holds that the whole brain is creative … that the wholly creative brain is essential for survival. And, to the neuroscientist, creativity always precedes innovation. How and why creativity precedes innovation is at the core of the Neurozone™ Model of Brain Performance.

This model draws from the most current published and peer-reviewed neuroscience research available to demonstrate how and why certain key drivers affect the brain’s capacity to perform. These are the foundational, emotional, higher order, and sensory drivers that determine our ability to “survive” in a world of accelerating change. These are also the drivers that affect the ability of the knowledge worker, the teacher, the student, the athlete, and the parent to perform at their absolute best. And, ultimately, these are the drivers of innovation.

The good news is that neuroscientists around the world are discovering very specific ways to enhance these drivers for optimum brain performance. In his work, Dr van der Walt describes the specific brain structures associated with these key drivers. He introduces us to ground-breaking neuroscience research, critical new knowledge with potential to transform how business “solves problems and fashions new products”.

If you’d like to learn more about Neuroscience, we’re hosting a one-day workshop in Johannesburg and Cape Town on the 1st and 5th of November 2012. Click here to learn more.


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