I won’t go crazy here on scientific theory, but it goes like this. Experiments have shown that each side of the brain seems to work on different types of thinking.
Left brain thinking includes:thinking that is logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective, and looking at parts. Right brain thinking includes: thinking that is random, intuitive, global/holistic, synthesizing, subjective, looks at the whole.
To say it in other ways, people who prefer left-brain activities deal well with statistics, analysis that drills into data, information, language, and like to build from the bottom up. Right brain thinkers focus on aesthetics, arts and music, big-picture ideas, patterns, geometry, and creativity. and like to build from the top down. Almost everyone does both. Almost everyone has an inate preference.
Most schools are highly left-brain places, focused on academic subjects.
What does this have to do with business?
Right Brain Left Brain in Business
I bring this up because I was reading this post Left BrainÃ¢â¬âRight Brain? by Ted Mininni. In it he speaks of a notable trend in business schools to seek out right-brain thinkers.
What caught my eye as the principal of a design consultancy was the presentation being given by noted speaker, author and former White House speech writer Daniel Pink. Title: Ã¢â¬ÅIdentifying & Leading the New Breed of Workers: How & Why the Right-Brained Will Be Critical to Future Business SuccessÃ¢â¬Â. WowÃ¢â¬âthatÃ¢â¬â¢s a mouthful. But a meaningful mouthful.
This caps a notable trend in new business thought and one well worth exploring. Business has sought out left brainers — i.e., MBAÃ¢â¬â¢s schooled in analytics, metrics and use of logic — for so long, thatÃ¢â¬â¢s it elating for those of us who are right brainers — i.e., innovators and creative problem solvers — to witness this evolution in thinking that finally seems to endorse and appreciate our skill sets.
Mr. Mininni goes on with further resources and further points that most right-brain business person already knew — there are few classes on creativity or innovation in any business school, not even at the top tiers.
The Trend Is Changing
Mininni names the schools that are offering new programs and follows with his hope that this beginning trend will mold leaders in design thinking and strategy. His premise: if our business leaders are expected to become creative thinkers, problem solvers and innovators to keep their companies ahead of ever-intensifying global competition, wonÃ¢â¬â¢t an understanding of design (problem solving) processes serve them well?
I sure hope so. I’ve worked with the overly left-brain reliant, business school trained MBA graduate. It takes a long time to tease them out of all of their rules and into reality.
I test out clinically with a right-brain preference. It’s part of what adds to my charming weirdness.
–ME “Liz” Strauss