Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

Your Brain on Innovation

 -  7/14/11

Without inclusion there can be no creativity. The desire to be accepted, included and to fit in is as strong as the need for food, water and air.

George Ainsworth-Land, author of Grow or Die: the Unifying Principle of Transformation, said organizations must grow or die, and growth depends on innovation. Most of us would heartily endorse this statement and believe the best organizations find new and original ways to add value to their products and services. The most admired companies continually find better methods to engage their employees, form creative alliances with their suppliers rather than the tired, adversarial relationships of the past, and create fresh ways to attract and retain stakeholders. As a consequence, they flourish.

There is no question innovation is fundamental to organizational success. Unfortunately, it is also rare. After all of the effort, time and money spent trying to create innovation in our organizations, creativity remains remarkably elusive. It’s a mystery why organizations don’t embrace new ideas and better methods.

One key to overcoming resistance to innovation and change comes from our increased understanding of a brain region known as the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (DACC). The DACC is associated with physical pain and its related emotions. In the January issue of Scientific American, Kipling D. Williams reported that our desire to be accepted, included and to fit in is as strong as our need for food, water and air. He expressly described it as a need rather than a preference or desire.

Of all the indignities we can suffer at the hands of others, ostracism is one of the most painful. Psychologists have repeatedly shown that individuals will choose obviously incorrect answers to oral questions when the other members of a group conspire to visibly choose it first. The power of conformity is far greater than we sense it to be. Using brain scans we can see the DACC registers the same pattern whether we are experiencing a physical beating or are being rejected, ignored or ostracized by others.

Who can fail to remember the pain that accompanied being passed over rather than chosen to be part of a highly desired team or group when we were children? Remember the anxiety that accompanied the possibility of rejection by someone you found particularly attractive and with whom you desired a stronger relationship? How about the excruciating pain of being taken to task in public by someone close to us?

Article Keywords:   innovation  


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