Right Brain Poised to Wield Greater Power than the Left
The goal is big. Make the shift from the left side of the brain to the right – the shift, Dale Peskin said, going on in society. An emergence of the creative world, a win for innovation and change. Think visually. To illustrate – the PC? So left. Evokes an image of old, from another age. The sleek Mac, however, stands for innovation, the cool, the hip.
The stigma attached to the left is that it’s logical, analytical, produces the expected. Boring.
The right, though, is non-linear, holistic, intuitive, produces surprising discoveries. But here’s the good news: they’re not mutually exclusive.
So a debate grew in the Right Brain Rules to Innovate workshop about whether an entrepreneur can discover opportunities by using the right brain, too, or whether an entrepreneur is too set in old ways. Is Bill Gates old school? Does he use more of the left brain, whereas Steve Jobs may use more of the right? Peskin clarified – it’s not that the left-siders can’t think creatively, they just need to let the right side chip in.
In fact, the two sides are connected through the corpus callosum, said Dan Suwyn, a managing partner with Rapid Change Group. In fact, women have an advantage – the corpus callosum is thicker in female brains. (Applause from the females heard.) That puts us up to par with well-rounded giants like Albert Einstein, who had a thick callosum, too.
So is there a debate, or is it now beyond the grey realm – does collaboration and innovation require an evolved right side skill? Peskin said those who use the right side learn and make something better.
No longer do the creative folk work alone, unable to be understood. There’s a notion of collaboration. Creativity is no longer a single gig. CNN used Microsoft’s Photosynth to create its ‘The Moment’ project in which the public submitted photos of the Inaugration of the United States’ 44th president, Mr. Barack Obama.
Or the storytelling project of Jonathan Harris, The Whale Hunt, which places an emphasis on the photographs to tell the story. Akin to the concept of Brian Storm’s MediaStorm.
Other workshop participants are also merging technology and innovation.
Flyp, for example, is a bi-weekly digital magazine, produced by a Mexican company that runs a weekly mag. Have you ever been frustrated when a site pulls you away from the main story when you click on the video or another interactive element? Flyp integrates the text, video and interactive elements all within the story, so you don’t get moved onto something else. Eduardo Danilo, one of its creators, stood up to show how all the elements are fused together. This may add to the size – digitally, any given issue can have 40 to 60 pages. Flyp is now working with ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom of investigative journalism.
One exercise done during the workshop was led by Katherine von Jan of KVJ Company and involved context and thinking about how customers use your innovation. What are the metrics for success? What is the value of what you’re working on? Making health care company globally competitive. A debate grew about the pros and cons. You can get care at 3 a.m. (pro), but how does your doctor in India treat you if you’re in Miami (con)? Is this worthwhile when getting to India is not so complicated and expensive as it once was?
Many called out the dissonance between traditional healthcare and a global approach, moving it from isolated to connected, from Western to integrative.
So everyone got into groups and came up with an original idea. It seemed like the right-side of the brain was blowing steam.
Born in Colombia and raised in Miami, I graduated in May 2008 with a Master’s degree in New Media from Columbia University’s Journalism School. Immediately upon graduating I worked with the Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer where I did reporting and Web producing.