Category Archives: innovation

Neuromyths Busting and Education


English: PET scan of a normal human brain

English: PET scan of a normal human brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The OECD’s Brain and Learning project (2002) emphasized that many misconceptions about the brain exist among professionals in the field of education. Though these so-called “neuromyths” are loosely based on scientific facts, they may have adverse effects on educational practice. 

Here the list of some of the biggest neuromyths, or misguided beliefs about brain functions and their impact on learning and education design:

1-We use only 10 percent of our brains.

Wikipedia collected the refutations of the myth in its  “Ten Percent Of The Brain Myth” page Neuroscientist Barry Beyerstein sets out several kinds of evidence refuting the ten percent myth, here the top three most evident for me:

  • Studies of brain damage: If 90% of the brain is normally unused, then damage to these areas should not impair performance. Instead, there is almost no area of the brain that can be damaged without loss of abilities. Even slight damage to small areas of the brain can have profound effects.
  • Brain scans have shown that no matter what we’re doing, our brains are always active up to 45%. Some areas are more active at any one time than others, but unless we have brain damage, there is no one part of the brain that is absolutely not functioning.
  • Brain imaging: Technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allow the activity of the living brain to be monitored. They reveal that even during sleep, all parts of the brain show some level of activity. Only in the case of serious damage does a brain have “silent” areas.

2-The brain is static, unchanging, and set before you start school. The most widely accepted conclusion of current research in neuroscience is  neuroplasticity: Our brains grow, change, and adapt at all times in our lives depending on stimulus received from our environment. Therefore the more we use our brain at any age, the more we can develop connections and learn new skills even new languages. Experts routinely take the time to learn, unlearn and relearn relevant information related to their fields of expertise. There is a lot of new research going on in the field of cultural neurosciences, looking at the relations existing between cultural dimensions and the brain’s plasticity. Although most people think that good memory means good retrieval, good memory is actually good learning–forming a strong association when acquiring new information.

3-Some people are left-brained and some are right-brained. Like many other myths, this one has emerged from a misunderstanding of experiments made by 1981 Nobel Prize winner Roger Sperry, who noticed differences in the brain when he studied people whose left and right brains had been surgically disconnected. Today, neuroscientists know that the two sides of the brain work together to perform a wide variety of tasks and that the two hemispheres communicate through the corpus callosum.

4-Male and female brains are radically different. Though there may be subtle differences between male and female brains, there is absolutely no significant evidence to suggest that the genders learn or should be taught differently. 

5-The ages 0-3 are more important than any other age for learning. Even though the connections between neurons, called synapses, are greatest in number during this period there are few studies that have to do with teaching during these “critical” time periods.

Still, there are some powerful insights emerging from brain science that speak directly to how we teach in the classroom: learning experiences do help the brain grow, emotional safety does influence learning, and making lessons relevant can help information stick. The trick is separating the meat from the marketing.

 Related resources:

Online Education as an Agent of Transformation


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Online education is beginning to show itself as a disruptive innovation, introducing more convenient and affordable services that can transform sectors.

Anne Egros‘s insight:

Online (higher) education or E-learning, will change the way students will learn and it will help serve students who cannot afford traditional on campus teaching today. With globalization it is inevitable that traditional learning processes will be challenged and prestigious universities may lose their competitive advantages to the benefit of more collaborative and multicultural entities.

However the need for face to face meetings will still be there. The students may meet in person in local clusters to work on projects while using online materials instead than on campus classes.

The word MOOC has been introduced to designate MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES (FREE ONLINE COURSES) OFFERED BY THE BEST UNIVERSITIES AND ENTITIES. Already many universities offer online free courses  The top three MOOC-makers are Coursera, Udacity, and EdX

Another trend in education is crowd-sourcing, an open way to solve complex problems by using social media tools to get fresh ideas through group collaboration. For example, I use Memrise.coman online learning platform that users feed with their own ideas on how to memorize a specific topic.

See on www.nytimes.com

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Creativity: What Leaders Can Learn From Jazz ?


Jazz

What makes Jazz different from other music styles and what has it to do with creativity and leadership ?

Jazz is an American music originated in the early 20th century in New Orleans with small bands of five-to-seven players. Jazz is a music that was played as a way to free musicians from the rigidity of standard dance or marching bands. Jazz was propelled commercially mostly as 12-to-15 musician big bands, in a style that became known as swing (1935-1945). Swing was built around highly rhythmic riffs with strong soloists (see most famous Swing Era Artists ) providing “breaks” or moments of spirited improvisation against backdrops of arranged composition.

What is interesting is the combination of structured compositions called “Jazz Standards” and totally improvised solos taken in turn by each musician. Sometimes the band has a well designated leader, especially in big bands but very often there is no leader and yet the listeners can hear great cohesion in  rhythmical momentum.

In jazz, the composition is secondary to the performance itself and the listeners can enjoy the unique style and musical personality of the artist. When listening to two trumpeters playing same notes in the same tempo and context we immediately know that one was Louis Armstrong while the other was for example Miles Davis. The first impression that affects the listener is the sound emanating from the instrument. The tone that is heard is an extension of that artist’s voice and on a deeper level, their persona.

In  cross-functional or multicultural teams each person brings her expertise, knowledge, language or jargon and unique personality. Like in a jazz band, creativity can be expressed to solve a problem or create a new product or service if the team members are fearless and feel supported to express their own ideas. The role of the leader is not to provide the answers but to foster an atmosphere of trust and at the same time being able to get productive outcomes and make decisions.

There is also an interesting aspect in jazz music: many musicians and singers don’t read the music but play by ear. That means the soloists and the band must listen to each other, be in the moment,  pay attention to subtle signals and intuition, feel the music and the “groove”. Creativity, like jazz and improvisation, cannot be learned at school or in a book, you must expose yourself, play and explore new paths to generate new ideas.

I experimented great moments of pure joy as a jazz singer. I never learned to read music yet was able to sing and improvise in very eclectic music styles during my years in college and beyond. The fact that I sang jazz also helped me to listen and appreciate better other musicians.

In conclusion, leaders should be like jazz musicians, more interested by the execution of the strategy than by the planning process, be able to make some risky decisions and not afraid of making mistakes in order to generate original ideas.

ENG

Related articles:

Jazz-Inspired Leadership: Change Observer: Design Observer

Leadership Lessons From The Geniuses Of Jazz

Practice Improvisation to Become a Faster and More Creative Thinker

De Bono Six Thinking Hats Method Summary


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Quote from the book: “Six Thinking Hat can help you think better, make right decisions, explore new ideas. De Bono Unscrambles the thinking process”

Anne Egros‘s insight:

Excellent Method For Managing Brainstorming Group Sessions

See on www.slideshare.net

Zumba Fitness: The Global Branding Machine Behind The Fun


Zumba ?  That’s more than just another fitness routine. it’s all about having fun, feeling energized, happy and emotionally connected with other people in the room. Zumba is about passion and lifestyle. It is also an incredible business story. Zumba Fitness was Inc. Magazine’s company of the year for 2012 and in January the same magazine nominated Alberto Perlman, 35, one of the top 5 CEO to watch in 2013

Since I took my first Zumba class in Atlanta in 2006, it has become a household name with 14 million people taking classes in 186 countries.! This is a great global business model.  In the US and Belgium where I lived before and now in Russia, the music, the choreography, everything is the same except languages of course but the instructors are highly qualified and they love what they do.

 “Best Employees Have More Passion, Less Experience”

Zumba InstructorUnited by their passion for Zumba and committed to very personal causes, five extraordinary Zumba instructors are making a difference for the larger community. Listen to their stories here

Zumba Fitness makes money by licensing instructors and by keeping the instructors tied into the Zumba system. They also make video games like Zumba Core. It has also  a line of clothing and sell Music on iTunes and CDs. It is also important to notice their global trademark strategy:  ZUMBA®, ZUMBA FITNESS®, ZUMBATOMIC®, ZUMBA GOLD®, ZUMBATHON®, ZUMBAWEAR® and ZLIFE® are registered trademarks of Zumba Fitness, LLC

For more Listen to Zumba co-founder on success of international fitness craze – CBS News Video.

What Zumba Fitness Teached Me ?

1-For me as an expat, I enjoy doing Zumba regardless of countries. It is familiar and it helps relieving the stress of the move and fighting the blues when culture shock strikes..

2-This is a great place to meet like-minded people and if you are happy and smiling you will connect more easily and make friends faster.

3-If you are passionate you can even become a Zumba instructor, isn’t it a great portable career ?

4-Global branding has to be consistent in term of delivering value. It can be about your personal brand or your business, but the “core” should be strong and the same everywhere you go. The idea is about discovering your true values and passion and start from there to grow.

Is Zumba For YOU ?

Please share if you get inspired by this story

Are Sociability And Klout Scores Related To Innovation ?


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

In the past decade, the word “friend” became a verb, the word “like” became a noun, and “tweet” became more than a birdsong.

In the original article “Do You Hire For IQ Or Klout Score? I have extracted the following interesting questions related to the shift FROM a knowledge economy TO a social economy

-How do you currently evaluate and place prospective employees?

-Do you consider the social influence of new talent in your recruiting process?

-Do you have a process for evaluating which types of projects should be managed collaboratively (socially) versus individually?

-Where appropriate, how do you encourage and foster social networking across your organization?

-How do you encourage and foster external collaboration outside of your company and across sectors of industry?

-What incentives and performance management systems do you have in place to encourage “creative teaming” vs. “functional innovation”?

-What are you doing to help your leaders understand their role in transitioning from a knowledge economy to a social economy

Here my comments:

I think we should start by evaluating the skills and personality types needed for each function and working environment.

Being social is just one skill that alone can’t make someone  or an organization creative or foster innovation.

I think good analytical thinking and judgement is very much-needed in a social economy as we are totally overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge we can get for free from the internet.

Too often people forget the facts and favor sensationalism or sentimentalism, even journalists don’t check their sources they find on YouTube or other social networks.

This article does not convince me that we have enough proofs to conclude that being social and having a high Klout score is linked with creativity and innovation.

Are you ?

See more on www.fastcompany.com

Invent Your Future Job: Be Unique, Be Social, Be Global


The fast-paced changes of our societies have affected all industries and is changing the nature of work for the next 10 to 15 years. There are three major challenges for the workforce of the future increasing pressures on organizations to become innovation centered, highly productive and a magnet for global talent :

1-Shifting demographic patterns: Over the next 10 years, the world population is expected to rise from the current 6.83 billion to approximately 7.7 billion, with most of the growth in emerging markets generating  high economic growth. We already see an aging and declining population in developed countries with slow economic growth.  U.S. and European businesses are dealing with the challenges of a multi-generational workforce with three distinct generations Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Employers will need to develop highly individualized solutions to accommodate the career needs of each generation. We will not see long careers of 10 or more years in one company but maybe 6 years with either functional or geographic changes every 2 years. The youngest  generation  will probably have 15 to 20 jobs during their career and multiple jobs at the same time because that is what they want to do.

2-Rapid technology changes: From nanotechnologies to neuroscience discoveries, many new technologies will be developed and globalization will continue to drive the utilization of advanced mobile technologies reshaping the workforce with increased telecommuting,  virtual  teams and overall more work flexibility.

3-Economic globalization  In our information overloaded global work environment, knowledge is not a competitive advantage anymore as it goes out of date extremely fast and anybody on earth with an internet connection has access to it in real-time. The critical skills to be successful in the new working environment are vision and  foresight.to anticipate or respond to change very quickly, make wise decisions and take action now to create a better future.

More than a year ago,  I had the chance to listen to Seth Godin “live” in a promotional event in Antwerp about the launch of his book “Linchpin”. I collected about 10 very interesting new ideas from his speech that I posted on a blog : “TOP 10 Seth Godin’s Quotes Made in Antwerp, Belgium. April 1, 2010”

Seth Godin is the bestselling author of more than seven books. He writes about marketing, the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect. His idea about our current economy is that the current recession is a “forever recession” because it’s the end of the industrial age, which also means The end of the average worker (Read more : article )

Nobody will ever be the only one on the market AND people have an infinite ways to access information. Humans evolved from Hunters, Farmers, Workers and now they have to be Artists-Seth Godin

HOW DO YOU BECOME UNIQUE  ?

1-You don’t need to become somebody you are not. Your uniqueness has to be authentic, you need to know who you really are, what is your dominant character, talent, personality, skills, strengths, what motivates you, what’s your passions in life ? How is your  business acumen and leadership style ? Can you summarize all those information in a compelling story for potential employers or clients?

2-You need to remove blocks that prevent you to excel at being truly you: fears, unmet needs, negative self-talk, lack of training and anything that is holding you back.

3-You need a vision, a purpose and a road map: No matter how old you are, how life has treated you in the past, how much money you have or how many debts, you need to give permission to yourself to have dreams, explore your possibilities and identify your options. We all have choices but we need to use our imagination to see them. You need to let your right brain expresses emotional intelligence and free the artist in you. Once you know where you want to be, then put your strategic thinking at work to identify your goals strategy and action plan to get you there.

BE SOCIAL, BE GLOBAL !

You can’t stop globalization even if you close borders and build walls made with bricks and mortars ! The internet, and social media make the world smaller and smaller everyday. Maybe your company is based in the U.S. but  vendors might be in India, and customers in more than 40 countries. That’s why multinational companies need employees able to think globally but communicate locally with cultural sensitivity. I like to use the term “glocalization” to instill the idea that global products and services need to be designed in the early stages of research and development with cultural sensitivity too.

You cannot claim to be a global leader if you have visited many countries as a tourist. It is like learning swimming in a book, you need to get into the water and get wet .

If you are still in college, learn key languages maybe Mandarin, Spanish, Brazilian or Russian will be a good choice in today’s economy. Find an internship or a job abroad for minimum one year.

If you are already a manager employed in a multinational companies, become the first on the list to be picked-up for an international assignment by participating in global projects and working with multicultural teams.

Learning a new language should not depends on age, you don’t need to be fluent but it is important to understand how a language is structured to get some clues about cultural values and unspoken social rules or business etiquette. You can learn about the fundamental cultural dimensions from colleagues or local intercultural clubs and of course online through many specific forums and social media.

Continued learning in a large variety of topics every day will become mandatory.

Where do you see careers heading in 2012 and beyond ?

 Have you invented your future yet ?

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