The Future Of Innovation ... It Is All In The Mind

Ms Martina Sheehan

I believe that the future of innovation rests in the individual human brain. We all have a complex and unique neuro-net that dictates our interpretation of the world around us. The combination of our experiences, our influences and our innate personality determines how we see the world, or at least how we interpret what we see.

I believe that the future holds a growing understanding of how the brain works and how this impacts on our response to our world. There are already mass market products that have opened people’s eyes to what scientists came to realise in the 1990’s: the brain is plastic and can be trained. While many of these products are just a bit of fun and focus on things such as avoiding the impact of aging on the brain, I believe they are just the beginning of a paradigm shift. The area in which we see this principle applied most seriously is sport. Anyone related to sport recognises that excellent performance requires more than physical capability. Without the right mental approach, a talented person will simply slip in with the masses. With it, they can be the best in the world. But is this just the luck of the draw, or is it possible to harness this aspect?

I expect that it will only be a matter of time before it will be commonly accepted that we can train our brains for any focus that takes our fancy. We do it now, but without conscious intent. What we use gets stronger and what we ignore gets weaker. So every choice we make in how we direct our attention and feed our brains is training our brains. Imagine if we took control and said “I want to be more innovative!”

What sort of brain training would make someone more innovative? I believe innovative thinkers need to be able to do 2 key things:

See a potential need

Generate potential solutions

Innovative thinkers of the future will therefore have brains that are strongly trained to:

Observe the world around them with curiosity

Recognise connections between seemingly unrelated things

Believe that there is always a better way

Care about the needs of others

Build on others’ ideas and enjoy it when others build on theirs

Believe there are no limits to new ideas

To have brains that are strong in these areas, they must train themselves to use these capabilities regularly and consistently.

If innovative thinkers are also to be good at applying and implementing solutions, they also need to do something that is exceptionally hard for any brain: move from open, creative, possibility thinking, to decisive, analytical, completion thinking. But even this is possible if we learn how to harness our brains and become masters of our own minds.

I believe the future of innovation is bright if we apply growing understanding of the human brain, and find ways to make it fun and rewarding for everyone to train their brain for innovation.

Article © 2009 Ms Martina Sheehan. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Ms Martina Sheehan

Ms Martina Sheehan

affiliation:   Reinvention

position:  Director

country:  Australia

area of interest:  innovative thinking

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Ms Martina Sheehan

Mind Gardener: The Clear Mind Guide

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