This morning Jonah Lehrer, author of HOW WE DECIDE presented a very inspiring and fascinating keynote address on how our minds work and how we can utilize the way our brain works to solve impossible problems and innovate.
First, he observed that instead of working long hours focusing on resolving an issue, we gain insight and clarity through relaxation and meditation - and that must be part of innovation culture. We can train to become insight machines.
Secondly, failure is the birthplace of innovation. Logic doesn't lead to creativity, risk aversion doesn't help you get it right. Listening to your intuition isn't always the smart thing to do however, it's an important part of innovation. The only way to get it right is to make all the mistakes that can be made. Welcome dissent in your teams, open the floor to criticism - it is vital.
Lastly, he shared psychological and social insights from the Marshmallow Experiment, which tested children's ability to delay instant gratification. One thing that he noted was that children who had the ability as early as from age 4 up to not eat the marshmallow actually did better in life.
The kids who didn't eat the marshmallow were able to do delay gratification by not thinking about the marshmallow or rather distracting their minds. This skill is an essential skill for life. The only thing we can control in life is what we pay attention to and what we focus our thoughts on.
Valerie M. Russo is a Senior Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a technology, anthropology, marketing and publishing business acumen. She is a published poet and also maintains a literary blog. She may be reached at email@example.com. Follow her @Literanista.