I came across an interesting article in Fast Company yesterday, titled “Connection: How Technology Explains the World,” which focuses on recent work from Tiffany Shlain, who reports on internet culture. Shlain makes a pretty fascinating point: technology and the Internet are changing mankind and our way of relating to one another.
Now this alone isn’t groundbreaking—clearly the Internet has brought unprecedented access to information and allowed people to connect in new ways. It has brought many areas of the world into a more prosperous and healthy existence. Shlain goes a step further, though.
“We created computers as an extension of our brains, and now we’re connecting through those computers and the Internet cloud as a way of expanding them,” she says. Wow—now we’re getting into (literally) evolutionary thinking on this.
But whether or not you think that we’re literally evolving via technology, the point is critical for organizations and the way to think about work or, more specifically, how work gets done. Think about technology and the way you use your brain to utilize things like social media, the internet, and mobile web. It’s the ultimate depiction of both left and right brain thinking—the necessity to understand connectivity in a very open way and relate to new people and ideas (right brain) while harnessing the power of organization and analytics (left brain).
This TED talk from Iain McGilchrest, called “The Divided Brain,” expands upon this point in a really simple yet compelling manner.
The talk looks at how the brain is actually physiologically more divided than ever, but that this doesn’t mean that we think in one hemisphere over the other. The combination is the key, with the left brain focusing on things that are already important and the right brain vigilant on what might be important.
Hmm…sounds like a perfect metaphor for what organizations need to do to thrive. Brain science as a metaphor works really well, but let’s actualize the concept and think about your employees. Although, as Emergenetics professes, every employee has the full spectrum of thinking and behavioral facets, we also have clear tendencies. People have preferences around a focus—some are hyper-vigilant around those processes and ideas that are important and proven for success; others get jazzed by being on the lookout for the next idea and the big breakthrough.
The beauty of having technology at our fingertips in an organizational setting is that we can create an equation for maximizing talent and contributions:
- Connectivity + Understanding of Employee Brain Preferences = Greater collaboration and an ability to realize the full spectrum of the brain’s built-in tendencies
- Greater Collaboration and Realization = Higher Performance
It is an exciting time with technology and relating it to the human experience; the key now is to continually develop technology in ways that enhance how we as humans and organizations run best.