The days of business being all about numbers and analytics are long over. Today we understand how important creativity is as well. But what are the implications of right-brain thinking for entrepreneurs?
“Our brains are divided into two equal halves,” says Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Moving From the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. Pink believes that the abilities that got you ahead in business used to be characteristic of the left hemisphere: rational and analytical. While they’re still necessary, they’re no longer sufficient. Today right-hemisphere abilities, like artistry, empathy and synthesis rather than analysis are also important.
Three forces are driving this shift: an abundance of consumer goods, leading people to seek both meaning and function from products; outsourcing to Asia; and automation of routine work. Six key abilities for the Conceptual Age are design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. They’re difficult to outsource and automate and are in demand in the age of abundance.
Conceptual age abilities
- Design has become a fundamental form of business literacy. That means creating products, services and experiences that have the user in mind.
- Small companies are appointing chief story-telling officers because story is a form of knowledge management and product differentiation.
- To see the big picture and connect the dots is symphony, a signature trait of entrepreneurs.
- Good sales people test off the charts on empathy.
- The best organisations have a sense of play. If you hear laughter, you’re creating a good place to work.
- More people are hitching a sense of meaning to their business lives. Entrepreneurs are realising the only way to recruit talented people is to give them something larger than themselves.