While our approach is entirely science based, we also firmly believe that exploring the brain should be enjoyable and inspiring..
It is the wellspring of the most exquisite achievements in art, science and culture, as well as the source of war, destruction and cruelty. Both individually and collectively, it is the key to understanding our past and designing our future. And yet, remarkably, a focus on the brain is often left out of innovation practices and processes, even though it is the way in which we perceive and process the New and Different, as opposed to the Old and the Same.
The astonishing advances made in the neurosciences and various neuro-imaging techniques in recent decades have allowed us to ‘take a look inside’ to begin to understand how the brain actually works in practice, rather than just infer from observed behaviour. What emerges is not a kind of cognitive camera which meticulously perceives the world ‘as it is’. Rather, it is an embodied brain, whose evolutionary ‘purpose’ and corresponding deep biological architecture, is the maintenance, preservation and propagation of the living organism. You. Me. Us. Thus, the brain is not built for ‘objective accuracy’, but rather for the far more pragmatic evolutionary dictated function of selecting and interpreting relevant information which enables us to exist in our environment.
Understanding how and why the brain functions the way it does enables us to ‘hack into’ and leverage its natural processes to help us perceive ourselves and the world through new eyes. To change our stories. To innovate. In doing so, we open up a new world of possibilities, as our perception options – and the resulting actions – are far more fluid and malleable than we normally realise..
THE TOOLs and techniques
Central to the Unconscious Innovation approach is the recognition that the brain operates in different modes (expansive/ focussed, sleep/ awake, relaxed/ alert, logical/ imaginative, etc., etc.). By being more aware of the different operating states, we can then use very simple techniques to deliberately switch between them. It is not that one state is ‘better’ than another – we need all of them. Rather, it is about ensuring we are in the most appropriate state for the task at hand; having more of a Swiss Army knife in our cognitive tool kit, rather than just a familiar hammer to which every task or challenge looks like a nail.
Because we use the same brain in whatever we are doing, the tools and techniques are entirely transferable to a whole range of situations. This can be from undertaking research in the life sciences to leadership development, from creative design to improving business practices and from developing a human rights campaign to reducing stress and anxiety. And pretty much anything else.
Unconscious Innovation does not seek to replace your ongoing innovation or organisational processes or frameworks. Rather, the aim is to complement them and make them more effective by providing additional tools and techniques to give you access to new ways of thinking and to open up additional possibilities and choices. It is about combining your subject expertise with our tools.
As well as introducing the tools and techniques, a large emphasis is also placed on ‘why’ they work. Thus, workshops are most certainly a mixture of both theory and practice, as it is important for the integrity of the approach to develop an appreciation of the underlying processes which are occurring..