May 162009

pavement_paintingI had the good fortune to hear Daniel Pink speak at Wharton this week on why right-brainers will rule the future. In essence it was a talk about how we can educate learners to ensure they have the skills they will need for what lies ahead, rather than skills learners needed in the past.

His argument ran that, while remaining important, the skills afforded by our logical, linear, sequential, analytical left brain will become less important. Meanwhile, right brain activities to do with artistry, inventiveness, empathy and big picture thinking will matter more and more.

Six abilities he cited as important:
Design         Storytelling         Synthesis          Empathy          Play         Searching for meaning/significance

Without exception, they strike me wonderful topics to explore in business English classes.

He backed his theory up with some interesting statistics and facts. A few snippets I found interesting were:

Medical students at Yale have a compulsory art criticism course where they are required to describe what they see in paintings in art museums in order to improve their observation skills and make better diagnoses.
Another one re medical students – targeted training in empathy for doctors has been found to improve  recovery rates among their patients.
In 1993, 61% of McKinsey’s new hires had MBAs. By 2003, the figure had fallen to 43%. They’ve been increasing the number of students accepted from other disciplines.

There are lots of video’s of Dan around, such as this one: Dan Pink on vodpod

You can also ‘click inside’ to see extracts from two of his books here:
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need

 Posted by at 1:09 pm

  2 Responses to “The rise of the right hand side of the brain”

  1. Dear Vicki,

    What a nice blog 🙂
    I’m a Dan Pink fan, too. I really liked his “bunk(o)” idea of doing up career advice as a magna comic.

    Hope you are doing well over there!

  2. Oh Anne, I loved your blog. So much interesting stuff there and the comic strips at
    are going straight into my next negotiation class! Thank you!

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