Business and the Brain: what can you rely on?

I’ll soon be heading off to a conference of Social and Affective Neuroscientists, to hear what they’re learning about the brain vis a vis culture, empathy, social Interaction, and health, plus a debate about mirror neurons. It’s a heady mix, to be sure. My meta-question is:

    What can we trust our brains to tell us?
    How do our brains bias what we perceive?

I’ll no doubt have new reflections to share next month.

Meanwhile, two rich books and an article have my neurons firing: Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler's Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, and from Sunday's New York Times Just the Facts, All of Them. Gilad Elbaz, a Techno-preneur turned social entrepreneur believes that knowing all the facts a) is possible and b) will set us free from the seemingly endless conflicts that squander our energy. Diamandis and Kotler provide abundant evidence of the power of innovation – past and present – to surmount seemingly insoluble problems. Kahneman chronicles brain research through 2011 to illuminate how our brains bias what we ‘know.'

All three bring what we know into serious question.
Thus: how reliable are the assumptions and assessments on which our business models are based?

All three would say, “not reliable.” Certainly we have plenty of evidence of that from the past four years.

Another interesting insight that emerges from Abundance and the Times article: base your business on what you’re absolutely committed to. I agree. As a Business Anthropologist, I have been reflecting for decades about what business people can count on. Here my friends the Social and Affective Neuroscientists have something important to offer: we can rely on people knowing who is committed to them.

Thus my suggestion for a business model you can rely on: build your business from your core promise.

It will certainly challenge your thinking. And that’s good, right?

 
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