Blog A Call for 21st Century Intelligence

A Call for 21st Century Intelligence

Araceli Camargo, cognitive neuroscientist and science communicator, encourages companies to enable a change in their work habits, with tools rather than processes.

Marcel Proust remembering his aunt Leonie and the smell of madeleines all triggered by nothing but a cup of tea - The memory of flying a kite - The pain we feel when we see someone else hurt - A quick decision that needs to be made. All these experiences are made possible by 1.5kg of tissue: our brain! 

We have seen neuroscience all over the media over the last two - three years, frustratingly a lot of if falling under pop science and great mythical story telling. We are not left and right brain thinkers, instead intelligence is the product of effective cognitive systems in our brain.

Neuroscience is not a tool for social engineering or manipulation, but instead can be used to understand behaviours, decision making, problem solving and intelligence, all three areas crucial for organisation and businesses.  

Our brains have evolved through its interaction and manipulation of our surrounding environment, this has meant a long history of learning and problem solving. This process seems to be a continuum; the more we learn and the better we become at solving problems, the more complex and ambiguous the problems become.

Intelligence in the 21st Century will be defined by our cognitive flexibility rather than the ability to follow patterned thought. In the 20th Century we valued hard skills, which made the workforce obedient and able to solve problems which presented a known pattern, all we had to do was follow instructions well to succeed. The problems of the 21st century need more than the ability to follow instructions. One of the main traits in cognitive flexibility is the ability to adapt, change, and manipulate salient stimuli. In other words, those of us who are able to effectively adapt the unexpected will be better poised to innovate and move forward. This cognition will value an intelligence, which is beyond academic achievement. It will learn to embrace change not fear it, be more empathetic, have a wider scope of field rather than being single minded, it will allow for polymaths rather than specialists, and it will be based on a strong questioning process rather than a focusing on answers.

Technology is opening new horizons and understanding to the inner workings of the brain. Understanding how the brain works and how we think is the start of creating new cognitive tools. One thing is to know that a Ferrari goes fast, another is to know why. The ability to create new tools has always been a measure of our intelligence. Effective tools has always allowed primates to survive and impact our environment. This era will be no different, but we need to start the change now.

Join the 21st century Intelligence Revolution by securing a space at Araceli's Cognitive Business Academy. E-mail for more information. 

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