Shortcut to knowledge about neuroscience

  7th February 2014      
 Company News

Learning and development professionals offered shortcut to knowledge about neuroscience and the value of insight and intuition within organisational learning

The pressures on learning and development professionals can mean they are so busy helping organisations cope with the intense scale and pace of change in the modern workplace that time for their own development is squeezed. In response, the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has today published three reports delving into the science behind learning and development (L&D). The reports summarise the latest developments in key areas which impact L&D and link to further reading for those who want a deeper understanding.

Research has shown that Britain’s employers rely too much on tried-and-tested methods and techniques to provide training to their staff at the expense of developing awareness and use of newer cognitive models and behavioural sciences. The CIPD reports aim to help bridge this knowledge gap to help L&D practitioners make the best, most informed decisions.

“Insight and intuition: the key to ideas and innovation,” supports L&D professionals in their quest to drive innovation and creative thinking in the workplace by revealing the science and language behind insight and intuition.

In the report, organisational behaviour expert Professor Eugene Sadler-Smith looks into the importance to organisations of conceiving and generating new ideas – or ‘ideation’ – and he explores the science which shows enablers and inhibitors to eureka moments.
He reports on how the insight process has been boiled down to a four-stage model, starting with mental preparation, moving through non-conscious incubation and illumination to verification – working out details of a solution and identifying whether or not it can be made to work successfully.

The report offers L&D professionals practice pointers to encourage innovation within their organisations:

When developing initiatives and interventions, be aware of the critical importance of thinking and perceiving skills in how ideas are generated and sustained.
Translate this into practical insights around both innovation and continuous improvement as a way of developing an organisational learning imperative.
Use basic thinking and diagnostic tools such as Remote Associates Test (RAT) to test and expose the importance of incubation and illumination in the innovation process. For example, what word connects ‘cottage’, ‘Swiss’ and ‘cake’? Discuss how processes such as incubation and distraction can help build innovation skills.
Use popular examples of iconic insight-generators like Einstein and Steve Jobs and figures such as Archimedes to explain how insight and intuition shape our world and propel organisations.

Use the more detailed tools outlined in the report to analyse and support the insight and intuition skills within organisations and, if possible, seek to diffuse them through coaching and talent programmes, building continuous reflection and awareness.
Have fun with intuition and insight – use some of the many creative tools which are available to build energy and enthusiasm for these skills.
Ruth Stuart, L&D Research Adviser at the CIPD, said:

“L&D professionals are used to helping others cope with the scale and pace of change in the world of work but they need to make sure they keep up too. Getting to grips with concepts like the science of learning and the cognitive processes behind innovation and idea generation are crucial if L&D practitioners are to play a critical role at this game-changing moment for the world of work.”

The CIPD is offering opportunities for L&D practitioners to build on the knowledge they gain from the reports at the L&D Show in London on 30 April -1 May. Seminars include:

“Adding innovation and flexibility into L&D practices”
“Creating a culture where intrapreneurs thrive”
“Neuroscience: investigating the science of effective leadership performance”
“Using neuroscience to enhance L&D effectiveness”

L&D suppliers exhibiting at the show will also be highlighting resources that tap into the science of learning and explore innovative approaches to development.

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