From innovation to marketing to culture, is your approach young brain or old brain?

Generation Gap

Today’s post is a reflection on a talk that I heard whilst at an event last week that, I believe, applies to all organisations, their people and their ability to evolve, innovate and stay ahead in these changing times.

On Friday of last week, I attended TEDxBrighton, where the speakers were sharing ideas on the theme: The Generation Gap – it’s existence and importance in our lives, our cities and our businesses. It was my first visit to a TEDx event and I really enjoyed it.

Anyway, the first speaker up was Tim Drake, who talked about the difference between young and old brains. It’s important to point out that his subject matter was focused more on mindsets rather than brain physiology. During his talk he discussed how he has looked into research around brains and ageing and told us some fascinating things including that:

  • We get more anti-social as we get older.
  • People get more nervous of crowds as they get older.
  • Shared experience and the importance of being involved with crowds is very important to the young.
  • Young brains like fun, change, reinvention.
  • Old brains like their comfort zones.

He then shared a slide about the differences between young brains and old brains:

Tim went on to describe, in more detail, what he saw as the six wisdoms of today’s youth (Click on the image to enlarge it):

  • Openness to change
  • Being open to people
  • Action-orientation
  • Having fun
  • Being positive and designing tomorrow
  • Looking after yourself, then others

Tim Drake Young Brain TEDxBrighton

It was a fascinating talk and, if you are interested, Tim delivered a similar talk at The Do Lectures earlier this year which you can view in the video below:

Now, you may be asking what has all of this got to do with the themes that I explore here on the blog? Well, it struck me whilst Tim was talking that these attributes could be used to describe the sort of cultures and marketing and ways of working that are typical of those businesses that are not struggling today but are thriving in these tough times.

With this idea in hand, I suggested this to Tim in the lunch break and he agreed, suggesting that companies like Google typified a ‘young’ brain approach to business and businesses like Microsoft an ‘old’ brain approach.

Now, if this is true, and we look at those characteristics and wisdoms again and apply them to our business strategy or culture or our marketing or whatever part of our business……what would we find? Would we find them typified by being by being ‘young’ brain or ‘old’ brain?

Would that be a cause for concern? Find too much ‘old’ brain then I think it might be a concern and could hinder your ability to change and innovate across your business.

Remember that this is not about age but about mindset. A ‘young’ brain mindset is more likely to be open to change, more innovative, more collaborative and more open to the possibilities of the future.

So, what are you going to do to cultivate your ‘young’ brain?

Thanks to xflickrx for the image.

Note: I write this blog as I am passionate about companies that do great things and provide great service to their customers. I help others to do great things too. If you’d like to find out more then have a look at my Consulting page or just get in touch here.

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