Nov 13, 2008

Right Brain is the New Left Brain

I absolutely hate to mention Oprah in two back-to-back posts lest you think I'm an Oprah disciple, which I'm not, however, I have to mention this. And in a piggy-back sort of way, this will be my first official Book Review post. Piggy back, because I didn't actually read the book. Oprah did. I just read Oprah's interview with the author. (Yes, I am jumping on the band wagon and adding Book Reviews to my blog, but in the future, I will actually read the book myself.)
"The right brain is finally being taken seriously." So says Daniel Pink, author of "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future." In an interview with Oprah, Pink said,
" is replacing our left brains by doing sequential, logical
." He added, "What's important now are the characteristics of
the brain's right hemisphere: artistry, empathy, inventiveness,
big-picture thinking
The supposition of his book is that we are now entering "a conceptual age - during which right-brained skills such as design & storytelling will become far more crucial." Might wanna read that again, babe. Storytelling. I am so in the "in." Artistry, empathy? I'm there, baby. This is my time to shine, finally! People like me, people who are fixin' to rule the world, have always been, says Oprah, "viewed as being 'woo-woo'." {{insert noise of record needle scraping as party record comes to sudden stop}} "woo-woo"? As in Shirley MacLaine woo-woo? As in point finger towards head and twirl vigorously woo-woo? OK, so the woo-woo is a little disturbing, but, hey, I kept reading and Pink brought me back to Wonderland.
Mr. Pink continued, "Financial firms are sending their back-office jobs overseas. But what do fine artists do? They create something new, unexpected and delightful that changes the world." EXACTLY! Except for the "changing the world" part, it's me all over. I've been lazy lately, avoiding my crayons and glue, but I'm still creating in other ways. So.... the secretaries, accountants, IT people, their jobs are being sent overseas, but the "woo-woo" people with creative, original ideas are going to be in demand.
Oprah asked a few "woo-woo" questions of her own, then landed the big one by asking Pink what right-brain ability he thinks we should all develop. Answer: "design - the ability to create something that has significance as well as usefulness." Examples: the lid on your coffee cup, lenses in your glasses, prescription bottles -- all are products of design decisions. Take a common product and personalize the design to make it more convenient or more desirable for some other reason.
Oprah was reading my mind as she led him gently into my zone by asking about the "story" skill he advocates. Bring him home, Oprah, dear. Pink pointed out how facts are everywhere, with the click of a button you can know all you want to know about anything.
"What matters now, " states Pink, "is the ability to put facts into
context and deliver them with emotional impact. That's what story
I am now bursting into chants "Think Pink! Think Pink!"

"We see the world as a series of episodes rather than logical
" says Pink.
YES! Someone understands me! I'm not the only one out here! For you left-brainers who need to know how this could possibly be useful, Pink explains: "companies are now using a product backstory as a way to differentiate items in a crowded marketplace." We have so many products from which to choose now, how do you decide? The backstory can help you decide. How a particular brand was made - whether they used American labor or whether they are environmentally friendly, for example, is part of the backstory and could influence which brand you purchase.

Backstory. It's been increasingly prominent, but subtle, in advertisements. In the back of your brain, you've noticed. Alex Steffen, worldchanging, explains backstory in great detail:

"As the public gains interest and personal investment in living more
sustainably, knowing the backstory becomes
increasingly important. Whether it's food, lifestyle products,
building materials -- most everything in the designed or built environment
-- a big part of making good choices involves knowing where things come from,
what's inside them, and how they got to point of use. If we know the backstory
as consumers, we can make good choices; and if businesses and designers know
they'll have to tell the story of their product, they make sure it's a story
someone would want to hear."

The trick, if I understand Mr. Pink, is to design a backstory in a creative & inoffensive fashion, which requires a storyteller. Storytellers historically are right-brainers.

Get it, you left-brainers? Now . . . Think Pink!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now, Val, if you were only left handed, you would be totally in your right mind.