Q4 Gregory Berns on the Iconoclast Brain

This is the second session I didn’t expect to connect with…yet found it very interesting. Gregory Berns is the chair of neuroeconomics at Emory University. Basically, he’s a very smart dude, and recently wrote a book entitled Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently. Some quotes I gathered from his talk…

  • Iconoclast = someone who tears down icons, or conventional ways of thinking.
  • Three roadblocks to innovative thinking: Perception, fear and social intelligence.
  • The brain uses only about 40 watts of energy. There is a partial truth to the fact that you only use 10-15% of your brain at a time. That’s because your brain doesn’t have enough energy to power more than that at any given time.
  • Imagination uses the same circuits in the brain as perception.
  • Fear is processed in the amygdala.
  • I think there is only one fear that we truly have…the fear of being alone. Almost all fear is socially based.
  • Fear is damaging to creativity in the workplace.
  • It is extremely rare for one person to have all three qualities (a grasp on perception, fear and social intelligence).
  • Even though you likely don’t contain all three of these qualities, you can have a team around you in areas where you aren’t strong.
  • Our brains are hard-wired to be social. We want to be part of something. And we want to do it with others.
  • "Aha" moments of creativity and innovation rarely happen in your normal place (i.e. home, work). It often happens when you are out of your normal comfort zone

Gregory's final note: It is the job of CEO's and managers to create environments where iconclasts can flourish. Tim's Note: That makes my heart beat fast...that is part of what I love doing!

Tim StevensComment