I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s book “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future” and so far it’s been filled with many interesting idea. According to Pink, we are approaching the end of the era of the knowledge worker; the guy who’s been told from a young age to go to school, get good grades and become a doctor or engineer. His theory is that a world ruled by material abundance, technological advancements, and globalization, people need to rely more on their right hemisphere than the left.
According to cognitive psychology, the left hemisphere of the brain is the captain of logical and analytical thinking, while the right hemisphere takes care of creativity, emotions and intuition. Just like relationships between men and women usually have men dominate because they’re more rational than their emotional counterparts, for years, the left hemisphere was seen to be superior than the right hemisphere. However, now it’s seen that no hemisphere is better than the other, but the two hemispheres are just unique in their own way.
Looking at our current educational system, it focuses a lot on developing the left side of the brain, when the focus nowadays should be on the right. Think about it, all those math problems we had to solve during our SATs could be done using computers nowadays. Also, outsourcing work to places where it can be done faster and cheaper means that for a person to stay marketable, they have to focus on the things that can’t be mass-produced using a machine. That’s where the Right Brain kicks in as developing it would help people become more innovative, detect new opportunities for the new age, create artistic beauty and emphathize with others to understand dynamics of human interactions.
Also, Pink mentioned about how the market is filled with so many commodities that what would make one stand out isn’t functionality alone, but also the design. Reading that made me think about Apple and their breathtaking products. There’s a quote by Steve Jobs where he defines creativity, and talks about the importance of nonlinear thinking in design, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”
Daniel Pink goes on to speak in detail about the six senses; Design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. His idea is mastering these would help one shine in the new post-knowledge-worker era, but since I haven’t finished the book yet, I guess this is where my half-review ends. I’ve read Daniel’s Pink Drive, and I have to admit that I like his writing style because it doesn’t exactly read like a boring textbook, but the research he has done is quite solid plus he’s got exercises on how to master the six senses.
So what’s your insight on the topic? Do you think it’s the end for the knowledge worker, and the beginning for the creative worker?