Cognitive neuroscience will shape the future of corporate learning practices.

I love cognitive neuroscience because the discoveries from this emerging field of study validate the whole-brain practices I use in creativity and innovation training and development.

Research (and experience) tells us that creative and innovative thinking processes in our brains are built on the foundation of knowledge. The more you know, the more you can use creativity to convert knowledge into innovation.

Neuroscience has spawned an emerging field of neuroeducation

Nick van Dam, chief learning officer in global talent for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, has written an excellent overview of neuroeducation in “Inside the Learning Brain,”  published by T+D Magazine


The area of overlap between different disciplines, including cognitive neuroscience and education, has been identified as a transdisciplinary field of study called educational neuroscience or neuroeducation.

According to The Royal Society February 2011 report, The Brain Waves Module 2: Neuroscience: Implications for Education and Lifelong Learning, this field investigates basic biological processes involved in becoming literate and numerate, and explores learning to learn, cognitive control, flexibility, and motivation, as well as social and emotional experiences.

A working understanding of how the brain learns and performs is an invaluable new skill. It is essential for the future success of individual employees and their organizations.

Evidence-based results that have an impact on how companies should design and deploy training initiatives include:

  • Increasing knowledge of people is key to innovation
  • Active engagement is necessary for learning
  • All learning has an emotional base
  • Deployment of short learning sessions will increase knowledge retention
  • Focused attention is fundamental to acquiring new knowledge
  • Deployment of short learning sessions will increase knowledge retention
  • Multitasking slows down learning
  • Enhancing brain performance capacity supports learning

Learning techniques that have shown to enhance memory formation include elaborating, verbalizing, writing and drawing, and sharing learned information during and at the end of a learning session. Interweaving different subject matter categories during a training event enhances the learning process.

In the 21st century, companies will put much more emphasis on individual and organizational learning to innovate and compete successfully in a global knowledge economy.

How are you applying  discoveries from neuroscience to developing creativity and innovation?