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  • Donna Wilson

COLLECTIVE BRAINPOWER

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

Someone clever at Spark Foundry recently wrote “Strategy and planning are not the same thing. Our strategists forensically seek out opportunity for our clients. They illuminate the path to objectives delivered. Strategy is unfair advantage and we take it seriously”.


Nicely said, and I’d like to build on that.


Whilst we have a specialized band, group, cluster, union (insert collective noun) of communication strategists we don’t sit on a pedestal orchestrating from afar, we work with and amongst the team to enhance the power of our collective thinkery.


My point is, that whilst some champion the strategy activity; we all have the ability to think strategically and our collective work is enhanced when people that don’t have the word strategy in their title, contribute to bigger picture thinking from the perspective of their discipline.


Taking a wee step back, one might say that strategists are right brain thinkers and others are lefties. But I personally think that would be misconstrued.


Traditionally it is thought that the “left hemisphere is rational, and the right is fluffy and creative”.


Michael Haupt, Certified Strategic Foresight Practitioner (the best title ever) believes it’s more accurate to represent the brain where “the left is rational, conceptual, literal, straight-laced, abstract, verbal, analytic - and its raison d’être is to narrow things down to a certainty. Whereas the right side is empathetic, receptive, intuitive, metaphorical, humorous, holistic…and it’s raison d’être is to open things up into possibility”


He goes onto say that “In problem solving, the right hemisphere presents an array of possible solutions and the left hemisphere, by contrast, takes the single solution that seems best to fit what it already knows and latches onto it.”


But aren’t there “left-brained” people and “right-brained” people?


According to Psychology Today: “No. While the brain’s left and right hemispheres do handle distinct functions, their duties aren’t strictly divided according to broad categories like ‘logical’ or ‘creative.’ People can't be split neatly into groups with special strengths based on one hemisphere being more dominant”.


Whilst the discipline of strategy is specific, skilled and nuanced, to me, this research implies that we all have the capacity to think with both sides of our brain, all the time and that we apply ourselves according to the task at hand or by habit.


So, there we have it. Backed by science, we all can think strategically even if you’re a typical leftie; it’s a question of application and/or practise.

We all know that communication plans, insights and solutions are both deeper and broader when there are diverse thinkers and people with different experiences as part of the team. Add to that, the most effective teams allow its members to have equal airtime, it’s time for us all to embrace our ability to think strategically from our own discipline and expand our total collective brainpower.


Sources:

Michael Haupt, Certified Strategic Foresight Practitioner: What’s the Real Difference Between Left & Right Brain Thinking? July 2016. Psychology Today: Left Brain - Right Brain. Charles Duhigg: What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team, Feb 2016


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