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Andrew Penny, January 18 2022

How to Nurture Innovation in a Zooming World

I was listening to a conversation about intelligence and how we humans have evolved. The interviewee made a fascinating comment – “humans have effectively networked their brains”. Think about it. We share ideas our information with other brains on a regular basis. Parents’ brains ‘network’ with their children’s brains. We send emails to each other. We tell jokes at parties. We share ideas and co-create new ones. This network effect dramatically accelerates learning by our species. Here we are in a pandemic environment where ‘brain-to-brain networking’ has been dramatically changed. We still network (after all, you are reading this) but not in the same way. We are shifting from ‘real time’ communications to asynchronous communications.  Many leaders have found ways to thrive in this environment with new policies, tools and culture that create efficiencies and increase productivity.  But.... The co-creation we experience in real-time synchronous networking (live ‘brain-to-brain’ communications) is a vital part of innovation and learning. We need to find ways to make it happen.   Some suggestions:

Institute “voice only” days for internal communications (no chat, zoom, or email)Schedule regular “free for all” Zoom sessions with small teams. Give them an issue to resolve but encourage lateral thinking so that new, unrelated ideas, can emerge.Use the breakout rooms in your video chat sessions where teams work on various aspects and then share outcomes with the larger team.

 What have you come up with?   Please share your best ideas! 

See you next time, 


Written by

Andrew Penny

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