Convention Keynoter Will Put You in a Right Brain Frame of Mind

By Keebler, Barbara | Momentum, November/December 2007 | Go to article overview

Convention Keynoter Will Put You in a Right Brain Frame of Mind


Keebler, Barbara, Momentum


The future no longer belongs to people who can reason with computer-like logic, speed, and precision

Visiting Dan Pink's blog is a mind-bending experience-appropriate for the best-selling author of "A Whole New Mind." There are factoids of the day to absorb, observations from his peripatetic career including speaking engagements from Sydney to Chicago to London. And lists. Mr. Pink is a great fan of lists.

Visit Dan Pink's Web site (danpink. com) and find equally absorbing material and another penchant-signs. From here one can be launched to YouTube to view an intriguing "pecha kucha" Power Point presentation in which the author takes just 20 slides-and about six minutes-to explain the impact of emotionally intelligent signage. Stay tuned for Mr. Pink's cogent explanations on Abundance, Asia and Automation, Choosing a Major or-later on-Switching Jobs.

There's an excitement and an edge around Mr. Pink that follows him on stage in his presentations to major corporations, government agencies and think tanks, to his brief appearances on YouTube-and even to his recent visit to the National Catholic Educational Association to meet with Karen Ristau, president, and Robert Bimonte, FSC, executive director of the Elementary Schools Department.

Their discussion focused on Mr. Pink's upcoming presentation at the NCEA convention but wandered to new research on-what else-the brain and how delegates attending the Indianapolis meeting will be both informed and entertained by this general session (March 27, 9 a.m.).

Mr. Pink is best known for his writings, including "A Whole New Mind," which sets forth the six abilities that white collar workers must learn to survive in an outsourced world. "Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself" explores the growing number of people, like Mr. Pink, who are self-employed. (Mr. Pink points out to his audiences that his last real job was at the White House where he was chief speechwriter for Vice President Gore.)

Now, in addition to writing, Mr. Pink is on the lecture circuit constantly and frequently heard and seen in the press, including ABC World News Tonight, NPR's Morning Edition, The New York Times and Harvard Business Review.

His belief that the era of left brain dominance is giving way to a new world where the right brain rules has opened up a whole new world for Dan Pink-and provides some astonishing insights for his audiences as well. Mr. Pink granted this exclusive interview to Momentum as a kind of special introduction to his upcoming appearance in Indianapolis. Please plan to attend with an open mind.

In your work you've noted that what matters most in one's life and in one's job is satisfaction or a sense of purpose. How do you measure that?

It's difficult to measure in the traditional ways with, say, a pencil and paper test. And, of course, it varies from person to person. But people know in their hearts whether they're living a life of purpose.

You've commented that the ideal degree is a joint degree-the MBA/ MFA- that you would get today if you were back in school. Do you see the higher education community embracing this idea?

Yes. There are actually a number of programs around the country that are moving in this direction. The California College of the Arts, an art and design school, is about to offer an MBA in design strategy. The Illinois Institute of Technology now has a joint business/design degree. And Stanford just launched its new "d school," which is the quintessence of this approach.

In your opinion, who are some of the greatest right-brain thinkers in this young century?

Muhammad Yunnus, who launched the microfinance revolution and won the Nobel Peace Prize, is the first one who comes to mind. I'd add Tim Berners-Lee, who essentially invented the World Wide Web. And at perhaps a more mundane level, I'd even include Oprah Winfrey-given what she's done with her charities and how she is the very embodiment of empathy.

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