Brain elasticity

I had blogged about inter-disciplinary work in an earlier post comparing Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson. I’m convinced now more than ever. So much that I wish I could go back in time and redo my undergrad in a multi-disciplinary setting.

Here’s why. Our brains inherently like contradictions that steer it in different directions. There’s a lot of neuroscientific research that points in this direction. It is becoming easier to virtually take a seat and watch our brains do their thing while solving problems. A bit like the movie Being John Malkovich.

What is evident that it is important to stoke the brain every now and then with different starting points to any solving problem to arrive at different results. Albert Einstein was spot on when he (apparently) said it’s plain stupid to do the same thing again and again and expect different results. Multi-disciplinary education pushes our brains to look at the world from more angles than others who tend to be straight jacketed.

Lateral thinking guru Ed Bono essentially said the same thing with all his work in getting us to think outside the proverbial box. I once had the opportunity to see him present. He illustrated using plain old transparencies beamed by a projector how merely throwing a new (even artificial) constraint can sometimes result in better outcomes. One such example is how Shell invented horizontal drilling (now the global standard) when posed with a new constraint on a century long (vertical) drilling method.

All is not lost. Indulging in adjacent or even totally unrelated subjects is now easier than ever with internet in general and MOOC (Massively Open Online Courses) in particular. For a start, I’ve enrolled myself in a couple of courses in design and Big Data on Udacity. I hope this spurs me on to experiment further and keep my brain as a constant contradiction of ideas. A cauldron of sorts producing a steady stream of brainlava…


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