Rise of the Right Brain Thinkers

by Luke Wroblewski August 15, 2006

In a follow-up interview to his HOW keynote, Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind discussed why the “holistic, artistic and big-picture” right hemisphere of our brains is becoming more valuable in today’s economy than the “logical, linear and sequential” left hemisphere.

  • Abundance: because most of our material needs are met, its not enough “enough to create a product that's reasonably priced and adequately functional” it must be “beautiful, unique and meaningful”.
  • Asia: Outsourcing takes jobs that emphasize left-brained thinking overseas and leaves jobs that “depend on forging relationships rather, tapping emotions, handling novel challenges, and synthesizing the big picture.”
  • Automation: Computers are now doing “the routine knowledge work” that characterized many left-brain jobs.

Pink also outlines six senses that “will increasingly mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn't.”

  • Story: “the capacity to explain, understand and persuade not only with logic, but also with narrative.”
  • Symphony: “the ability to see the big picture, to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.”
  • Empathy: “the ability to read emotions, to empathize with people, to understand where they're coming from.”
  • Play: “bringing to work a spirit of joyfulness and fun.”
  • Meaning: “the pursuit of meaning and purpose is becoming a key part of middle-class life.”

“Fortunately, design is one profession that relies on all six of these abilities.”