Updated: Feb 12, 2020
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink is a book that describes the specific competencies (he refers to them as “senses”) that the author claims that workers in the United States will need in the “Conceptual Age”. In his definition, “Conceptual Age” is the timeframe starting now and will continue for the foreseeable future. These competences, or senses, are in essence the characteristics that businesses will need to ensure are present in their workers, their organizational cultures and their products and services. Pink describes each of these senses in detail, each in a separate chapter of the book:
Artistic/design sense – will be needed to move beyond the function of a product in order to fully engage the senses of the consumer
Empathy – will be needed to move beyond simple logic and instead draw on intuition and feelings when developing and/or marketing products to consumers
Ability to create a narrative or tell a story – will be needed to move beyond making an argument in favor of product or service to creating a story in which the consumer can feel involved
Ability to synthesize – will be needed to move beyond the details and fully understand product or services fits within the “big picture”
Ability to derive meaning – will be needed to communicate the purpose and meaning of product or service
Playfulness – will be needed to bring humor and fun to products and services.
In addition to describing the above senses that will be needed in the Conceptual age, Pink reiterates and expands on points made by Thomas Friedman and others concerning technical jobs moving to Asia, automation of work and the increasing abundance of consumer choices. He claims that these changes are the key indicator that the Conceptual Age is beginning now. In this book he was able to explain clearly and support what “thinking differently” may mean for Americans going forward. In addition, he provides a useful list of resources and advice to hone your skills in each of the Conceptual Age “senses.”
We recommend this book because we believe it was well-written and logical, and it challenged us to think about our own opportunities to develop in these areas. We have analytical personalities, which are not known for having excessive amounts of the particular attributes that may be more important in the future – artistic/design sense, empathy, ability to create a narrative/story-telling, synthesis/big picture thinking, ability to derive meaning/purpose and playfulness. We will continue to discuss how we might further develop in these areas.
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About the author: Paul Gillard, PhD
Paul fancies himself as an author but has never quite found the time and focus to write the book he knows is within. Instead, he periodically creates short Organizational Realities Blog postings about the things that strike his interest. He hopes that you find the ideas, concepts, and options he shares both insightful and helpful.