Revolutions of the Mind by Tony Buzan
The Ages of Mindkind
Since the dawn of Civilisation, the world has gone through a number of ‘Revolutions of the Mind’, each one increasingly short, and each one accelerating the change in the way we work, do business, think, and live.
The Agricultural Revolution/Age
After spending multiple millennia as foragers, itinerants, and nomads, Mindkind finally settled down, and for 10,000 years focussed on the development of villages that grew into towns; towns that grew into cities; cities that grew into Megalopolises. Throughout this time, increasing emphasis was placed on agriculture, and the development of trade. The fruit of this 10,000 years of relatively slow growth was:
The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution in a mere 200-300 years, transformed both the physical and the conceptual world, and again transformed the way in which we thought and lived. This Revolution, with its emphasis on the machine, gave rise to machines that could replicate thought: the telephone, the printing press; the radio; film; the television; and the computer. Suddenly the world was awash with data, and the Industrial Revolution had given birth to its own creative flower:
The Information Revolution/Age
This age dramatically accelerated the pace of change, giving rise to such seminal books as Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock. Many people had thought of the Information Age as the last stage in Human Evolution. They were quickly disabused of this thought, when it became increasingly apparent that we were mining an infinite lode of information. This led to the frightening reality of ‘Information Overload’ and the consequent realisation that something more was needed than simply infinite volumes of data. The short-lived Information Age, less than 100 years from its birth to its transformation, gave birth to its own flower:
The Knowledge Revolution/Age
In this age it had become apparent that the work necessary to deal with the Information Overload was the gathering of data into meaningful and manageable clusters; in other words, the Management of the Data – Knowledge Management. This Revolution survived even more briefly than the Information Revolution, when it became rapidly apparent that the Management of Knowledge was not ‘what it was all about’. For the Management of Knowledge to be effective, there needs to be a Meta- Management: The Management of the Manager of Knowledge. Only when the Manager of Knowledge knows ‘the Operations Manual’ for that self-same Manager of Knowledge and all other Managers of Knowledge, can the Manager of Knowledge manage both itself and other Managers effectively. And what is the Manager of Knowledge?
The Human Brain ￼
Thus, at the end of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st, we entered a new, and perhaps ultimate, Revolution and Age:
The Age of Intelligence
The Age of Intelligence, and the Management of the Manager of Knowledge, was ushered in by an explosive growth of brain research, a growing global fascination with the brain and its extraordinary capacities, and the increasing appearance of the brain in all forms of media, especially magazines.
Up until 1991, as far as our records show, no magazine had featured the brain on its front cover. The first magazine to do so (and it was as recently as 1991) was Fortune Magazine, whose front cover proclaimed: ‘Brainpower: How Intellectual Capital is Becoming America’s Most Valuable Asset’. In other words, if you want to make a fortune, invest in your brain.
The Fortune Magazine article opened the floodgates, and over the next 17 years, thousands of magazines featured the brain on front covers that had previously devoted themselves to various physical and human objects of desire!
In quick order the front covers of virtually every major National and International magazine rushed to jump on the Brain Bandwagon.
The Economist Magazine focused on Education and the Wealth of Nations, proclaiming that the more a Nation (or Organisation) invested in Education, the greater the Wealth of that Nation (or Organisation). In this instance wealth meant not only fiscal but also physical, cultural and spiritual.
Time Magazine, which has fallen in love with the Brain, having featured it on over 20 covers, has focused on Creativity, Memory, and the astonishing new finding that the Intelligence of the Brain is intricately connected to the way in which that brain has been nurtured, including the astonishing revelation that the physical Brain continues to grow if nurtured appropriately, and will dis-integrate if not nurtured well.
By 1995, New Scientist Magazine was proclaiming that the number of thoughts available to the average Human Brain was equal to the number of atoms in the known universe. In the same way we go through various energy crises while on a daily basis the sun gives us enough energy to manage all our energy needs for the next thousand years, pointing not to a crisis of absence, but a crisis of the use of resources, so it is with the Brain.
Harvard Business Review, at the beginning of the 21st Century, front-cover-featured ‘The Looming Creativity Crisis’. This crisis was considered greater than the threats of trade wars and all acts of terrorism. As with the sun, the crisis was (and is) not one of lack of resource; it is one of lack of management and use of an infinite resource.
Recently Scientific American’s new magazine, Mind, featured an entire issue devoted to Creativity and Innovation. The title on the front page proclaimed ‘How Brilliance Arises in Every One of Us’. In other words, the Global Scientific Community has come to the unanimous conclusion that everyone is fundamentally brilliant, and our responsibility is to nurture and harvest that brilliance.
The Intelligence Revolution also features a number of nations whose governments have decided that the fostering of intelligence is a prime national goal.
Singapore has committed itself to the development of Mental Literacy throughout its education system. It has also given itself the Motto: ‘Thinking Schools; Intelligent Nation’.
Malaysia’s Prime Ministers and government have launched a ‘Brain Revolution’ in which every child, by the year 2020, is to become conversant with all its brain skills, and as a result of this to lead the Nation to a powerful ‘First World’ status by 2020.
In Mexico, the former President, Vincente Fox, proclaimed to 10,000 delegates at the Annual United Nations Conference on Creativity and Innovation, that the 21st Century would be officially known as ‘the Century for the Development of Intelligence, Creativity and Innovation’.
In China, Creativity and Innovation have recently been proclaimed as major platforms in the next 5- year plan.
The Kingdom of Bahrain in 2007 and this year, has hosted and will host the World Memory Championships, under the umbrella of the Festival of the Mind, in order to bring awareness of the Multiple Intelligences and the Power of the Human Brain to the country’s children and adults.
And finally Dubai, where both the Royal Family, the government and the leading business institutions, are devoting tens of billions of Dollars to the development of the Intellectual Capital of their nation, and to the flowering of Creativity and a new Renaissance.
The Manager of the Future
What does all this mean for the Manager of the Future?
It means that the Manager of the Future will no longer be managing product. The Manager of the Future would be managing minds. The Manager of the Future will be living in a society where ‘labour’ no longer means physical work, but where ‘labour’ means intelligence work. In other words the Manager of the Future will be managing Intelligence Workers. This was emphasised by Bill Gates, who stated in a NewsWeek article that the road ahead will be forged by Agents of Intelligence and Mind Mappers.
The Manager of the Future will therefore need to develop his or her own Multiple Intelligences, and the Multiple Intelligences of all their co-workers. These Intelligences will need to include the traditional ‘IQ’ intelligences of verbal and mathematical, as well as the following equally important intelligences:
the ability to think rapidly and fluidly, to think with originality, and to be able to see all problems from multiple perspectives.
this is your ‘communication’ IQ, and is thought by Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University to be the most important of all IQs. This embraces your ability to communicate one-on-one, to communicate one to a small group, to communicate one to large group, and to communicate with all different types and levels of group.
your Physical Intelligence is your ‘Body Talk’, as well as your overall health. In the new hyper-competitive world, physical health is going to be vital. Why? Because the old adage ‘Mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy body gives a healthy mind; a healthy mind a healthy body’ is now medically proven. Your million million bio computer chips – your Brain Cells – are fed oxygen (their fuel) by your blood. If your blood is healthy your brain will receive ‘Formula One’ fuel.
this is the Intelligence that Leonardo da Vinci thought was the most important. It was once believed that our senses were static and unchanging receptors of information from the world around you. State-of-the-Art science now reveals that each sense is a ‘super sense’, and is a fabulously dynamic, sophisticated and adaptable system, each being a significant part of your Intellectual Capital. Development of Sensual Intelligence is essential in the Age of Intelligence.
this is a general Intelligence that refers to the development of each of the cognitive skills of the cerebral cortex (commonly described as the ‘left/right brain’). This Intelligence, which overlaps and integrates some of the other Intelligences, includes logic, analysis, words, numbers, rhythm, colour, spatial awareness, and imagination, can be developed, and needs to be developed.
Everything that has been described above is, in fact, a comprehensive description of Human Resource. Every brain in every company is an infinite resource that, in these new times, must be developed if the manager and the organisation are to achieve and maintain Competitive Advantage. The Manager of the Future has, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, therefore to Manage the Manager of Knowledge – the Human Brain. This new manager must be the consummate leader, and must also therefore develop the major qualities of good leadership:
1. Vision – the ability to clearly imagine the goal
2. Desire to accomplish the goal
3. Belief that the goal can be accomplished by the team
4. Commitment, totally, to the goal
5. Planning – short-, medium- and long-term
6. Persistence in the pursuit of the goal
7. Learning from mistakes
8. Deep and broad Subject Knowledge
9. Mental Literacy – the Knowledge of and Ability to use the cognitive processes and tools such as Mind Maps
10. Imagination and the use of imagination in goal setting and creativity
11. Meta-Positive Thinking
12. Auto-Suggestion – the ability to ‘self talk’ in Olympian fashion
13. Intuition – the ability to monitor and use ‘gut feel’, which should be called ‘brain feel’!
14. Master Mind Group – the use of only the best advisers for assisting the team
15. Virtual Master Mind Group – the role models on which benchmarking is based ￼
16. Transparency, Truth and Honesty
17. Courage and the facing of fears, and its relationship to learning from mistakes 18. Creativity (again!) and the development of flexibility, speed and originality of thought.
19. Love of and passion for the task
20. Energy – its development, maintenance and use
We are entering an Age the like of which the world has never seen before. It is an Age of Renaissance – the Renaissance of Renaissances. An Age in which Creativity and Innovation, and the flowering of the Human Mind’s Multiple Intelligences, really does enter a possible future that could be the Utopia of which so many of the world’s great visionaries throughout history have dreamed. You have the opportunity and privilege of being both its participant and its co-creator.