Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The benefits of the left brain knowing what the right brain is doing

In latest issue of Whatify magazine,  Graham Thatcher, Agency Director at MCC International considers the merits of the left brainer collaborating with the right brainer.

MCC International is a busy technology PR agency where we need the right balance of creativity tempered with structure and purpose. Our job is to understand what our clients need to achieve and then find creative ways to make it happen. I know my value to the team and I don’t need a Myers-Briggs personality profile to tell me that I am without doubt an ideas person, a ‘right brainer’. I rely on my highly organised and methodical ‘left brainer’ colleagues to work with me to make sure that these ideas are formulated into a results-driven plan and executed on time and budget.

There are some organisations that are highly adept at putting together teams that embrace ‘all of the talents’ (to borrow the phrase of the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown), such as those in the creative industries such as advertising, journalism, marketing, web design, PR and broadcasting. They are skilled at understanding the value of creativity and how, with right skills in place, it can be commercialised with great success.

In essence, collaboration and innovation is about recognising the true value of an idea and the left and right brainers then working closely together to realise its full potential. But for this to succeed, there needs to be education on both sides. For example, behind every successful chef you will find an astute restaurateur.

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting an artist who was painting from the back of her car on a pier in Cornwall. She told me that she could spend weeks, even months, engrossed in a single piece and gave little thought to keeping the local galleries supplied with her work. She relied on the commercially minded galleries to chase her for her latest works, or the odd opportunist such as myself to take an interest to provide her with an income. Conversely, I know many hugely talented people who are left brained in the office but right brained at home, but are either wary of taking the plunge and commercialising their creativity, or are totally oblivious to their true potential.

Realising the potential of creativity in its many forms represents a real opportunity for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, but the left brainers need to take the initiative. A prime example of a hotbed of potential is in many of our colleges and universities that are overflowing with right-brains, not just in the ‘traditional’ media and arts faculties but in fields as diverse as engineering, catering, architecture, IT and all of the sciences. The ideas and innovations are there in the classrooms ready and waiting to be commercialised, if only the right brainers can be alerted to the fact that there is a vast pool of untapped potential, and the left brainers can be educated that there is real money, success and acclaim to be realised from their creativity.

In truth the concept really isn’t new. As a nation we have a proud heritage in manufacturing the products that we invent. Through nurturing and collaboration we can transform good ideas into intellectual property that will have huge impact on the future success of UK plc and with the current state of the economy making sure the left brain knows what the right brain is doing and visa versa has never been more important.
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