Fiona Kerr, Speaker – Scientist – Implementer
In this episode, I’m excited to welcome to the InnovaBuzz podcast Dr Fiona Kerr, Industry Professor (Neural and Systems Complexity specialist) at the University of Adelaide.
Fiona advises and presents on a range of topics regarding the neuroscience around how leaders build better brains and creative, flourishing organisations.
This is a fascinating discussion about leadership and what we can learn from neuroscience and Fiona’s research to become better leaders, improve our brains and those of the people around us. Listen to the podcast to find out more.We all physically and physiologically impact each other. @FionaKerr82 on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet
Listen to the Podcast
Show Notes from this episode with Fiona Kerr
Key points and take-aways from this episode include:
- Learn how Fiona’s study of Witchcraft at University led to her career in neuroscience.
- Human interconnection and relationships are critical to all aspects of leadership and Fiona explains what is happening in our brains that explain how this in fact works at the neural level and why this differentiates successful leaders from others. This is why great leaders have great communication, build trust and buy in.
- Each of us physically and physiologically impact each other. To understand what’s occuring in our brains when this happens, allows us to choose to make this work for us rather than against us. We are able to synchronise with others for good.
- Great leaders have a few common traits – they have a clear vision and desired outcome that is well communicated; they have a clear set of values; they have pragmatic optimism and “bounded optimism” allowing people the freedom to test boundaries and try new things, knowing they are in a safe environment.
- In remote teams, it’s really important to get together, in the same room, very early on. This creates a variety of physiological connections. If you do that very early on, the neurological changes that occur through direct interaction, means that technology can be used much more effectively later on.
- In teams, people need a clear mandate to work to. It’s important to clarify “permission to act” – is what they are being asked meaningful to them, do they have choice in how to achieve the outcome, can they bring their competence to bear, can they see progress, does it align with their values?
- Fiona Kerr’s Tips to take care of your brain – to encourage Neurogenesis, or growing a “new brain”. We know that brain cells are being shed all the time, but we can also build new brain cells, even in older age! It’s important to pay attention to things.
- Exercise – allows our brain to get sufficient oxygen. We were built to think while moving.
- Learn new things – “build new real estate, to grow the town”.
- Gut health – this impacts on the health of our brain! What you eat affects how you think and how good you feel about everything.
- Human interaction – we really do impact each others’ brain! Put your phone down and chat to people! Look them in the eye!
- Sleep – at least 7 hours, to embed the learning from the past period.
- Allowing yourself time to daydream, often allows you to come up with ideas and solutions to problems that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Fiona Kerr’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be more innovative – Observe, listen, watch and daydream. What’s being done and how can we do it better?
- Best thing for new ideas – Remove milestones and measures! Often, this drives people to get bigger, better, faster – they have permission to exceed them and to re-design them. Also, ask team members, if this was your business, how would you do it?
- Favourite tool for innovation – Give yourself permission to daydream – sit and think and map/draw when thinking.
- Keep project / client on track – Listen, ask questions, talk about it. Give team members permission to contribute.
- Differentiate – Ask: is this a problem that needs answering? Is this the right question? Five whys exercise – find out what the problem really is.
To Be a Leader
Think about and ask what people want, need and are missing.
Fiona suggested I interview Mary Freer of The Compassion Lab and also Gill Hicks of MAD for Peace, on a future InnovaBuzz podcast.
So Mary and Gill, keep an eye on your inbox, for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Fiona Kerr.
Links and Books
- Fiona’s Website
- Changing Our Minds: How great leaders rewire brains
- Look Into My Eyes
- Out of Touch with Gill Hicks and Fiona
- Technology and the human brain: how we work
- Fiona on Linkedin
- Fiona on Twitter
Cool things about Fiona:
- Fiona has worked with many organisations including Cirque du Soleil
- She is a member of Finland’s steering group preparing the country’s artificial intelligence (AI) program for the future.
- Fiona returned to university to achieve her PhD in Neuroscience after thirty years of working in and with many adaptive organisations and wondering what made some so successful and others less so.