“The Organized Mind”

By February 13, 2019 May 16th, 2020 No Comments

Daniel J. Levitin explains organization via cognitive neuroscience principles, adding data and detail to many lean concepts along the way. Worker autonomy is called out as key to creativity.

‘The value of limited autonomy and the exercise of discretion by subordinates is not a recent development in organizational strategy, for companies or for the military. Nearly one hundred years ago, the 1923 U.S. Army Field Service Regulations manual expected that subordinates would have a degree of autonomy in matters of judgement, stating that “an order should not trespass upon the province of a subordinate.”‘

-page 278

“There’s a part of the brain called Area 47 in the lateral prefrontal cortex . . . Although no larger than your pinky finger . . . Area 47 contains prediction circuits that it uses in conjunction with memory to form projections about future states of events. If we can predict how some (but not all) aspects of a job will go, we find it rewarding. If we can predict all aspects of the job, down to the tiniest minutiae, it tends to be boring because there is nothing enw and no opportunity to apply the discretion and judgment that management consultants and the U.S. Army have justly identified as components to finding one’s work meaningful and satisfying. If some but not too many aspects of the job are surprising in interesting ways, this can lead to a sense of discovery and self-growth . . . We function best when we are under some constraints and are allowed to exercise individual creativity within those constraints. In fact, this is posited to be the driving force in many forms of creativity, including literary and musical.”

-page 287

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