Be a Big Brained Company!

recent study out of the Trinity College of Dublin has discovered that there appears to be a correlation between larger brain pans and human cooperation and teamwork:

Scientists have discovered proof that the evolution of intelligence and larger brain sizes can be driven by cooperation and teamwork, shedding new light on the origins of what it means to be human.

Although I’d like to throw up my hands and say something extremely scientific as “Duh!” but these guys are fellow experts in their own field and I love learning more of the backend research around such things as these!

But what’s fascinating is how often I meet business owners of large companies as well as entrepreneurs in much smaller organizations reject the importance of the team, especially in comparison to specific and individual people.

Although you won’t hear it officially stated or on anyone’s forward facing marketing or collateral you will hear it amongst the staff and in and out of the halls of the office environment; an overly-dependent culture on the founder or specific team members thus relegating the others to simply supportive roles.

How unfortunate since we believe that all team members have the capacity and potential to be considerable contributors to the team and overall business – although there may be some stronger personalities on the team outwardly there is strength among those who may not speak so openly.

And I love working with the teams where there is obvious (or at least to us) hidden potential that can significantly blossom with a shift in cultural thinking as well as using a device and instrument that helps clarify people’s aptitudes and styles of influence.

The the “big brained” companies get it – they are more than the sum of their individuals and staff members, they are the collective force of high performance teams in a collaborative and cooperative corporate culture.

Author: peter

Peter Saddington is an Organizational Scientist and Certified Scrum Trainer. You can find him at AgileforAll.com

5 thoughts on “Be a Big Brained Company!”

  1. Peter, I enjoy most of your posts, but you’re really off-base on this one. Go back and read your own 10 Commandments of Logic post: You’re playing dangerously near the edge of violating a few of them.

    The quote you pulled was not from the original research. There is no such thing as “proof” in empirical science based on statistical models. Whomever wrote that summary of the research in the Communications Office of Trinity College is a scientific ignoramus, and you shouldn’t have quoted it as though scientists are in the business of “proving” things. It is true that with an overwhelming amount of statistical and observational data, we lift a hypothesis to the level of calling it a “theory” and give it a special place as a scientific principle, but no single study can ever provide enough information to make a theory … and even theories are falsifiable in principle.

    Next, you lifted that information far out-of-context of the original study and its relevance to drawing a biological conclusion in the field to lend support to your claim. I think everybody should know that those results were obtained on *simulated* computer brains not *real* brains! The researchers’ 50 brain computer models that were run through a series of computer games (also vastly simplified over real-life interactions) were so simplistic and unlike real brains that its virtually impossible to draw any conclusions about the correlation in real organisms. There is nothing wrong with computer simulation per se, as they can be quite helpful in research, but let’s put simulations in context: Simulations can point you in the direction of possible real-life biological relationships but never be used to draw firm conclusions about biological organisms. Only empirical research on organisms themselves can be used to draw conclusions about organisms.

    Indeed, your post makes a fine point about cooperation. However, don’t pull weak information out-of-context and pass it off as a strong basis for your main point. Educators have utterly failed to teach people what science is and how science works, and you jumped right on the bandwagon spreading misinformation. Well … I must get a message out to the Trinity College Communications Office now. Let’s just hope they get their act together before they do any further damage.

    1. Luke,

      Appreciate the in-depth comment! I’ll have to take another look at the study for sure.
      I could, however, as a scientist, give an excuse for my failure here, but I won’t. Sometimes I’m not correct. Sometimes I make mistakes.
      I take your feedback 100%! That’s whats so great about the scientific… or rather, communities at large.
      Oh by the way, Ward Cunningham would say something here… wouldn’t he? “The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it’s to post the wrong answer.” – Cunningham’s law.

      Thanks for your insights here 🙂

      1. Sorry if that came off a bit harsh. I just heard back from the author of the study regarding my concerns. He basically said that I was wrong … and a jerk to boot! Oh, well. One tries … and fails. I stand by my remarks technically; however, I’m definitely not making any friends over at Trinity College in Ireland. I’m literally “persona non-grata” in Ireland now! lol That’s too bad, because I love their beer!

        1. Lol. He might not have an open mind as I do. Those who enjoy learning don’t worry about being corrected. That’s the very essence of science anyway. Trying something, being wrong, trying again, learning.

          Thanks for your readership friend!

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