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Download CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5 Download Illustrator CS4 I hope I helped you! Yes thanks, this information helped me a lot, I downloaded Adobe Photoshop and is very happy with it.

Archive for the ‘Cognitive Training’ Category

NeuroGaming 2014 – at the Cognitive Edge!

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Imagine combining brain-computer interface technology, transcranial direct current stimulation, emotion sensors, eye tracking. other physiological sensors and augmented reality gear with interactive game play.  What a brew for cognitive designers! Well that’s what you will get at the NeuroGaming conference and expo, May 7 -8 in San Francisco at the Metreon.

Using brain signals to control game play opens up many possibilities beyond entertainment.  There are specific panels at the conference that will explore how neurogaming can accelerate wellness, learning and other cognitive functions.

Best of all you can go hands-on in the expo and experience:

* A brain controlled light and sound show
* Throwing trucks with your mind
* The latest brain wave reading headsets and devices
* Virtual reality and full immersion environments
* Haptic, motion and gesture control
* Neurocmodulators that electrically change brain states.

You will see both medical and consumer grade applications.

There is even a two day hackathon the weekend before the conference where you can design, build and show off your own neurogaming concepts.

I hope readers that attend will share their insights here on the Cognitive Design Blog.


Move a Cursor with Your Mind

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

In one of my cognitive design workshops I have participants work with commercially available brain-computer interfaces and try to move an object on the computer screen with their mind.  This frustrates most participants but for the 25% that can do it well it is a transformational experience.   By relaxing or giving a thought command (e.g. “go up”), a mental state is translated into an action of the computer screen. Through trial and error they learn to adjust their mental states to get the desired outcome on the computer screen.   For the first time a multi-media representation of an internal thought or feeling  is used as a feedback signal to drive learning.

This simple exercise (when it works) demonstrates how the latest brain science can revolutionize our approach to learning, decision-making, creativity and other cognitive and mental performances.

This is basic neurofeedback but until you do it you lack the direct experience that is so valuable for excellence in design and innovation work. 

Neurofeeback is not the only experience a cognitive designer needs. Others include plasticity, mirror neurons, cognitive illusions, magnetic stimulation, electrical stimulation (e.g. transcranial electric stimulation) and other forms of neuromodulation that are informed by the latest brain science.  For readable review of some of the recent research check out  Education and Neuroscience: An Expert Review on the ThInk blog.

While the promise that neuroscience holds for improving education and all brain-intense human activities is tremendous, progress has been slow and is likely to remain so. As one of the researchers points out:

“Realistically, on current trends, future development is likely to be slow, especially given the ethical and safety concerns”

One way to speed things up is to make creative use of approaches that have already proven to be safe and effective.  That is why I spend my time creating experiences for designers and innovators. With simple brain computer interfaces, neuromodulators and magic kits we can already disclose new worlds.

Once seen there is no going back.  Learning to move a cursor (or any object) with your mind is a gateway experience for would-be cognitive designers. How many design and innovation courses or programs offer that?


Micro-Learning as Key to Soft-Skills Development

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Every year organizations and individuals spend billions of dollars and countless hours to develop soft-skills. These include personal productivity and interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork, creativity, assertiveness, influence, self control, time management and the ability to work well under pressure.  Often developing soft-skills are part of a larger attempt to build even broader competencies in areas such as leadership, innovation, emotional intelligence or personal effectiveness.

Building soft-skills means reading how-to books, taking seminars, being coached and doing developmental exercises or projects. While such efforts can  lead to increased motivation and conceptual knowledge they often fail to produce behavior change and improved business or personal outcomes.  I have dramatized the situation for a hypothetical training class below.

While most participants in the training class will give high marks to the experience (happy! score on evaluations) and pass a quiz demonstrating conceptual knowledge, few will achieve lasting behavior change that translates into improved organizational or personal outcomes (e.g. increased sales or weight loss).

The question is what are the people at the lower right of this graph doing that others are not?

They are showing a positive deviance that we need to understand. They have mastered a technique or small set of vital behaviors for converting general advice and how-to knowledge that they glean from reading and training  into new outcomes.  If we can understand and replicate that we have an opportunity to dramatically improve the impact of our investment in soft-skills.

I have conduct several studies aimed at answering that question. The results are clear.  People getting the most out of soft-skill development efforts are able to take the macro-scale concepts and techniques taught in books and seminars and break them down down into small short experiments they can try in a real setting on a regular or daily basis.  In short, they are natural born micro-learners or they have coaches that are.

I am going to discuss these studies and how we can use the results to improve the impact of soft-skills development at the Online Learning Conference in Chicago that runs September 17-19 at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center. I will be doing three speed sharing best practice sessions on Thursday morning 8:15-9:00 am. You can access the supporting handout HERE.

Hope to see you there.


Can Our Minds Be Hacked?

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

A recent episode of Through the Wormhole explored that question.  They examined how experts can ask questions and read eye blinks to figure out which playing card was drawn  from a deck, use an fMRI machine to build up a dictionary that maps brain states to the things we see in the world and use a neurofeedback device to help us achieve peak performance and learn new skills 230% faster.

The work on neurofeedback for peak performance is being done by Advanced Brain Monitoring.  In the show they demonstrate how their neurofeeback device can be used to help amateurs mimic the brains states of an expert archer to accelerate skill development in using a bow and arrow.  The device is shown to the right. Note the clip at the neck line. For learners, it sends a haptic signal to let them  know when they have achieved the expert/flow brain state.

They are also using the device in number of other domains including improving teamwork in complex settings.

Definitely not an off the shelf solution but it is ready made for research oriented cognitive designers.


How to Develop a Multi-Frame Thinking Habit

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

It is widely understood that rigorously thinking about a problem from multiple perspectives can give rise to creative solutions.  New frames take thinking in different directions.  For example, understanding a customer complaint as an opportunity to learn and innovate rather than a painful problem is a classic reframing.  New frames also create the opportunity for a synthesis especially if you have a lot of them.  The parable of the several blind men touching different parts of an elephant illustrates the point. Each blind man describes only part of the elephant – a long smooth tube (a tusk), a flat velvety surface (ear), a thick tree trunk (leg) and so on.  It is only by synthesizing or combining these various frames that we come to understand the elephant.

Despite being widely understood, few have mastered multi-frame thinking.

Fortunately, there are many excellent techniques for generating and combining multiple mental frames. One of my favorites is DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats. In this technique, trying on a new hat is a metaphor for generating point of view. Each hat also has a color that denotes the specific mental frame you need to adopt. For example, when you wear the white hat you focus on listing just the facts of the situation. But  when you wear the red hat you  focus on your feelings and intuitions about the situation including likes, dislikes, fears and other emotions.  There is even a blue hat your wear to manage the overall thinking process and synthesize the multiple perspectives created from the other hats. You can use the six hats by yourself but it works better in a group. While it may seem trivial at first if you use it with discipline and rigor it can produce good results.

Another proven multi-frame thinking technique is stakeholder value analysis. In this business-oriented technique you list all the parties or groups that have skin in the game and describe how they receive and contribute value to the situation. For example, employees are an important stakeholder group in a company. They contribute value through their time, effort, creativity and loyalty and they receive value in the form of a pay check, benefits, meaningful work and personal satisfaction.  Seeing value in both tangible ways (time, effort, money, benefit) and intangible ways (creativity, loyalty, meaning, satisfaction) has proven very important for the modern organization.  It has also helped to give voice to new perspectives about how to think about the environment and future generations as important stakeholders and the need to balance purely economic thinking with social concerns.

General  methods for multi-frame thinking include:

- Lateral and divergent thinking
- Helicopter and systemic thinking
- Structured inventive thinking
- Appreciative intelligence
- Visual sense making and metaphors.

To get good results you need to use these methods with discipline and rigor. Ideally, they will become a matter of habit. This means applying them on a regular basis until they become an automatic thinking response.

To help you develop a multi-frame thinking habit I have created a mobile learning program called NewHabits.   It includes a mobile App called Reframe that covers 25 specific techniques you can apply to generate multiple perspectives on situations at home or work.  Each technique is described by a knowledge card that quickly explains the concept behind the technique and recommends a specific action for using it.  Cards take just a few minutes to play but trigger small bursts of learning from experience. These small steps accumulate over time into significant new skills and habits.



Going in Circles as Best You Can!

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Have you ever noticed that most improvement methodologies have you going in circles?   Consider the examples below.

1.  The Shewhart cycle (made popular by Deming) of plan-do-check-adjust that has been used in one form or another by nearly every organization on earth.

2.  Kolb’s learning cycle, perhaps the most successful model of how adults learn from experience.

3.  The method of validated learning (build-measure-learn) in the lean start-up movement that is sweeping the globe.

4. And even the scientific method itself.

This means there is a common architecture for learning, innovation and change making.  It is used by the most successful coaches, leaders, entrepreneurs and activists.  In my classes on leadership and innovation at Northwestern University, I present the common architecture for improvement as follows:

To get good at this you need to be skilled at each step (set the stage, try, observe and interpret), be able to manage motivation and willpower and otherwise move through the cycle fast and cheap.

That is a tall order. To help clients and students get good at going in circles, I have created a  free mobile learning program called NewHabits. The program consists of decks of knowledge cards, including for example,

Each deck includes 25 proven practices for getting better at one of the steps in the improvement process. A card in the deck “sets the stage” and gives you something specific to try to get better at observation, interpretation, willpower or whatever you select.  Having 25 cards in a deck keeps you going through the improvement process multiple times.  Cards are designed to fit into your daily work or home routine and takes just minutes to play.  Each card is one small improvement step but the effects accumulate over time into significant new competencies and habits. In other words, the App will keep you going in circles until you get better!

The neat thing about NewHabits is you can write a deck of knowledge cards to address many behavior change and skill building challenges.   For example, you can create decks to improve sales skills, customer service, teamwork or creativity.   Or on the personal front knowledge cards are a good way to approach money, relationship and health challenges.   I’ve taught hundreds of clients and students how to write knowledge cards and invite you to do the same.


25 Small Steps to Your Innovation Calling

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Innovation requires tons of personal energy and professional will.  In the best case it flows from a deep attachment to a particular problem or opportunity.  Something about the challenge or how you see approaching it stirs your heart, mind or soul. In short,  the most effective innovators are energized by a calling.

Finding or creating an  innovation calling takes time. And you need certain skills and habits of mind to do it.   While you most likely won’t find it by reading a book you can cultivate the skills and habits needed to eventually develop one.  At least that is the spirit behind an assignment I give in my graduate class in the Foundations of Leadership at Northwestern University.

The work is guided by a set of 25 knowledge cards (example to the left) that students access from NewHabits  a free iPhone and iPad App or from a private social networking site.  The knowledge cards describe a proven practice for getting in touch with your innovation calling. The idea is to build these practices into your daily routine until they form habits.

While each card is only one small step toward finding your innovation calling the steps can add up. To see this effective check out a log recently created by a student documenting some 20 small steps.  An excerpt is shown below.

After using the deck for a month the student concludes:

“The deck has all the elements to develop a leadership calling.  To put it broadly, find something you are passionate about (stir mind, heart, soul).  Find an opportunity to create value and follow through on the compassion.  All of the cards are very doable (take two minutes, find one way, make a short list, etc.) and will be useful as I progress in my career.”

Give the calling cards a try and let me know how they work. What idea do you find so compelling that must take action on it?


Are You a Skilled Observer?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

How often do you really pay attention to what you see, touch, smell, taste and hear? And when you do pay attention how do you do it? Do you use specific tools and techniques?   If you want to be an effective designer or innovator you need to be an active observer. Indeed, good observation skills are important for all professions and everyday life.

One way to get better at making observations is to practice using a proven technique for a few minutes everyday.  I have assemble 25 proven techniques in a deck of knowledge cards.  Each card briefly introduces the technique and then suggests a specific way to practice it. An example is given below.

A simple practice that teaches you to engage and integrate odors into a perceptual stream that is normally dominated by sight and sound.

You can access all 25 knowledge cards for building observation skills in NewHabits, a free iPhone and iPad application. Give the deck a try and let me know how they work for you. Especially interested in your ideas for new knowledge cards for observation skills and other topics.


Exposure Therapy: Experience Design Pattern?

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Imagine being able to design an experience that is so powerful it transforms  someone with a deep fear of spiders into someone that could touch a tarantula.  Now imagine this designed experience is only 3 hours long and creates lasting effects on the brain regions associated with fear that can be detected with a brain scan 6 months later!

That is exactly what researchers at Northwestern University achieved in a study of 12 adults with lifelong debilitating spider phobias.   Participants went through a single  3-hour session of exposure therapy as described below.

“During the therapy, participants were taught about tarantulas and learned their catastrophic thoughts about them were not true. “They thought the tarantula might be capable of jumping out of the cage and on to them,” Hauner said. “Some thought the tarantula was capable of planning something evil to purposefully hurt them. I would teach them the tarantula is fragile and more interested in trying to hide herself. “

They gradually learned to approach the tarantula in slow steps until they were able to touch the outside of the terrarium. Then they touched the tarantula with a paintbrush, a glove and eventually pet it with their bare hands or held it.

“They would see how soft it was and that its movements were very predictable and controllable,” Hauner said. “Most tarantulas aren’t aggressive, they just have a bad reputation.”

The cognitive and behavioral features of this experience design are clear. The question for innovators is will they work to produce rapid, deep and lasting behavior change in other contexts?

More generally, is exposure therapy a reusable design pattern for shifting mental models and producing lasting behavior change?


Do We Have Enough Energy to Control Ourselves?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

With a mountain of behavior-based health problems, ethical concerns and spending problems that answer is no!

There are lots of demands on our time but even more demands on our mental energy.  Watching, thinking, learning, deciding, stressing and controlling our own emotions, impulses and behavior all take a tremendous amount of mental energy.   As we start to run out of mental energy our cognitive performance and willpower begin to slip.  If our supply of mental energy runs too low our attempts to stick to our goals, resist impulses, manage biases when making decisions, learn deeply and other attempts at conscious self-regulation fail.

Mental energy is a limited resource.

Mental energy appears to be more than biological energy and brain sugar. There are subjective components including a sense of vigor and motivation.  This means our attempt to manage mental energy should include both psychological and biological interventions.  This point is illustrated well in a recent post of the science of willpower blog that look at temptations that actually boost our willpower. The temptations  include psychological tactics such as watching others pursue goals (e.g. reality TV) or a humorous or cute video as well as biological tactics including naps, snacks and caffeine.

From a cognitive design standpoint these are great tactics because they can be integrated easily into daily life, are science-based and avoid the paradox of using willpower to build willpower (we naturally want to do them).

Interestingly, the science behind some of these claims (those focused on glucose) have recently come into question.   For example, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania claim that the  Brain’s Willpower is not Fueled by Glucose.  This might signal a larger role for psychological tactics or even a powerful placebo effect.

Understanding the nature of mental energy and how to manage it through scripted interactions and experience is of central concern to cognitive design. How else can we create effective behavior change, learning and innovation programs? At the very least we want designs that avoid wasting mental energy and in fact seek designs that maximize mental energy on both a biological and psychological basis.

I am interested to hear from readers about what you do to keep your mental batteries charge on a daily basis. What advice do you have for creating, maintaining or otherwise managing mental energy?

Source of Image: Futurity