Univ. Prof. Dr. Markus Hengstschläger, renowned geneticist and head of Academia Superior – Institute for Futures Studies, explained in his keynote speech for the Communication Management Study Progams of FHWien der WKW how to promote solution talent and why Possibilists can better drive innovation.
Has the future become more predictable or more unpredictable? How can we deal with uncertainty and what role does the ability to solve problems play? These questions were addressed by Prof. Dr. Markus Hengstschläger in his keynote speech for the Communication Management Study Programs at FHWien der WKW on April 26, 2021. The good news first: The ability to solve problems is genetically determined, but everyone can train it! The bad news: Nothing happens without training! The renowned geneticist and head of the Institute of Medical Genetics at the Medical University of Vienna makes it clear: “Genes are the tool, but everyone has to crack the nut themselves!”
Demand for innovations? – Get away from the average!
Is a round, purple-colored house with pink doors and no windows still a house? – Children’s drawings seem naïve, but hold the highest potential for innovation, which is often overlooked. The average house of today looks different, of course, but we are correcting our children far too much in the direction of the mainstream, the head of the Institute for Futures Studies explains. But do we really know what kind of houses will be needed in the future? He therefore urgently pleads for a balance between directed knowledge (e.g. a²+b²=c² or penicillin kills bacteria) and undirected knowledge (“soft skills” such as creativity, social competence, resilience). This should be trained in early childhood in order to promote problem-solving skills and drive innovation. Hengstschläger calls for this new way of acquiring knowledge to be integrated into our education system urgently in order to be able to keep up economically with innovative countries like Sweden or Switzerland in the future.
Innovative “during sleep”? – And the reason why there should be more Possibilists!
The best ideas come when you’re not thinking about anything? Brain research shows that the “stand-by” mode (“doing, but not thinking”) of the brain is optimal for activating the brain region called “default mode network”, and thus for creativity and innovation, explains Markus Hengstschläger. Walking, jogging, activities that are done without “thinking” are best suited to generate new ideas. But then the question arises: implementing – yes or no? The fear of failure is “part of the game”. The innate mechanism makes us more focused, more concentrated and allows us to make the right decisions even when we are in uncharted territory, explains the geneticist. This is where the Possibilists are needed, who dare to take the step and believe in the possibility of success, even if it involves risk. These are our innovators of the future – let’s make it possible!
The keynote was organized by the Competence Center for Marketing under the direction of David Dobrowsky for the Communication Management Study Programs. Many thanks to Univ. Prof. Dr. Markus Hengstschläger for his exciting lecture! Would you like to learn more details about this topic? You can find them in his book (in German): “Die Lösungsbegabung: Genen sind nur unser Werkzeug. We crack the nut ourselves!”