The Growing Role of Neuroscience in Business

Two recent articles, one by Kevin Randall at Fast Company (How Hollywood Studios Harness Your Brainwaves to Win) and the other published by Booz & Co. (That’s the Way We [used to] Do Things Around Here) show the continued emergence of neuroscience in business. Can Minority Report style selling be far behind?

I was first exposed to neuroscience in business at the Shopper Insights in Action (SIA) conference (sponsored by IRI USA) last year and blogged about Emsense. The use of the technology reminded me of the movie Minority Report where the hero of the story played by Tom Cruise walks through the mall and all the windows change to provide him with personalized “merchandising” as he walks by.

Well, Kevin Randall’s article is a fascinating briefing on how Hollywood uses neuroscience technology to develop and refine various aspects of their films; particularly to develop compelling trailers. I heard about this from Emsense (also mentioned in Kevin’s article) at last year’s SIA conference in Chicago. Apparently, that use of the technology continues to grow.

The article by Booz & Co. speaks about how our growing knowledge of neuroscience can help leaders understand human behavior and more specifically, how they can more effectively lead behavior-based change in their business (be prepared to learn about the interplay of the basal ganglia – the habit center, the amygdala – the center of emotions, and the prefrontal cortex – the center for thinking and planning).

This year at SIA 2011, neuroscience is on the agenda again. Jonah Lehrer, neuroscientist and author of How We Decide: The New Science of Decision Making, will undoubtedly push our understanding even further. Maybe that Minority Report style merchandising isn’t that far away.