Guest Speakers for Innovative Brain Event Announced

We are delighted to announce that two very special guest speakers joining us at The Innovative Brain on June 8th at Dublin’s Gibson Hotel.

Conor McPherson

Conor McPherson is one of Ireland’s leading playwrights and screenwriters, and has won awards across the world.  He attended University College Dublin where he began to write and direct stage plays. Works for the theatre include Rum  & Vodka, The Good Thief, This Lime Tree Bower, St Nicholas, The Weir, Dublin Carol, Port Authority, Shining City, The Seafarer, The Veil, The Night Alive and most recently, the Olivier Award winning musical, Girl from the North Country (with Bob Dylan). Adaptations include Strinberg’s Dance of Death, Daphne Du Maurier’s The Birds and Franz Xaver Kroetz’s The Nest.

Awards for his plays include the Laurence Olivier Award, Three Tony Award nominations, The Evening Standard Award, London Critics’ Circle Award, Meyer-Whitworth Award, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, The George Devine Award, AWB Vincent Literary Award and an honorary D.Litt from University College Dublin.


Gráinne Millar, GM Innovations

Gráinne Millar has over 18 years’ experience in the private and public sectors facilitating innovation and collaborative projects across tourism, heritage and agri-food. She established and successfully developed the much lauded innovation project Culture Night from a small scale start-up in 2007 into an all-island phenomenon in partnership with the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht.  She is co-founder of the Merrion Square Innovation Network in partnership with Fáilte Ireland which has been recognised by the European Commission as a model of innovation in tourism development.

In conversation with Gráinne Millar, Conor McPherson will be speaking about the power of the creative process, touching on themes as varied as where ideas come from, developing and refining creative ideas, and the creative power of collaboration.


Does the brain matter in business?

Applied nueroscience can help organisational performance for the better

(Reproduced from Psychology Today Blog

(First in a series)

There is a huge interest in applying brain science in business at present. This is because neuroscience – the science of brain and behaviour – has emerged as one of the key and exciting sciences of the 21st century. Neuroscience explores the mechanisms that create you as a thinking, feeling and behaving individual, and of us, as humans.

Two good starting questions are:

1. Are there adaptive and practical insights from the behavioural and brain sciences to change business and business practice for the better?

2. More importantly, has progress been made that will allow us to apply such insights?

Happily, the answer to both questions is a resounding ‘yes’ and ‘yes’!

The brain matters in business: without a brain, you have no business. The brain is the most complex structure in the known universe. The brain is responsible for each of us being conscious, being able to think, feel and behave. The brain is also profoundly plastic, and can change for the better or worse as a result of experience.

Our brains have many biases, heuristics and predilections, and we know more about how to work with these than ever before. It is also true that behavior change is hard. Adopting tactics and strategies that are well-founded in the science of brain and behaviour can help individuals and organisations to adapt to the demands of the modern world.

Many conventional treatments of organisational life ignore aspects of human behaviour arising from the shared similarities of brain structure and function between individuals. Our starting point should be the simple reality that our behaviour arises from the structure and function of our brains. Modern brain research reflects this.

Neuroeconomics, for example, is emerging as an important discipline, as the sciences concerned with brain function, decision-making, and evolutionary psychology (particularly aspects of evolution concerned with altruism and altruistic behaviour) begin to merge in a common theoretical framework.

Social neuroscience is another important endeavour which seeks to understand how social behaviour is generated by the brain, and how the brain manages and is changed by social interaction.

Adopting tactics and strategies that are well-founded in the science of brain and behaviour can help individuals and organisations to adapt to the demands of the modern world.

I am delighted to be speaking at the ‘Brain for Business‘ workshop on the 8th September – some places are still available.

My new book ‘A Brain for Business – A Brain for Life‘ is available from June 2017. Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: A background scenario from organisational life. The scenario presented here is threaded through the other chapters, and provides a focus for thinking, and for the exercises associated with each chapter.

Chapter 2: Scene-setting, background information and tools for thinking

Chapter 3: Mindsets, Self-talk and Changing Behaviour: how the science of mindsets and of self-talk provides a potential route to allow individuals to control and change their behaviour.

Chapter 4: Self-regulation and Self-control: neural and behavioural mechanisms involved in the regulation of our behaviour over time, and how it is that we can exert self-control in a variety of different contexts.

Chapter 5: The Importance of Cognitive Biases: how we make reliable and systematic errors in our thinking, and how these systematic biases can affect the decisions that we make.

Chapter 6: Person Perception – How others see us, how we see leaders: how the mechanisms used for person perception and status determination are also the same mechanisms that are used for brand perception, and examines the consequences for leadership and organisational life.

Chapter 7: Working in Groups: how group deliberation and group decision-making occurs, and how to improve group deliberation mechanisms.

Chapter 8: Brain Hygiene, Optimising Expertise and Performance: how to ensure that best performance is achieved during the course of learning.

Chapter 9: Stress, Resilience and Positive Brain States:  building resilience in the face of the stresses and strains in everyday life, including organisation life, and it also explores focuses providing the necessary conceptual scaffold required for creativity and for ensuring the sorts of changes in behaviour that may foster positive brain states.

Chapter 10: Gender, the brain and organisations: a brain’s-eye view of gender and focuses on behavioural design to achieve cognitive diversity.

Chapter 11: Concluding Scenario Analysis: an overall tying together of the lessons and discussions offered through the book.


  • Shane O’Mara (2017). A Brain for Business – A Brain for Life. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.