High Concept and High Touch: Learning To Excel In the Modern Workplace

    In Part 1 of this blog, I was discussing Daniel Pink’s book “A Whole New Mind”. His book focuses on the change in the American workforce in which left brain linear thinking jobs are being automated via technology and shipped overseas where labor is cheaper. As I mentioned in the last blog, the intention is not to scare professionals like lawyers, engineers, and programmers, is to alert them to the fact that the new way to excel is these fields is to tap into their more creative right brain thinking. This will allow these professionals to create new services and products that can’t be replicated immediately overseas.

     Pink asserts that we are entering the “the conceptual age”, whose main characters are the creator and empathizer, attributes of right brain functioning. He characterizes this age with the notion of “high concept, high touch”. High Concept meaning the “ability to create artistic or emotional beauty, detect patterns, craft narratives and combine unrelated ideas into novel inventions”. High Touch involves the ability to “empathize, understand subtleties of human interaction and pursue purpose and meaning”. So the question becomes: How do I tap into that creative right side of my brain?

     After investigating that very question, Pink devised an answer by creating the “six senses”. These are six specific high concept and high touch aptitudes that he feels “are essential in the new era”. The six senses include: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. 

  • Design: Products in the new area need to be more than just functional to sell. It needs to engage consumer by beauty or emotion.
  • Story: Information age means more than an effective argument that will meet a counterpoint is needed. Compelling narratives created by using persuasion, communication and self understanding will be more noticeable.
  • Empathy: Logic will always be part of the human experience. However, people who thrive will be able to understand others and how they respond/behave, create relationships, and show caring for others.
  • Play: Most of the highly respected left brain professions are all about seriousness. New research reveals that there are many health and professional benefits to having fun.
  • Meaning: In a world of abundance and material things, many people are looking towards purpose, transcendence, and spiritual fulfillment.

In part 3 of this series I will review specifics of each of these “six senses” and how Daniel Pink believes they can developed in everyone.

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