Last week our Head of Strategy, Chris Baker, spoke at the APG’s Noisy Thinking session, which is their flagship series of events addressing proactive questions. The theme was ‘what inspires you?’ and here is what the APG had to say about his talk: 

Chris Baker was up to that old planning trick of changing the question to say what you want to say.  And he managed to do it both relevantly and elegantly. He’s inspired by the brain. So he asked somewhat tautologically: What inspires the brain?

And using that other clever planning trick of putting up a great big picture of the brain on the first slide, managed to convince us that he is super intelligent before he’d even opened his mouth. (Wonderful bit of BE in action there).

Chris is interested in affective neuroscience – neuroscience working with psychology. And he’s fascinated by the brain’s ‘Seeking System’ which is what we need to survive and thrive in the world. It helps us with a sense of community, with learning and passion and purpose, and insight and ideas. In 'The Archaeology of Mind’, Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven talk about the Seeking System being an energiser for creativity. And this is forced into the background when we are overwhelmed by anxiety or fear. The current 24-hour disaster newsfeed has a tendency to bring out defeatism and boredom in place of creativity. Chris thinks it’s a bit weird that we characterise our era as being overwhelmed by threats, since they are mostly imaginary or over blown any quantitative measure we have way less to fear than any previous generation.

So he gave us 2 hacks to work against this:

1) Dwell on Trump and N Korea less, and seek inspiration more
2) Creating little wins: The dopamine hits you get when you seek outa truth or an insight and get what you are looking for. And as luck would have it - this is our job. 

He went out with a wonderful maxim: 'Think like a squirrel not a mountain climber' (and to appreciate that one, you really have to wait for the video of the show which will be out soon).