Future Minds Lab investigates the thinking that will change how we work

The new UNSW project will use cutting edge neuroscience to advise how businesses can thrive in a world of constant technological change.

Most businesses need to innovate to guarantee long term success. But what does true innovation look like? Understanding the science behind innovation, and what makes some start-ups thrive and others fail, is the focus of the world-first Future Minds Lab which launched at UNSW Sydney this week.

The purpose-built research and applied lab, based at UNSW Psychology, will include a team of 20 scientists, designers and psychologists to study the fundamental brain science and psychology behind innovation. The research team will work with industry partners to produce products and services to improve the way institutions and businesses approach different forms of innovation.

“Our mission is to harness everything we know about neuroscience and psychology to understand and boost innovation,” says founder and director Professor Joel Pearson, based at UNSW Science. “We want to help supply the Australian work force with the skills they will need for the future of work.

“Using fundamental research and development, our team is creating products and programs to ensure workplaces and businesses are more resilient and better equipped to adapt to constant technological change.

“By using cutting edge neuroscience, we can discover what makes successful founders, teams and companies. For example, studying what makes someone resilient to setbacks, and how different people cope with the uncertainty that is inherent to any innovative venture.”

The lab, a 300-square-metre custom built centre with virtual reality rooms, testing stations, brain stimulation devices, neuroimaging tech and research offices, will be used to develop products such as customised cognitive tests for start-ups and psychological interventions and online education programs.

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