Agile and the Enlightenment – Reframing Human Capital in a Column by NYT’s David Brooks

My previous post talks about “the survival of the fittest” and what motivates us.  I included videos from Dan Pink and Dr. Dan Ariely that question our very assumptions about what makes us work well.  The videos show that we’re not all about reason and the carrot and the stick, but sometimes we just want to do things because we emotionally connect to the actual doing.

Today, by coincidence, New York Times Columnist, David Brooks, has an article called The New Humanism.  He says:

This growing, dispersed body of research reminds us of a few key insights. First, the unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind, where many of the most impressive feats of thinking take place. Second, emotion is not opposed to reason; our emotions assign value to things and are the basis of reason. Finally, we are not individuals who form relationships. We are social animals, deeply interpenetrated with one another, who emerge out of relationships.

He also talks about how this has implications for how we view human capital.  He relates our thinking back to seeds sown by the French (versus the English) Enlightenment.

Sir Ken Ken Robinson gave this talk, below, which also holds that our particular Enlightenment legacy is adversely affecting the way we educate our children:

He talks about the fact that our current system of public education was motivated by an economic need (the Industrial Revolution), but that it was haunted by assumptions about human nature that posited capacity for deductive reasoning and knowledge of the classics as a foundation for the very ability to become educated.  What we now call “Academic Ability.”  Sir Ken concludes the video by saying that in fact the system ends up directing students to find one answer (individualism) versus many answers (Divergent Thinking).

In any case, it seems we are on the verge of a new Enlightenment.  What Brooks has discussed (in the Times and in a recent book) you might see as really being about the team. It is my belief that Agile in its emphasis on team is an expression of this revolution.  And this is at the root of a completely new way to function in business and society.  Let’s see.

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2 Responses to “Agile and the Enlightenment – Reframing Human Capital in a Column by NYT’s David Brooks”

  1. Ronald Woan Says:

    I think you meant the David Brooks link to go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/opinion/08brooks.html

  2. magwep Says:

    Yep I did – thanks! fixed

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