Five traits that boost your connectional intelligence
Want to solve problems faster? Learn to unleash your connectional intelligence.
Erica Dhawan: A few years ago a leading scientific company had a specific challenge. It was a toothpaste company and they make different fluorides for their toothpaste, but there was a big mechanical problem, the fluoride was getting stuck in the equipment and it wasn't meshing well. The company had engaged all their top chemists to try to figure out what the problem was and no one could solve it. It was taking months and months of time and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars at that point. So the executive on the team said, "You know what, we have not been able to solve this, who else could we engage? What other networks could help us solve this problem?" So the company ended up posting this fluoride challenge on a website called InnoCentive, which is a community of crowd source scientists who come together to help large companies solve scientific challenges. Within a few days of posting this fluoride challenge a physicist, who lived in Canada, looked at the problem online and said, "This isn't a chemistry problem; it's a physics problem! It's about charged particles," you charge the fluoride one way, the toothpaste the other — instantly the problem was solved.
Colgate learned a few things from this experience. The first thing is that they never even dared to ask the physicists at their own company because they had labeled it as a chemistry problem. The other thing they realize is: that physicist that solved the problem may have never been hired by Colgate, he didn't have the traditional resume, he had had different careers throughout his life. And so in today's world we can access and engage expertise in a radically different way to find real time solutions. And those that may have the answers are those that choose to contribute. They may not be who we suspect are the right people to contribute.
In my book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence, my co-author Saj-nicole A. Joni and I distilled connectional intelligence into five specific traits. We looked at companies and leaders around the world and found that there were specific skillsets that you could use to build your own connectional intelligence, and they're called the five C's of connectional intelligence.
The first C is curiosity. And we all think about curiosity as the ability to ask great questions, but from a connectional intelligence perspective curiosity is the ability to design your questions so that other networks outside of your own can engage to help you solve those problems. So, if you think about when you're solving a problem today, how can you not only be curious to ask who you traditionally go to, but how might you design your question to engage a new community, a different resource, an outside perspective from another company or even outside your industry that could lead to a new and different breakthrough solution?
The second C of connectional intelligence is combination. And combination as we all know is the root of innovation combining disparate ideas, people and resources to come up with something entirely new and different. So as you think about combination how are you leveraging your combination skills of different resources within your company across teams, across business units at different levels in different regions of the organization, and far beyond with companies and customers and other stakeholders that could help create and forge new business solutions, new opportunities, and address challenges that you may be facing?
The third C of connectional intelligence is courage and we all know that courage is such a key part of all of the key ways of connecting. And when I define courage from a connectional intelligence perspective it's really the ability to be able to have difficult and different types of conversations, but not just raise those conversations, being willing to amplify and sustain them over time. Because we know that having a one time connection doesn't create breakthroughs, it's those people that are willing to be courageous, to continue those conversations over time. Often it could take years to really lead to that breakthrough, but it's that sustaining of the courageous conversation that creates that. So as you think about your own courage, how many courageous conversations are you having every day? Are you sustaining those conversations over time? And what might be those forms or avenues that would allow you to amplify your own courage? Who do you surround yourself with and make connections with that makes you courageous yourself?
The fourth of C of connectional intelligence is community. And we all know that community is such a big aspect of this; finding different networks of people that can care about similar things, that can spark ideas together. And what we found with connectional intelligence is those that really tap into this superpower are those that see communities far beyond traditional forums, far beyond the traditional hierarchies. So it could be a community of moms in the company at Unilever that have a new way of thinking about what their customers might need, or it could be a network of Latino employees at Frito Lay who realize that there's an opportunity for a guacamole Doritos chip that turned into $100 million product for the business. So communities can be far beyond our traditional spectrums of what people's roles and traditional sources of expertise are. So, as you think about your own communities, what communities are you involved with? What informal, formal communities, what internal and external communities do you engage with and how might you be able to leverage them, not just for what they're traditionally known for, but what are the problems they could solve for you, for your team, your company and beyond?
And the last C of connectional intelligence is combustion. So once you have courage, curiosity, community, combination — it's about, how do you allow it to mobilize and combust? Combustion is the ability to mobilize and curate your communities, to create added value. So it's when you've built your community, it's when you've tapped into the courage of that community that allows those people to create value in a new and different way.
- Erica Dhawan explains the five C's of connectional intelligence: curiosity, combination, courage, community, combustion.
- Using case studies from Colgate and Frito Lay, Dhawan explains how networked problem-solving can create million-dollar opportunities.
- Connectional intelligence is a teachable skill set that leads to big-picture thinking. Expertise doesn't come top down from ivory towers; genius ideas are everywhere — if you know where to look.
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
Yet 80 percent of respondents want to reduce their risk of dementia.
- A new MDVIP/Ipsos survey found that only 35 percent of Americans know the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
- Eighty percent of respondents said they want to reduce their risks.
- An estimated 7.1 million Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from Alzheimer's by 2025.
Credit: logika600 / Shutterstock<p>Remaining healthy requires regular screenings. Here again we see a disassociation between risk reduction and proactivity. Seventy-seven percent of respondents don't talk to their doctors about lifestyle habits that support brain health; 51 percent have never been screened for depression; 44 percent have never had a neurological exam; and 32 percent have never been screened for hearing problems. </p><p>Common early warning signs of dementia, <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/americans-worry-alzheimers-disease-survey-140644803.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">according to</a> Dr. Jason Karlawish, co-director of the Penn Memory Center, include repetitive questions and stories, difficulties with complex daily tasks, and trouble with orientation. </p><p>In terms of intervention, <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/does-lack-of-exercise-lead-to-dementia" target="_self">exercise</a>, <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/obesity-dementia" target="_self">diet</a>, building a <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/brain-reserve" target="_self">brain reserve</a>, and challenging your brain (such as learning a new language or musical instrument) are all proven methods for staving off the ravages of Alzheimer's. Oxytocin has also <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/alzheimers-oxytocin" target="_self">showed promise</a> in brain-addled mice, while researchers found positive results for a <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/intermittent-fasting" target="_self">group of intermittent fasters</a> in promoting neurogenesis. </p><p>Epidemiologist Bryan James says that dementia is <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/04/15/176920391/how-exercise-and-other-activities-beat-back-dementia" target="_blank">not an inevitable result</a> of aging. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It's simply not pre-destined for all human beings. Lots of people live into their 90s and even 100s with no symptoms of dementia." </p><p>Professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Andrew Budson, <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/americans-worry-alzheimers-disease-survey-140644803.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends</a> aerobic exercise and the Mediterranean diet. As has long been known, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and healthy fasts like nuts and olive oil seem to have brain-boosting properties. </p><p>To learn more, take the <a href="https://www.mdvip.com/brain-health-iq-quiz" target="_blank">Brain Health IQ quiz</a>.</p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>