“I’m really just a sideshow,” neuroscientist and science writer Jonah Lehrer said to the opening general audience at WEC.
Lehrer, though, provided much more than sideshow entertainment like the kind you’d find at a carnival. His insights about creativity, innovation, and the importance of face-to-face connections resonated with a crowd that is all too often questioned about the role meeting professionals play in business success.
Starting with a story about Skunk Works and its development of the stealth bomber, Lehrer moved into the meat of his talk: how to foster creativity. According to him, there are two main strains of creative success--states of relaxation and grit.
“Answers arrive only after you stop looking for them,” Lehrer said. “However, levels of grit are the single best predictors of success.”
It can be reasoned that for attendees seeking the best way to experience WEC and to get the most out of it, they should work hard and take strategic breaks. Get up and walk around when you’ve hit a wall. Go take a warm shower. Have a beer. But don’t give up. Be determined in what you plan to accomplish.
That’s what Lehrer ultimately urges for the audience.
“The job of a keynote is to be provocative,” he said in an interview after the session. “Speakers are here to inspire conversations.”
And that’s exactly what he did. His talk caused hundreds of tweets and comments, during and after the event.
“I feel much smarter and a new way of thinking,” wrote Jennifer Bissett, U.S. corporate account director for Tourism Toronto, on Twitter.
“From on Jonah to another,” wrote Jonah Wolfraim, communications manager for EventMobi, on Twitter. “Thanks for a great opening keynote.”