‘Unearthing the best unbiased science in the interface between people, place, organisation and technology and to translate the science into tools and a language that allow leaders to use it to make a difference’, is the goal of AWA’s Workplace Performance Innovation Network (PIN) Research Group

The most recent study is supported by Kinnarps and focuses on ‘Cognitive Fitness’.

What do we mean by Cognitive Fitness?

In the end we are our brains. The effectiveness of our brains makes a real difference to the performance and contribution we bring to our organisations every day and in knowledge based organisations, where people really ‘think for a living’, the effectiveness of the way our brains function really matters.

‘Cognition’ is a scientific term for the working of the brain and ‘cognitive fitness’ is all about getting your brain into the best shape possible to enable you to be at your ‘personal best’ every day.

Why bother?

In the world of knowledge work each person brings a brain filled with knowledge (generated over many years) and energy to the organisation each day. It is the responsibility of the leaders in the organisation to derive more from these ‘resources’ that the competition. The difference between getting 120% from each person and 80% is a big difference in energy. Small differences in performance can make big differences in results.

So in the world of knowledge work the ability to derive maximum value from each and every brain on the payroll individually and collectively will be mission critical.

In the Cognitive Fitness study we wanted to find out the factors that made most difference to the performance of the brain at an individual level. So working with The Centre for Evidence Based Management (www.cebma.org) AWA set about exploring the world of Cognition and Cognitive Fitness.

Our primary research question was ‘what is known from the scientific literature about the factors that impact cognitive performance (i.e. concentration, memory, accuracy, problem solving, decision making), such as nutrition, hydration, air quality, sleep, physical fitness, posture, working position, physical environment/workplace design, ownership of space, and workplace culture? The research team searched through key academic databases and selected - only studies that measured the effect of an independent variable on the cognitive performance of healthy adults were included.

What transpired was solid science on what makes a difference to the working of the brain… something we will share with you in a regular blog post.

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