Assessment, HBDI, HBDI Assessments, Innovation

Telecom New Zealand likes Whole Brain Thinking

This just in from TV New Zealand

Some of New Zealand’s biggest companies are using psychological techniques to improve their call centre services. (Note: The HBDI is actually based on brain physiology – not psychology)

They can profile a caller’s thinking within the first 20 seconds of their call, said Wayne Goodley this morning on TVNZ’s business show. The techniques are an extension of the well-established “left and right brain thinking” concept.

Telecom has taken on profiling methods to improve call centres’ service and as a result won the Hermann International Learning Award. The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) was developed by Ned Herrmann when he worked at General Electric.

Goodley said Herrmann created the instrument when he noticed that the “learning taking place wasn’t coping with all the events that people had to contending with”. To enhance learning, Herrmann decided to profile the thinking of his staff. “This is a result of nature, your mum and dad, nurturing, your schooling and the free choice you exercise as an adult human being,” Goodley told AMP Business.

The technique is now being adapted to enhance services within call centres. Staff members fielding calls can “clue spot” the thinking of the caller and categorise them into “red” and “blue” thinkers. Goodley says if a person calls and says “look, I’m in trouble can you help me”, the person is a “red thinker”. According to the HBDI a red thinker’s thought processes are based around people, feelings and values. But if the person says “I need to address the situation with my broadband – I’m paying too much”, they are a “blue thinker”, says Goodley.
A blue thinker naturally prefers dealing with facts and figures and is more logical and analytical. Staff can then respond in a way best suited to the caller’s thinking preference.

According to Goodley, in the first period of using the HBDI, duplicate calls can be reduced by over 50%. Most big companies use it, says Goodley. He says “97% of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies use it”. In New Zealand, Fonterra, Air New Zealand and Sanitarium use the methodology.

Assessment, Creativity, HBDI, HBDI Assessments, Innovation, planning, teams, Technology

Kinect – and the HBDI

Before Microsoft could develop “Kinect Adventures,” the game that ships with Kinect for Xbox 360, it had to get innovative with its design process. For that, Microsoft Game Studios and the Good Science Studio team turned to Herrmann International’s Whole Brain® Thinking approach to assemble the right team, generate the best ideas and develop a product that would appeal to everyone, not just the traditional gamer audience.

“Microsoft’s goal was to create the Kinect pack-in title with broad appeal and something for everyone,” says Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, CEO of Herrmann International. “And in that way, it’s fitting that ‘Kinect Adventures’ is the first time a Whole Brain® framework and Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) data has been applied to the product development process from start to finish.”

“Based on the research, we know that innovative design requires a Whole Brain® process and team,” Herrmann-Nehdi says. “We also know that we live in a Whole Brained world. So if you want to appeal to a broad audience, you have to first understand how different people think.”

Shannon Loftis, head of the Good Science Studio, brought in Herrmann International consultants to work with the team as soon as the project began. To ensure all thinking styles were represented as they staffed up to meet development needs, the team was structured based on the results of the 120-question HBDI® assessment, which evaluates and describes the degree of preference individuals have for thinking in each of the four brain quadrants, as depicted by the Herrmann Whole Brain® Model.

The Whole Brain® Model also served as a filter for evaluating every aspect of the game as it was being developed. During the consumer testing phase, the team used criteria based on the each of the thinking styles (analytical, organized, interpersonal and strategic) to make sure the activities and game elements would have broad appeal.

“Our research has shown that you can use clues to diagnose the thinking styles of potential customers and then identify product features and benefits that will appeal to different preferences,” Herrmann-Nehdi says. “The development of ‘Kinect Adventures’ is a great example because they took this approach and used it to produce something that really is for everyone.”

Microsoft Game Studios believes that from the way “Kinect Adventures” was designed to the features it showcases, the Whole Brain® Thinking approach helped them create entertainment for a Whole Brained consumer base, just as intended.

Herrmann International is the originator of Whole Brain® Technology and the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®). Founded in 1981 on research into how thinking preferences can affect performance, the company develops Whole Brain® products and solutions that help organizations better understand and engage internal and external customers, get more from their collective intelligence, and achieve a significant competitive advantage.

With Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI® – the highly validated assessment tool used by nine out of 10 of the Fortune 100 – clients gain a proven, practical method of harnessing the brainpower of the entire organization to improve productivity, creativity, teamwork, sales and other business results. Clients include American Express, BMW, Cisco, GE, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Shell Oil, US Navy and Wharton School of Business. More information: You can also find out more about it at our website

Assessment, Creating, Creativity, Innovation, Net generation

Education – What we need now

Sir Ken Robinson’s famous TED talk established his online reputation. Now he teams up with an extraordinary animateur to tell more.

Assessment, effectiveness, HBDI, HBDI Assessments, Innovation, mind mapping, Reflection, Teamwork, Thinking Styles, visual mapping

Networks and Associations

Sample Mind Map created in VisiMap

Roger Cohen has some interesting things to say in today’s New York Times op-ed article.He distinguishes between countries that see themselves as victims rather than acknowledging shortcomings and moving on and those who continue to blame others for their difficulties. He also points out the values of networks. Both Mind Mapping and the Herrmann model are useful here. A Mind Map looks very much like a neural network. The nature of the technique leads one to see associations and interconnectedness. A group profile using the HBDI model shows collective strengths – and sometimes shortcomings. Both tools have value in helping us relate to changing times.

Assessment, HBDI, HBDI Assessments, teams, Thinking Styles

HBDI in new format

HBDI Profile Package

Herrmann International has recently updated the HBDI Assessment package to make it more convenient for users.Originally composed of four separate booklets these have now been consolidated into a single package which is easier to use.

Within each personal folder are four sections. The first helps you understand the Whole Brain (R) model. The second takes you through your personal profile step by step and explains it. The third helps you understand how your profile has an impact on your work; it also allows you to understand the mental preferences of others so that you can value their strengths, which may be quite different than your own. Finally you can explore your profile further through additional ideas and exercises.

So now the improved profile can continue to offer learning insights to 90% of Fortune 500 companies, – and you!

Assessment, HBDI, HBDI Assessments

Testing preferences

I asked ten people to evaluate the new Thinking Accelerator as part of a small study on behalf of Herrmann International. Another 10 persons completed the assessment and received the print material package only. All of the 20 worked in team situations. Some were ordained clergy and others were not.
Six were students studying theology but only three were proceeding toward ordination as clergy.

The results were very similar to those of the 400 preceding participants – all were high in preference for innovation and intuition. Most also showed high preference for using emotion and concern for people. Their preference for organizing varied but fell within a mid range. But their preference for analysis and discernment was low with one exception. That person, how a student, had founded and run her own business for several years, and was the only one to show balanced high preference for all the four quadrants. What does this do to organizations when senior leaders are missing a key preference?

Assessment, HBDI, HBDI Assessments

Back again

After a long hiatus, it is time to be back. I wish I had acquired a knee injury as an Olympic athlete – but it was simply a steep step that unexpectedly did me in. Between finishing a project, getting back into the meeting routine and extensive reading relating to future projects and a new routine of strengthening exercise with ankle weights, I have been ignoring this spot. But that is going to change.

The HBDI came in handy on a recent project. As part of a project team I had the opportunity to ask more than 400 people what they saw as key characteristics of a national leader of a major church denomination. Using the four quadrants to tabulate the results, there was a lower demand for analysis, discernment and paying attention to the realities of facts and figures. That raised lots of questions and led to more exploration. More about that soon.