Right Brain / Left Brain – The Missing Link

Jul 23, 2016

As humans, our right brain is credited with creativity, intuition and emotion while the left brain is considered logical, problem solving and specialized in spatial and mathematical concepts.

Some scientific researchers question this theory. While they may view the theory as a simplistic way of explaining the workings of our brains, it still provides a basis for a thought-provoking discussion of the difference between traditional Information Technology, Computer Science and Computer Engineering versus Business Informatics.

My undergraduate degree is in Mathematics, so you could call me a left-brainer, as are many people in the IT industry. But the most valuable people in IT are those who have the ability to straddle the two parts of the brain and combine logic with creativity, providing solutions to problems that understand the impact on people and using intuition to identify and track the numbers that really mean something.

In my experience, failed or stressed IT projects are often missing the right brain component. We implement great leading-edge technology only to find that it doesn’t fit the real needs of the business. We forget about the workforce who will be using the new technology and find that they resist, or revolt against, the changes to their daily lives. We create reports that no one cares about, missing the key performance indicators that could improve the decisions the business will make.

To create a greater chance of success in IT implementations, it is critical to identify changes to processes that will occur as well as the kind of data that needs to be collected. The troops, at all levels of the business, should be involved in the design of the changes so that there is the sense of ownership.

Business Informatics is the missing link between left and right brain in IT. It is getting more attention at colleges and universities in the US and in Europe. Its holistic approach will make our deployment of IT more likely to succeed. That means business will be more likely to succeed, which is the end game after all.