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Are You a Right-Side-of-the-Brain Entrepreneur? Sure, detail-oriented left-brain skills are an asset, but conceptual right-brain skills are gaining ground in the world of biz.

By April Y. Pennington

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A major shift is taking place, and we're not talking aboutseismic plates. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: MovingFrom the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, believeswe're seeing an economic evolution in the abilities necessaryto succeed in business. We asked Pink what he believes is promptingthe shift and what implications it has for entrepreneurs.

"Our brains are divided into two equal halves," saysPink. "The abilities that got you ahead in business used to becharacteristic of the left hemisphere: rational, analytical,SAT-like. While they're still necessary, they're no longersufficient. The scales are tilting toward right-hemisphere[abilities]: artistry, empathy and synthesis rather thananalysis."

Three forces are driving this shift, Pink says: an abundance ofconsumer goods, leading people to seek both meaning and functionfrom products; out-sourcing to Asia; and automation of routinework.

Pink says six key abilities for the Conceptual Age are design,story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. "They'redifficult to outsource and auto-mate and are in demand in the ageof abundance.

  • "Design has become a fundamental form of businessliteracy. That means creating products, services and experiencesthat have the user in mind.
  • "Small companies are appointing chief storytellingofficers because story is a form of knowledge management andproduct differentiation.
  • "To see the big picture and connect the dots is symphony,a signature trait of entrepreneurs.
  • "Good salespeople test off the charts on empathy.
  • "The best organizations have a sense of play. If you hearlaughter, [you're creating] a good place to work.
  • "More people are hitching a sense of meaning to theirbusiness lives. Entrepreneurs are realizing the only way to recruittalented people is to give them something larger thanthemselves."

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