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Tuesday, April 10 • 2:00pm - 2:50pm
What does it take to grab a cupcake? How Systems of Feedback Loops Regulate our Behavior – A neuroscience perspective

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From an evolutionary perspective, brains came into being as a means to an end. Today it is assumed that the necessity of movement was the reason that animals developed a brain in the first place. In a hostile and constantly changing environment, characterized by fierce competition, movement became essential for survival. However, movement required sophisticated coordination capabilities. This became the function of the brain.

This organ has been shaped now for more than 500 million years. It is an ocean and a museum of feedback loops likewise. These feedback loops have been coordinating our movements ever since and they are still performing remarkably, if not impaired.

But how exactly does the brain initiate and coordinate voluntary movement? What exactly happens when we reach out for a cupcake? A lot of the understanding about what and how the brain does what it does results from studies of the brain when it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. Neuroscientists study brain dysfunctions in order to learn about how the brain operates under normal conditions.

Taking the example of motor dysfunctions that result from impaired systems of feedback loops within designated brain areas, I want to demonstrate how versatile, powerful but also sensitive feedback loops can be. We will see what it takes to grab a cupcake, and how dysfunctions can interfere with our ability to initiate and coordinate voluntary movements.

I will also take the stance that understanding how feedback loops and systems thereof operate in the brain can add to the Kanban body on knowledge. If we assume that organizational survival is determined by its capability to move, we must conclude that organizations must have developed brains and feedback loops in order to coordinate their movement and thereby avoid extinction. However, organizational structures and functions are at times as hard to figure out as those of the brain. Thus, I suggest studying organizational dysfunctions will help us improve our change management activities in organizational systems. Ultimately, what we call organizational agility – intentional, goal-directed and smooth organizational movement, shall become as easy as grabbing a cupcake.

avatar for Andreas Bartel

Andreas Bartel

Andreas is a Kanban Coach working for Lotto 24 AG. He is currently supporting the executive board kanbanizing the IT and the rest of the organization, including Finance, CRM, and Legal. He also offers his know-how as a freelancer. Andreas has begun his professional career at Sun Microsystems... Read More →

Tuesday April 10, 2018 2:00pm - 2:50pm PDT