With the start of the new year and decade, 2020 seems like the ideal time to resolve to improve one’s brain power and problem-solving skills. There are many apps that can help you stretch and pull your brain power to the next level. I list a few here, but the one that provoked my thinking the most in 2019 is not an app, but a book and site that includes a survey and a test by Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino.
IVANOVO, RUSSIA – DECEMBER 28, 2019: A contestant solving a Rubik’s Cube during a speedcubing … [+]
The big question every year, it seems, as we write out a list of resolutions is: How can I keep my brain sharp, stay focused at work, improve my memory, and reduce stress / be happy? In other words, get closer to perfect. The bad news is there is no lifehack for such growth except to keep trying.
Some research indicates that mental/cognitive training using apps can improve your brain health, although there is no consensus on if these methods really work (that is, the scientific and medical communities are still debating). My thinking is it cannot hurt to try these apps. Some people report they experience improvement in memory, or mindfulness, for instance. Apps listed below.
In Francesco Gino’s book, Rebel Talent (with a great subtitle: Why it pays to break the rules at work and in life), she outlines ideas you can use to help you expand your creative approaches to solving problems in all areas of life. You can read a bit about it here: When Solving Problems, Think About What You Could Do, Not What You Should Do – Harvard Business Review.
Or you can jump directly to the Rebel Assessment here, to see where you fall on the rebel spectrum and determine if you are “Traveler, Climber, Pirate, or Guard.” At the very least, her website will push your creativity up a notch and have you exploring, in a fun way, how you can improve your problem-solving skills.
Professor Gino shares a couple of compelling stories – one about a wonderful waiter in an upscale restaurant in Italy who solves a young customer’s desire for pizza, even when his restaurant does not serve pizza. She also shares the well-known story of Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot “who shortly after taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport in January 2009, hit a flock of birds and lost both its engines.” He landed the aircraft safely in the Hudson saving everyone on board.
If you need more ideas to jump start your problem-solving chops for 2020, you can tap into this story by Forbes contributor Joseph Folkman: What Great Problem Solvers Do Differently.
Now, if you need an app to keep your brain on track, here are three worth considering:
“Elevate is a brain training program designed to improve attention, speaking skills, processing speed, memory, math skills, and more. Each person is provided with his or her own personalized training program that adjusts over time to maximize results.” – from the Google Play Store (editors’ choice rating and over 300,000 reviews). It is rated number seven in education on the Apple App Store.
“Lumosity’s cognitive training program is a fun, interactive way to train your brain and learn about how your mind works. Used by over 100 million people worldwide, Lumosity’s program consists of science-based games designed to exercise memory, attention, speed, flexibility and problem-solving.” according to Google Play Store which gives Lumosity an Editors’ Choice rating with almost 250,000 reviews. The iOS/Apple App Store had limited and confusing info so I linked directly to the website which gives you options after you sign up.
The NeuroNation website states that it offers “scientific brain training” and lists a number of universities and government entities as partners. The website appears to have some open courses and tests in addition to the app.
If you have a favorite mobile app that keeps you thinking in new ways or helps you remember, send it over. Happy New Year a bit early.