Thinking Differently – A Video from the Mayo Clinic about Unexpected Conversations

A video from the Mayo Clinic relating to their Transform Symposiums.

Sarah Miller Caldecott, a great grandniece of Thomas Edison, has been engaged in creativity and innovation throughout her life. She is the co-author of “Innovate Like Edison”, a biography of Thomas Edison’s life with a special focus on his innovative mine and habits. She visited Mayo Clinic pm January 4th and spent some time at the Mayo Clinic Department of Engineering before and presenting to Mayo Clinic employees on the innovative thinking and approaches used by Thomas Edison.

The speaker discusses the timeless innovation methods and thinking styles of Edison.  The book “Innovate Like Edison” is about “how to create competitive advantage in today’s global economy through the timeless innovation methods of world-changing inventor and innovator Thomas Edison.” The co-author is Michael Gelb.

“People who haven’t considered Thomas Edison since high school will see him in a new light, so to speak, after reading Innovate Like Edison.” —USA Today

Michael J. Gelb is also the author of the international bestseller How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. He is an internationally renowned pioneer in the field of organizational innovation.

Sarah Miller Caldicott holds an MBA from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School of Business and is a twenty-year marketing veteran. She is the great-grandniece of Thomas Edison.

Innovation comes from thinking differently, leveraging our learning and communication styles, “unexpected conversations” that impact our perceived norms and the inspiration that comes from the diversity in teams. As discussed in this video, Edison set the “climate”, employees owned the “culture” and their was dynamic interaction. Collaboration leads to creativity and innovation.

The trademarked “Five Competencies of Innovation” are:

  • Solution Centered Mindset
  • Kaleidoscopic Thinking
  • Full-Spectrum Engagement
  • Mastermind Collaboration
  • Super-value Creation

Dr. Deborah G. Estes is a leader in Education and keynote speaker addressing topics that can help your team begin to leverage their brain styles, the norms in your culture and their

Keynote Speaker Deborah G. Estes

Dr. Deborah G. Estes, Ed.D Keynote Speaker

own presentation and interpersonal skills to develop leaders, teams and employees.

Keynote Speeches and Powerful Presentations:

Dr. Estes’ primary interest is in the area of brain research, and how this knowledge can directly impact our professional and personal lives. Powerful tools to engage the brain, presentation skills, experiential learning and learning strategies are Dr. Estes’ key tools when consulting or training groups, businesses and non-profit organizations with  professional development training workshops, seminars and in her keynote speaking engagements.

Contact Me Page to Send an Email


Deborah G. Estes, Ed.D
P.O. Box 1481
Sherman, Texas 75092

or email


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Cognitive Function, Dementia and Public Health Study

Researchers from France and the United Kingdom reported in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) that “a human’s ability to remember data, to reason, and understand things properly can start to worsen at the age of 45 years, and not 60 as many had believed”.

Study leader, Archana Singh-Manoux, at the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, France, and researchers from University College London in the UK, believe that..:

“..understanding cognitive aging will be one
of the challenges of this century.”

The authors stress that identifying cognitive decline onset is crucial for effective medical interventions. In other words, the earlier-on cognitive deterioration can be spotted, the better medical treatments tend to be.

The study included testing for cognitive functions including:

  • Memory
  • Vocabulary
  • Aural comprehension skills (listening skills)
  • Visual comprehension skills. The journal cites as examples, remembering as many words as possible that started with the letter “S” (phonemic fluency), or recalling as many animal names as possible (semantic fluency).

The findings included the identification of certain risk factors such as:

There are certain risk factors linked to cognitive decline, such as hypertension, obesity, and high cholesterol levels. Targeting patients with known risk factors might not only protect their hearts, but also prevent dementia from developing later on.


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Achieving Better Outcomes for Children with ADHD at the Mayo Clinic

A recent video from the Mayo Clinic outlines how better outcomes are being achieved for Children with ADHD. The key components to improve outcomes were streamlined information gathering packets for parents, teachers and others involved with the patient, appointment scheduling and parental awareness and involvement.

Standards of care begin with the initial assessment process. Initially, assessment packets were provided but often incomplete for the first appointments, causing delays in diagnosis and treatment. In this video by the Mayo Clinic, the Jyoti Bhagia, M.D., psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic discusses the clinic policy and process changes that led to better treatment plans from initial assessments through appointment scheduling.

Imagine the time and resources that could be saved if psychiatrists could start offering concrete treatment plans to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) during their very first visit to the clinic. Jyoti Bhagia, M.D., psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic, has begun to do just that.

By requiring parents and educators to complete extensive background forms and analysis before bringing their children in for the first consultation, Dr. Bhagia and her team have been able to better recommend treatment and therapy and do so much more quickly. She presented her findings in Toronto at the American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry meeting.

Since parents and educators are required to dedicate time outside of the clinic visits learning about a child’s disorder, Dr. Bhagia says they’ve become more engaged in their care as well. Dr. Bhagia transformed Mayo Clinic ADHD care into an extremely efficient practice while improving care for patients.

One of the other outcomes was parent involvement in the process. Awareness of what the clinic is ‘looking for’ and development of assessment information also informs parents.

Quality policy and process changes to improve outcomes can be replicated in any organization. By analyzing the process and defining the desired outcomes, everyone can work together to achieve common goals across organizations, families, schools and even business.

Dr. Deborah G. Estes developed an interest in ADD/ADHD, the brain and the ways we use it and other biological and chemical processes that affect education, behavior and human interaction. She uses her knowledge and experience in education as well as her studies to inform, teach and educate leaders, teams and communities through keynote speeches, workshops and training.  Find out more about how you can engage your team or organization to Bring your brain! by contacting Dr. Estes.

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Creativity in Individuals and On Your Team

Dr. Deborah G. Estes

A recent study on creativity in adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) suggested that, on average, adults with ADHD have higher performance on some measures of creativity. The researchers, Holly A. White, University of Memphis, and Priti Shah, University of Michigan, work was published in with the following abstract:

Previous research has suggested that adults with ADHD perform better on some measures of creativity than non-ADHD adults (White & Shah, 2006). The present study replicated previous findings using a standardized measure of creativity (the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults, Goff & Torrance, 2002) and extended previous research by investigating real-world creative achievement among adults with ADHD. Results indicated that adults with ADHD showed higher levels of original creative thinking on the verbal task of the ATTA and higher levels of real-world creative achievement, compared to adults without ADHD. In addition, comparison of creative styles using the FourSight Thinking Profile (Puccio, 2002) found that preference for idea generation was higher among ADHD participants, whereas preference for problem clarification and idea development was greater among non-ADHD participants. These findings have implications for real-world application of the creative styles of adults with and without ADHD.

These findings may not surprise many educators and team leaders, because we have anecdotal evidence of our students and team members that can’t sit still for certain types meetings having great participation in brainstorming or in finding new business solutions in their individual work. In thinking about the suggestion that their may be advantages to ADD/ADHD is more simple, it is time we recognized that individual differences, or even recognized handicaps can be and advantage when we leverage those differences recognizing their strengths as well as their weaknesses.

Rick Green’s article on the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) site entitled, ADHD and Creativity: A Double-Edged Study?, asks the question whether this is a benefit or yet another way to fail for ADHD adults.

But this new study is a double-edged sword. For ADHDers struggling with finances, relationships and work, it’s a relief to hear about the positive side to a mind that flutters out of control. For ADHDers with some mastery over their symptoms, it confirms that a mind that doesn’t filter incoming signals as well as most people’s can be an asset in certain situations. However, for ADHDers who are not creative, this could be taken as yet another failure, as in, “Wow, I can’t even do ADHD right!”

The other reason for caution is that studies and statistics are tricky. When a study indicates that people with ADHD score higher on average on creativity tests, a news reporter, who majored in English instead of Stats, might blithely report, “Well folks, it appears that if you have ADHD, you’re more creative than the rest of us.” Woah! Not so fast.

The study simply suggests ADHDers are, on average, more creative. That doesn’t mean non-ADHDers are not creative, or that all ADHDers are! To use a simple example, on average, women live longer than men. Yet George Burns lived to be 101, while his wife, Gracie Allen, died at 69. George and Gracie weren’t even ‘exceptions to the rule.’ There is no ‘rule’ that men have to die younger. George and Gracie just weren’t average.

Who wants to be average anyway? Recognizing our talents and abilities, and leading our teams and managers to leverage those talents and abilities generates better results and enables teams to achieve more.

Dr. Estes can help your educators, trainers, team leaders, project managers and even your Board and Management Team ‘bring their brains to work’ and achieve more through her keynote speeches, training events and workshops.


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Brain Development and BrainBugs – Teaching Your Team to Bring Your Brain

How the Brain develops and functions is an important consideration in leading and  managing in education, business and non-profit organizations. A recent broadcast on NPR from Fresh Air from WHYY interviewing concerning new book, Welcome to Your Child’s Brain by neuroscientists Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang. “It took scientists a long time to realize that their brains are doing some very complicated things” says Aamodt. Their research helps explain how the human brain develops from infancy to adolescence. As adults teaching and educating children and adolescents when we consider the developmental stage of the brain we are better able to teach and mentor and accomplish our educational goals. Further, when mentoring and teaching adults in business or on our teams, when we address the brain and how it has developed and how it works, we are more effective at communicating and achieving our business and organizational goals and objectives. Team leadership in today’s business and corporate world, educational institutions and non-profit organizations requires a collaborative and norms oriented approach. Positive reinforcement has been demonstrated to produce better and longer lasting results.

Dr. Wang: “Negative reinforcement is often not very effective with deterring behavior. … negative reinforcement punishment tends to not be very general. So the child will avoid doing the specific thing that led to the punishment and not learn some broader rule. From a practical standpoint, negative reinforcement is not terribly effective.”

Read more about this article on NPR.

Another recent broadcast entitled ‘Brain Bugs’: Cognitive Flaws That ‘Shape Our Lives’from Fresh Air on WHYY on NPR examined some of the functional and behavioral aspects on why and how our brains function. The infant brain, for example, recognizes facial symmetries and patterns early giving the infant the ability to identify and remember people.

BrainBugs by Dean Buonomano

Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives By Dean Buonomano Hardcover, 310 pages W.W. Norton & Co.

How do we remember things? One example of brain function and memory that may make you smile is to see if you can recall what letter is to the left of the E on a keyboard. As I write this article, I am using these letters without actually recalling the specific order but my fingers fly over the keys at over 100 words per minute. In keynote speeches, humorous examples and scenarios help us better understand the point. Humor is also addressed in this broadcast as follows:

But what does humor tell us about how the brain works? It reveals two fundamental points about human memory and cognition, both of which can also be demonstrated unhumorously in the following manner:

Answer the first two questions below out loud, and then blurt out the first thing that pops into your mind in response to sentence 3:

1. What continent is Kenya in?

2. What are the two opposing colors in the game of chess?

3. Name any animal.

Roughly 20 percent of people answer “zebra” to sentence 3, and about 50 percent respond with an animal from Africa. But, when asked to name an animal out of the blue, less than 1 percent of people will answer “zebra.” In other words, by directing your attention to Africa and the colors black and white, it is possible to manipulate your answer. As with comedy routines, this example offers two crucial insights about memory and the human mind that will be recurring themes in this book. First, knowledge is stored in an associative manner: related concepts (zebra/Africa, kilometers/miles) are linked to each other. Second, thinking of one concept somehow “spreads” to other related concepts, making them more likely to be recalled. Together, both these facts explain why thinking of Africa makes it more likely that “zebra” will pop into mind if you are next asked to think of any animal. This unconscious and automatic phenomenon is known as priming. And as one psychologist has put it “priming affects everything we do from the time we wake up until the time we go back to sleep; even then it may affect our dreams.”

When you engage Dr. Estes for your keynote speech, you will find that she engages the brain, humor, knowledge and experience to help your team work more effectively together, identify and achieve goals and objectives and have fun while doing it. Prime the brains, prime your team for performance and enable your management team to lead others more effectively through training and workshops that are engaging and effective.

Bring Your Own Brain, one of Dr. Estes presentations teaches your team how to engage the brain in presentations and helps them understand how the brain works.

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Keynote Speaker for Business and Non-Profits


How is an educator like Dr. Deborah G. Estes a great keynote speaker for business and non-profits?

Keynote Speaker for Business, Educators, Non-Profits

Deborah G. Estes, Ed.D.

Dr. Estes’ interest and knowledge of the brain and how this knowledge can motivate, improve teamwork and leaders, as well as generate new ideas, motivate and leverage strengths and abilities to propel an organization forward through events and workshops provides value to business and non-profits beyond motivational keynote speeches and results in actionable outcomes.

Dr. Estes is known for her innovation, creativity and energy! Our attendee surveys indicate that the content as well as the presentation was meaningful for them and provided them with actionable ideas to move their team, organization or board forward. Having been an educator, a leader and board member, Dr. Estes understands the unique challenges to achieve higher and higher standards and goals in a challenging environment.

Your business or non-profit will benefit because Dr. Estes provides:

  • Material designed to meet your organizations needs – achievement based
  • Cognitive, Engage the Brain Presentation Structure based on Dr. Estes study and knowledge of the brain and how we engage in teams or to achieve
  • Strategies for Performance Management
  • Performance Measurement Strategy
  • Captivating and Inspirational Presentation Format
  • Experience that enables Dr. Estes to relate to any audience from Team to Board

Experience in Education translates to business and non-profits that must engage communities and stakeholders at different levels. The audience for the Executive or Board Member that is responsible to stakeholders like donors, shareholders, alliance organizations and Vendors is significantly different from the customer audience or those that are served by the organization. Facilitating, inspiring and creating new ways to engage are Dr. Estes’ strengths in consulting, creating workshops and speaking to business and non-profits.

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Computer Chip Emulates the Way the Brain Processes Information

Venture Beat reports on August 17, 2011 that IBM along with “four universities and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), have created the basic design of an experimental computer chip that emulates the way the brain processes information.” Here is the entire article.

Computers have gotten faster in processing through the bus that connects the processor and the memory allocation therefore the binary information or the ones (1) and zeros (0) or on and off that makes computing more like super fast calculators, and smaller as we have been able to get more ones (1) and zeros (0) on smaller and smaller chipsets. This new chip reportedly more ‘cognitive’ and ‘cognitive computing’ is more like a brain in that it sends out signals in many directions and fires off the neurons in various areas simultaneously. That is how some of us can walk and talk at the same time. Ever notice how your computer slows down significantly when faced with multiple tasks? Bus speed + processor speed + memory results in how much work can be done simultaneously.

Both types of computing, as this article outlines will be very likely to be used, and will probably be complementary. The computational computing works well for many applications, especially those that are mathematically based. We need the new computing style to scale up to handle bigger problems.

Isn’t this very much how you have to use your team, like a brain, recognizing the areas of ability to leverage resources to solve problems? Can you use cognitive development to improve your executive or leadership team? Applying the right resources and brains to the right types of problems and working synchronously or asynchronously will get better results.

Engage your team to Think and Use Brain Power to propel your team to get better results! Organizations achieve and Leaders excel when resources are used at optimum levels. The energy of your team is similarly affected by how you use it. Like the energy resources used for computing as described in this article:

The more powerful a computer gets, the more power it consumes, and manufacturing requires extremely precise and expensive technologies. And the more components are crammed together onto a single chip, the more they “leak” power, even in stand-by mode. So they are not so easily turned off to save power.

The advantage of the human brain is that it operates on very low power and it can essentially turn off parts of the brain when they aren’t in use.

Take advantage of your human resources and leverage team power to move your organization forward. Contact Dr. Deborah G. Estes and found out how she can electrify your leadership team.

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Keynote Speech at the McKinney ISD 2011 Convocation

Watch Dr. Estes engage the teachers, students and community at the McKinney Independent School District Convocation in 2011.

McKinney, Texas is 30 miles north of Dallas, Texas and 30 Miles south of Sherman, Texas. Texas schools systems begin with a bang with keynote speakers like Dr. Deborah G. Estes.

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Brain Check – Inside the Command Center

brain, components of the brain, the cortex lobes, a neuron at work, training the brain

Inside the Command Center

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Bring Your Own Brain – Event Design

One of Dr. Estes most popular keynote speeches to Educators, Businesses and Non-Profits is the BYOB (Bring Your Own Brain): Learning to Teach and Transform keynote speech.

This keynote speech and presentation has been sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Dallas Chapter and the Area Agency on Aging of Texoma. The Texoma area includes North Central Texas, including Sherman, Denison, Pottsboro, Whitesboro, Gainesville, Bonham, Van Alstyne, Howe and South Central Oklahoma including Durant, Ada, Paul’s Valley, Armore and the surrounding areas in proximity to Lake Texoma.  The population is this area is statistically ‘older’ proportionately and is one of the ‘oldest’ counties in Texas.

One of the key elements of this presentation is Event Design. This is an excerpt of that portion of the keynote speech:

Event Design

Purpose: To design meetings and learning experiences so that the participants’ needs and concerns are used as the foundations for the interaction. This perspective tends to accelerate and deepen the changes and learning process.

Step #1: Stand in the shoes of the participants.

From their perspective, determine what needs, concerns, hopes, experiences and burning questions they will bring with them as they walk in the door. Also from their perspective, define what will make the vent meaningful, impactful and memorable. Meetings, workshops and conferences need to assess, accept and pace the expectations of the audience.

Step #2: Stand in the shoes of the larger system – the organization.

To develop the impact and outcomes, create a picture of how the system will be better in two or three months as a result of this event. Determine systems issues — how this event is linked to other key events, what overarching goals it contributes to and how other similar events have produced impact in the past.

Step #3: Define the content “chunks” — the topics — the gum.

Make sure that topics reflect the concerns and questions of the participants identified in Step #1. Remember that the event cannot be too heavy on content if change is expected. Remember that lecture/presentation will normally result in 3% maximum behavior shift. People need time to interact with the topic. If it’s an hour event, half of it needs to be devoted to participant interaction to get the percentage of change up to 33%.

Step #4: Design interesting ways for learning interaction — the “chewing.”

Use a variety of pair/traid conversation pauses to increase the amount of interaction about the topics. Quick case studies and problem solving exercises around their concerns will increase their engagements. Develop contingencies.

Step #5: Post a Public Agenda Map with Outcomes to keep everyone oriented.

Step #6: Watch and listen! Plug in contingencies based upon what you see in the group!

Dr. Estes not only coaches these lessons, she delivers!

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