Improving Cognitive Skills Within Your Organisation

Cognitive Ability Growth in Business 

Cognitive ability is almost undervalued by businesses as an entire concept. 

However, individually, there is often an emphasis on specific types of cognitive skills a business may identify as a requirement for talent acquisition or growth within a particular department. 

These cognitive skills range from abstract reasoning and lateral thinking to critical thinking skills. 

Conversely, adults do not typically focus on increasing their cognitive abilities. This is considered something young children do and something that adults have achieved or peaked at in reaching adulthood.

However, for businesses, there is continuing evidence that suggests cognitive skills can be trained and developed over time. 

Specifically, the ability to develop cognitively is relevant to what is described as working memory and fluid intelligence. 

Andrea Kuszewski, the American cognitive scientist found that through Multimodal Teaching (a method of teaching that uses as many inputs as possible) contributes to improving fluid intelligence. 

While her studies focused on the cognitive development of individuals with autism a study released in 2008 found that using Multimodal training to develop working memory can increase fluid intelligence

Ultimately, what the study found was that through the use of visual and auditory training focusing on a specific task, not only could the individual be trained to improve their cognitive ability within the specific task trained, but they could also improve their ability in unrelated cognitive skills. 

Fluid Intelligence Training Improves Abstract Reasoning

The resulting findings of the multimodal training research found four key findings:

  1. Fluid Intelligence can be trained
  2. The more training you have, the more fluid intelligence is gained
  3. No-one is limited in their cognitive ability
  4. The effect is gained by training on tasks that do not resemble test questions

This is important to businesses in both talent acquisition and talent development. The study and ability to improve both working memory and fluid intelligence in relation to cognitive ability is extremely encouraging.

Furthermore, the development of fluid training’s impact on cognitive ability can be further tested through abstract reasoning testing – tests in which use visual assessments and psychometric testing to understand an individual’s ability to think laterally and develop patterns in shape sequences. 

The focus here is to develop the cognitive skill required and implement frequent cognitive assessments to measure your talents cognitive ability development over a sustained period of time. 

An example of this would be the ability to observe, obtain and understand new concepts quickly. This specific unconscious skill is used across a broad range of industries. Specifically;

  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Media and Publishing
  • Software Development
  • Accounting
  • Engineering 

Having lateral thinking and abstract reasoning skills is extremely important to these industries due to the impact bad hiring decisions can have commercially. Interestingly, ‘bad hires’ can often occur, and data shows that 36% of all hires end within the first year of employment

Additionally, business innovation has more of an emphasis on lateral thinking now more than ever. Lateral thinking has become akin to incredible problem-solving skills.

Problem-solving in the workplace is a key cognitive skill that can be trained and is measured through abstract reasoning tests. An example of this type of test being the RAVEN’S matrices test. 

There are both the standard and advanced matrices tests which are used depending on the cognitive requirements of the business implementing the measurement. 

Developing Cognitive Ability Through Fluid Intelligence Within Your Organisation

We now know that businesses can improve their team’s cognitive abilities through fluid intelligence. But how can they do that beyond these standard principles and testing methods? 

Cognitive ability, especially abstract reasoning requires a culturally diverse mindset. This means that an individual must train their cognitive skills through a range of varied cultural activities regularly. 

Some of these will be relevant too, and can be upskilled within the workplace. Some will not. These that will be developed externally come in the form of creative, and artistic to logical problem-solving. 

Interestingly, a form of ‘play’ is required to grow cognitive ability outside of the workplace. 

These types of training includes:

  • Learning a new skill – using working memory to increase fluid intelligence through learning to craft pottery or draw. 
  • Observing art and other cultural institutions – by visiting these institutions we improve our brains ability to acquire new information.
  • Reading, viewing and writing about new topics – by reading and viewing factual content, thus teaching our brains new information, the brain is proven to generate new neurons and synapses
  • Game playing – playing games and puzzles increases our ability to think both critically and solve problems through developing these skills. 

Ultimately, for businesses, the emphasis should be on providing creative challenges for their talent in order to increase cognitive function. 

In doing this, we are effectively training our brains to solve problems and develop new skills and ways of thinking which can be utilised in the workplace during working activity to solve business problems and deliver better outputs for our organisations. 

Please don’t hesitate to Contact Us or visit our RAVEN’S Advanced Progressive Matrices Test to learn how your organisation could benefit by assessing overall general ability.