The only way to thrive in a rapidly changing world is to change with it. We know that. But the biggest barrier is in our heads. Neuroscientist and entrepreneur Beau Lotto shows why adapting – moving from A to B – means first moving from A to not-A. We need to let go of the assumptions and beliefs that keep us from seeing the world differently. A world-renowned expert in the science of perception, Beau reveals why trading certainty for doubt increases our capacity to adapt, lead, innovate, and thrive in the darkness of “I don’t know.”
A professor with deep academic credentials and critical scholarly works on the subject, Beau is also founder and CEO of two companies – Lab of Misfits, the world’s first neuro-design studio, and Ripple, which holds several highly influential patents in Augmented Reality (AR). A three-time mainstage TED speaker with over 9,000,000 views, Beau has spoken around the world, delivering totally unique, visually stunning, interactive, and fun presentations that help people act differently in the face of change. His message is an ideal conference kick-off – providing powerful, positive, creative context that sets a tone for the content and collaboration that follow. Beau’s latest book is Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently.
Born in Seattle, Beau Lotto earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1991. He then moved to Scotland, where he earned his PhD in Neuroscience from University Medical School, Edinburgh in 1994. He remained in Edinburgh for his first postdoctoral fellowship (with Professor David Price), and then moved to Duke University for his second fellowship, where he was mentored by Professor Dale Purves.
Beau was a professor at University College London for 20 years, and is now a professor at University of London, as well as a visiting scholar at New York University. He has mentored over 30 undergraduate, masters, and PhD students, as well as postdoctoral fellows.
In 2001, Beau Lotto founded the Lab of Misfits Studio, the world’s only neuroperception creative studio that is also a real neuroscience lab. The Lab’s goal is to foster adaptability and creativity. Their unique process of experiential experiments unites neuroscience expertise and measurement with digital technology and immersive design. They study humans “in the wild” – in theaters, public spaces, even across entire cities – using a combination of digital, virtual, and physical techniques and neuroscientific methodologies. By unveiling the essential truths that drive human decisions, their work deepens connections and creates innovations. Pragmatically, their insights are scientifically unique and quantified, commercially valuable to the stakeholders, and emotional and actionable to public audiences. They have since created public experiences around the world, including London’s Science Museum, Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank, and a public art installation in London’s famous Silicon Roundabout. Their past clients include Cirque du Soleil, L’Oreal, Asurion, Microsoft, Edelman, The UAE’s Crown Prince’s Court, and others. Lab of Misfits currently powers the neuroscience offering at Burson Cohn & Wolfe, one of the world’s largest public relations and communications firms.
Beau and his Lab have published over 70 peer-reviewed articles across multiple disciplines, including augmented and virtual reality (indeed, their involvement in the EU consortium of labs defined “presence” in the VR space), human perception, physiology, molecular and cellular development, animal (including human) behavior, digital music, graph theory, complex systems theory, computational evolution, artificial intelligence, architecture, theatre and design. His science lab received funding from a wide range of institutions including the Wellcome Trust, the Leverhulme Trust, and other scientific research funders.
Beau is also CEO and founder of Ripple Inc, which holds five highly influential patents in Augmented Reality (AR) with two further patents pending. Using its technology and exclusive patented IP, the Lab creates digital platforms and custom, proprietary digital interactions that layer the world with immersive digital content. Examples include the GPS-based AR apps Traces, Acoustigram, and W_nder, all of which focus on location-tied storytelling, adding a layer of meaning to the world that has hitherto been impossible.
In addition to TED, Beau Lotto has spoken at the G8, Google’s Zeitgeist, Wired, World Economic Forum, Cannes Lions Creativity Festival, Burning Man, and the Oslo Freedom Forum, among many others. He has contributed to television, radio and podcast programs by the BBC, National Geographic, HBO, Wharton on Business Radio, and PBS. He is a frequent keynote speaker at major corporations including J&J, Warner Music, Universal, Viacom, Sainsburys, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and the UAE’s Crown Court, where he speaks about the fundamental barriers to thriving in uncertainty and how to overcome them.
“Once you understand how perception works, you can’t help but see yourself in the world in a different way and engage in it in a different way,” says Lotto, who is author of three books: Why We See What We Do, Why We See What We Do Redux, and Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently. He received the Josef Albers Prize for Disruptive Innovation at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, and was the first Creator in Residence at Viacom.
“Beau’s incredible session created a transformational state in the audience of leaders. In three hours, he provided the group dozens of new ways to think differently about their problems, how to successfully innovate and build effective teams. Beau wonderfully integrates neuroscience, psychology and perennial wisdom into an inspiring and practical set of powerful takeaways. He is one of best speakers we’ve ever seen.”
Jean Gomes (CEO of The Energy Project) after a Masterclass for the Senior Executives of Warner Music
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