Key Change Institute has helped individuals and teams apply a scientific system that is surprising in its simplicity. Although the brain was once seen as a static organ it is now clear that the organization of brain circuitry is constantly changing as a function of experience (Colb, Gibb, Robinson). Recent research has shown that brain plasticity and behavior can be modified, and we have designed a practical process to help the brain change, grow and remap itself. Our process works because we empower people to be able to make the changes needed for improved performance. At KCI we have successfully utilized our methodology to maximize people’s ability to embrace the transformative change required by today’s organizational complexities. We have successfully applied our system to engagements focused on leadership, human resources, communications, culture, merger and acquisition, business process reengineering, IT and Six Sigma/Lean implementations.

Until recently, brain science researchers didn’t have the resources and tools required to understand how to support change. “It was all sort of a black box, you put something in and you get something out, but there wasn’t any way of knowing what was really going on inside that ‘box’ as the brain processed the information.” ~John Gabrieli, Neuroscientist, MIT

In recent years technology has changed dramatically. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) allows scientists to pinpoint which parts of the brain react to which type of stimuli. This technology enables researchers to study and provide new answers to critical questions that relate to the implementation and effects of low resistance change efforts.

Key Change Institute has utilized scientific findings about brain plasticity and applied it to a virtual, accelerated method of change.

We coined two terms to identify important neuroscience knowledge that is at the basis of our system. We refer to the part of the brain that stores and retrieves knowledge as the Knowledge Based System (KBS). It seeks organization, understanding, logic, coherency, consistency and accuracy. The KBS will store messages when people are exposed to information and knowledge. It will lead to conscious awareness and storage, not to behavioral change.

The Experience Based System (EBS) is designed to create new behaviors and adjust responses according to experience. Research shows that the EBS is encoded in neuro-synaptic activity throughout the brain. Brain plasticity—the brain’s capacity for creating new neural connections in response to experience—is part of the EBS.

Professional and Scientific Reviews of Key Change Institute’s Methodology

“…a very clear, pragmatic and user-friendly approach to making brain change into a genuinely effective real world human process.” ~Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD Research Psychiatrist in the field of neuroplasticity, UCLA school of Medicine

“Reut Schwartz-Hebron has done an excellent job addressing organizational myths and examining how people actually change….” ~John B. Arden, PhD., author of Rewire Your Brain

“The Art and Science of Changing People Who Don’t Want to Change” doesn’t focus on what managers need to say. It shares practical steps on what to do to grow your organization today.” ~Dr. Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, author of Outsmart Your Brain: How to Make Success Feel Easy

The following resources are at the forefront of brain science research. Key Change Institute’s methodology and systems are based on:

Sebastian Seung, Connectome (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)

Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, explains the importance of the pattern of connections between the brain’s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. Unlike many others who look at parts of the brain (left brain vs. right brain, the role of the Amygdala vs. the role of the Hippocampus etc.), Senug elaborates on the unique research done in the last decade, explaining how neurons communicate to create the ways people respond. The connectome, as it s called, is where our genetic inheritance intersects with our life experience. This book is a great scientific read for those interested in learning where neuroscience is as of 2012.

Sandra Blakeslee, A Decade of Discovery Yields a Shock About the Brain (New York Times, Jan 4, 2000)

“As scientists look back at all the discoveries made in the 1990′s, the so-called Decade of the Brain, one finding stands out as the most startling and, for many scientists, the most difficult to accept: people are not necessarily born with all the brain cells they will ever have.” In this concise article, Blakeslee reviews how new findings in the area of neuroscience defuse some of the old beliefs and myths that were associated with the ability of the brain to develop and change.

Sharon Begley, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain (New York: Ballantine, 2007)

Recent pioneering experiments in neuroplasticity–the ability of the brain to change in response to experience–reveal that the brain is capable of altering its structure and function, and even of generating new neurons, a power we retain well into old age. This book makes science accessible, meaningful, and compelling, exploring how the brain can change.

Janina Boyke, Joenna Driemeyer, Christian Gaser, Christian Büchel, and Arne May, Training-Induced Brain Structure Changes in the Elderly (Journal of Neuroscience, 28 (28): 7031)

“Until quite recently, it was generally assumed that the capability of the human brain to modify its structural pattern to fit new environmental demands is restricted to the early stages of development…any subsequent structural adaptations were limited to local synaptic changes.” In the last six years researches provided evidence that “neural systems are modifiable networks, and these processes are not limited to the early phases of development.” This excellent article shows that “…the human brain, even in older age, maintains its capacity to change its structure according to learning or exercise demands”

Joseph LeDoux, Synaptic Self (New York, Viking, 2002)

Synaptic Self presents an important breakthrough in one of the last frontiers of medical research. LeDoux reviews studies and extensive research, explaining how behaviors, thinking patterns, and emotional responses intricately reflect patterns of interconnectivity between neurons in the brain. This book is a great resource for understanding the important role of experience in programming new neural-synaptic pathways: “…experiences affect the brain when they are stored as synaptic changes in one or more systems during learning, which is why research on synaptic plasticity, and on learning and memory, is so important.”

Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens (Orlando, Harcorout, 2000) and Michael Gazzaniga, The Mind’s Past (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2000)

The invisible programming of the way we plan, interact and execute are locked in our subconscious mind, away from awareness. Traditional change efforts bring assumptions and beliefs from the subconscious to people’s awareness, but then a secondary process needs to begin- trying to control the reprogramming of subconscious patterns through awareness. These two books, by Damasio and Gazzaniga, discuss the importance of short-cutting this tedious process (from the subconscious to the conscious and then back from the conscious to the subconscious) by “communicating” directly with the subconscious.

Howard Eichenbaum, Neal J. Cohen, From Conditioning To Conscious Recollection (Oxford University Press, New York, 2004)

To change, the brain needs to encode new experience, not new knowledge. This cutting-edge book offers a theoretical account of the evolution of multiple memory systems of the brain. It explores how the brain systems involved in storing knowledge are different than the brain systems responsible for encoding experience. The experience based system is often referred to as Implicit Memory while the knowledge based systems in the brain are often referred to as Explicit Memory. “The authors conceptualize these memory systems from both behavioral and neurobiological perspectives, guided by three related principles. First, that our understanding of a wide range of memory phenomena can be advanced by breaking down memory into multiple forms with different operating characteristics. Second, that different forms of memory representation are supported by distinct brain pathways with circuitry and neural coding properties. Third, that the contributions of different brain systems can be compared and contrasted by distinguishing between dedicated (or specific) and elaborate (or general) memory systems. A primary goal of this work is to relate the neurobiological properties of dedicated and elaborate systems to their neuropsychological counterparts, and in so doing, account for the phenomenology of memory, from conditioning to conscious recollection.”