I currently read The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist.
So far very interesting read, even though I am only 10% in.
It basically deals with the dichotomy between the left and right brain hemispheres and the latest findings and implications in this area.
Very briefly summarized the right hemisphere is mainly responsible for looking at the “big picture” and the “whole situation”, where as the left hemisphere tries to divide everything into its details and abstraction layers.
Even though a healthy human should be able to do both of these things very well, I can probably categorize most of the people I know into tending into being more of a right or left hemisphere user.
As a software developer and information systems graduate I spent a lot time thinking about productivity software for knowledge workers. Knowledge workers work primarily using their (Suprise!) brain.
There are tons of different tools out there, with diverse approaches. Generic solutions like Microsoft Office, Google Docs or Evernote.
Project Management and Collaboration Tools, like Basecamp, Asana or Trello.
About a gazillion to-do list apps for smartphones and many more.
You get the picture!
Thinking about it in context of brain hemispheres I can probably see, why there never will be a solution fit for everyone.
I know people who like to categorize, order and tag everything they do meticulously. (Probably leaning more towards the left hemisphere thinker).
Then there is the other category of people, that probably tend a bit to the right side of the brain, that organize everything in very broad and generic buckets without being to detail driven.
I would count myself into the latter group. Looking at my Gmail account, I never use labels, I have tons of unread messages and I really like if something is categorized and filtered for me, so I don’t have to deal with it myself.
I can see that some tools like Evernote for example embrace both kinds of people on a certain level. You can use it as a sloppy Note collection or tag and order everything in great detail.
Perhaps thinking about how the brain works first, can yield in creating more awesome software supporting knowledge workers?
Will probably explore these unfinished thoughts more in a “part II”, when I am further into the book.