Misha Byrne


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About Misha

Misha Byrne is a Singularity University expert in Neuroscience & Performance. He is a social-cognitive neuroscientist with a background in researching the brain mechanisms behind how we monitor and improve our own performance.

Now a full-time behavioural strategist and ‘behaviour hacker’, he is Head of Consulting at The Future Academy X (Munich) and Partner at NeuroPower Group (Australia). He helps business leaders accelerate digitalisation and AI-adoption by using brain insights to: make it easier for people to adapt to new technologies; boost performance of critical teams; and design better, more human-centred companies, products and communities.

Some of his favourite projects have included: Working with one of Japan’s largest car manufacturers to prototype a ‘human-like’ AI personality for the first generation of truly autonomous vehicles; Working with leaders to drive digital transformation in hospitals, and training doctors and clinicians to embrace the next era of healthcare; Helping Google engineers to understand the science behind mindfulness; Coaching senior leaders from Portugal’s biggest companies to ‘hack’ their own brains and lead their people through digital transformation; Forging new peace/nuclear disarmament alliances between Indian and Pakistani doctors in Delhi and Kathmandu.

He is an invited editor of NeuroPower: Leading with Neurointelligence (Burow; 2nd edition, 2013, and 3rd edition, in press).

Misha’s current work focuses on putting science, soul and common sense into the Future of Work and harnessing technology, diversity and collaboration to build high-performance cultures.

Speaking Topics

  • Exponential ethics – A leader's guide to the ethics of Artificial Intelligence at work and home | Activated Talk

    “Artificial Intelligence is rapidly moving from ‘proof-of-concept’ to ‘powerful disruptor’. A major transformation is underway, and it’s bigger than any one profession, industry, community or country. But just because we can disrupt with AI, does it mean we should? Are there side-effects or unintended consequences to AI deployments?

    In this session, we’ll talk about the good and bad of AI – what’s been learned from AI fails, the true costs of AI-based solutions and some of predictions of leading thinkers in AI. Finally, we’ll explore what all this means for leaders and business decision-makers, and share a working model for ethical decision-making around your AI projects.”

  • How to stay human in an exponential future

    300 years ago, the industrial revolution split human life into work and home and we have been struggling ever since. Now, neuroscience research gives us hard evidence that our complicated mechanical systems of leadership performance etc. hold back human performance by forcing us to work in ways that just don’t suit the brain. This provocative talk challenges assumptions around what it means to be professional and a leader and presents the evidence that human relationships and tribe-based performance must be the foundation for the future of work as we accelerate towards an exponential future.

  • Leadership at a distance: practical techniques for virtual and hybrid teams

    How you can use neuroscience to help your distributed team to thrive. Once we all get used to our new ‘home offices’, what comes next? For some teams, it will be a waiting game – keeping minimum functions running until quarantine ends and things get ‘back to normal’. Put simply, that may never happen. Innovation is born from necessity. What’s almost inevitable is that the world is racing towards a new normal, with remote work at the centre. This session will share the lessons learned by our team as we have established our remote working over the last five years. Guided by the latest insights from neuroscience, we have trialled and refined simple practices that help remote working teams to thrive — even when they’re not face-to-face. We’re looking forward to sharing how we got there, and how you can build on these practices to get your tribe in shape as quickly as possible.

  • The future of mindfulness: meditation, brain science and exponential technology

    In the last 3,000 years, humans have been experimenting with how mindfulness practices and training can improve the quality of our lives and for the last 20 years neuroscience has also shown the incredible impact of mindfulness on the functioning and structure of the human brain.
    Meanwhile, biohackers and performance experts have been quietly revolutionising technology to help track how your brain is functioning and can provide real-time feedback to boost performance.
    The result: a wave of new technologies and practices that focus in on the very core of brain training and can bring a unique set of benefits – increased happiness, increased performance and increased health.

  • The Neuroscience of Performance | Activated Talk

    The human brain is the one piece of technology that we all have access to. But too many of us still understand our smartphones more than our neuro-capabilities or our own ‘NeuroPower’. In the last decade, we have learnt more than ever about how the brain works, and what it needs to function at its very best. The biggest insight: we’re not designed to perform alone, but instead we’re hard-wired to work in groups. In this session, Misha will share findings from the field of social-cognitive neuroscience, which has helped understand the deep, universal needs of the human ‘social’ brain. He will introduce six building blocks of human performance and how you can harness these to improve how you manage yourself, support your colleagues and build high performance teams across any organization.

  • Why brains hate change and what to do about it

    “The ‘fear of change’ is not just a throwaway phrase. The brain associates change with threat and, as such, the mind and body then automatically go into threat response mode. Our response to change starts in the brain; most of us look for some degree of safety, certainty and predictability in our lives. We tend to avoid anything that will activate a threat response in the brain, which is what happens when we perceive that our job, our daily routine, or our livelihood is at risk. Not knowing what will happen tomorrow causes most people to expend neural energy on the threat response rather than in more productive pursuits.
    In this talk, we explore the neuroscience of why change can feel uncomfortable, even when you want it to happen, and introduces neuroscience-based self-management and team-management techniques that can help teams better adapt to exponential change.”

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