Practical Neuroscience:
Business Masterclasses

ITS are introducing a new series of practical neuroscience masterclasses. Each year, we will be offering a series of 4 masterclasses which bring cutting edge neuroscience to specific business challenges.

In order for any business to prosper, leaders need to know how to use their own brains effectively and how to create environments in which employees are also able to use their brains.

In this masterclass, we will provide tools and insights derived from the latest research in neuroscience to optimise leadership during times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).

The term VUCA derives from the military and the leadership challenges posed by a much more uncertain world that has existed since the end of the Cold War.

Leadership can be challenging enough when times are good and direction is clear. When times are volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, the challenges of leadership can increase exponentially.

Brexit has certainly increased the levels of VUCA in the current leadership environment worldwide. Our commitment is to give you the best neuroscience tools currently available so that you can be at your most effective.

To do this we will also give you an understanding of how decision making depends on the available systems in the brain and how these systems are activated differently: different contexts require different decision making strategies.

By the end of the day you will:

  • Know the difference between what happens in the brain when dealing with situations that are: volatile vs. uncertain vs. complex vs. ambiguous.
  • Be better able to identify a given situation in relation to the VUCA components – are they all present or are some missing?
  • Learn to discriminate the different VUCA contexts that can affect decision making.
  • Know how to identify the effects of different VUCA stimuli in the brain.
  • Go beyond VUCA to consider other aspects of decision making.
  • Understand the basis of decision making and the different systems used in the brain.
  • Be able to identify and utilise fast and slow thinking and hot and cold decision making.
  • Be better able to identify the different decision making strategies of individuals in your team and therefore know where they can contribute best to team performance
  • Be able to show organisations the changes in decision making required for different VUCA settings

This workshop will benefit people working with individuals, teams and organisations.

This workshop will provide insight and practical tools derived from the neuroscience of motivation – and demotivation – at a personal, team and organisational level.

Especially in times of change and uncertainty both within organisations and more globally, it is possible for people to lose momentum and become defocussed. Every employee can benefit from a boost now and then, and good leadership provides this. It is therefore important for leaders, managers and coaches to know how to refresh and revitalise individuals whenever this might improve performance.

People can also lose motivation as a result of events outside of work. Again, coaches, managers and leaders need to be able to spot the first signs of this and have tools available to help individuals find their focus again.

This workshop will use neuroscience to provide tools to help re-motivate individuals and teams and show how to share this information within organisations to get best results.

By the end of the day you will:

  • Understand the neuroscience behind motivation and demotivation.
  • Be able to predict contexts which might adversely affect motivation for individuals, teams and organisations.
  • Be able to spot when you or members of a team begin to become demotivated.
  • Be able to refresh and revitalise a workforce knowing that this can lead to better performance.
  • Be able to teach others how to spot the signs of demotivation.
  • Be able to teach others how to refresh and revitalise teams.
  • Know when to motivate through positive gain versus threat of loss.
  • Understand the effect of optimised motivation on improving the bottom line.
  • Know how this will affect systems in the brain.
  • Have tools to help re-motivate yourself, individuals and teams.

This workshop will benefit people working with individuals, teams and organisations.

Everyday your brain changes through the choices that you make. And yet, the thought of change can make people anxious, frustrated and demotivated.

Change is a fundamental process in the brain. So how can we harness this fact and help people who are going through change deal with it more effectively and with less stress?
Knowing that change is natural suggests that it is not change per se that is difficult but the way that change is communicated and perceived. When individuals understand the need for change and the benefits this can bring, they are more likely to accept change.

This workshop will consider the neuroscience of change. It will provide insight into the ways that our brains are able to change, and the psychology of why we often prefer the status quo.

Above all it will provide tips and tools to help communicate change effectively so that individuals are less intimidated by it.

By the end of the day you will:

  • Understand the processes in the brain that underlie change and what causes these changes to occur.
  • Understand the neuroscience that explains why choice is an important factor in successful change.
  • Know how to maintain internal choice in the face of external compulsion.
  • Know what the important factors are to avoid and include when communicating change.
  • Be better able to predict when change will be embraced and when it will be resisted.
  • Predict which individuals will be most likely to embrace change and which will resist.
  • Have tools which you can use to help people adapt more quickly to change.
  • Be able to help teams and organisations to change more effectively.


This workshop will benefit people working with individuals, teams and organisations.

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If leaders had access to a time machine they would be able to review what happened in the past and see how a change in their behaviour might have played out. They would also be able to travel into the future to see how their future plans would actually unfold.

While we cannot provide time machines, we can show you how the brain can time travel by reconstructing different past events and pre-constructing future events.

Understanding the ways in which the brain can give you access to simulations of the past can help leaders and teams learn through reflection on past events. For instance you clarify what might have been possible to change to create a different outcome.

Understanding how the brain can simulate the future can help leaders to think through the potential outcomes of their plans. The ability to successfully simulate alternative scenarios is vital to successful leadership and effective strategizing.

By the end of the day you will:

  • Understand how the brain reconstructs the past and know how to use this to reflect on past events.
  • Know how to alter memories in order to reflect on the effect of changes you could have made.
  • Understand how to learn both through successful in-time correction and through using failure as feedback.
  • Understand how the brain pre-constructs future events.
  • Learn how to use pre-construction to anticipate the outcome of future events.
  • Understand the relation between simulation and creating effective strategy.
  • Know how to create environments in which leaders have the space and time to reflect on the past and consider the future.


This workshop will benefit people working with individuals, teams and organisations.

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Each of these masterclasses are supported by a short video in which Ian McDermott and Professor Patricia Riddell discuss the neuroscience that is relevant to the topic of the masterclass. You’ll get these videos before the workshop so that you have a headstart on the day.

If you have no background in neuroscience, these videos will provide a short introduction using the easily digested and informative style that Ian and Patricia have pioneered.

You’ll also get to see how neuroscience can be brought to life and communicated effectively to a non-technical audience.

Note to ITS Graduates
If you have attended the NLP Practitioner with Neuroscience programme or the one day neuroscience workshop within the ITS Coaching programme, the videos will be a quick reminder and might also extend your working knowledge of the brain.
If you have attended the Certificate in Applied Neuroscience programme, the videos will serve as a reminder of the key areas of neuroscience that will be relevant to the masterclass.

Suddenly, neuroscience seems to have become a hot topic. In newspapers, trade magazines, on television and radio, new insights into the brain and how it drives our behaviour are now appearing regularly. But does understanding how our brain works really help us to perform better?

Or is neuroscience just a new way to package things we already know?

As consultants we advise on how to apply current research so individuals, teams and organisations really can be more effective. The question we therefore ask ourselves about any business practice is this:

Is this neuro-effective?™

We want to share the fruits of this way of thinking. These masterclasses are designed as stand-alone offerings which cumulatively combine to provide practical ways to become more neuro-effective in your chosen field.

Meet the trainers

Professor Patricia Riddell

Patricia is a Professor of Applied Neuroscience, a chartered psychologist and a chartered scientist. She creates cutting edge training tools that integrate and expand on the most recent findings in neuroscience.

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Ian McDermott

Over the past 7 years, Ian McDermott has worked with Patricia Riddell to bring the fruits of Neuroscience research out of the lab so that everyone can have access to the practical benefits of current cutting edge neuroscience research.

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Ian and Patricia are the co-creators of the 10 day certified Applied Neuroscience Programme