Friday, August 05, 2011

IIM-Ranchi to map MS Dhoni's brain for new course

If star cricketer MS Dhoni is game, Indian Institute of Management-Ranchi (IIM-R) would like to examine his brain. The country's premier business school is planning to foray into neuro management by mapping the brain of Team India's most acclaimed captains and understand the reasons for Dhoni's success as a leader.

The institute wants to take Ranchi's renown in mental health to the next level, and is in the process of tying up with the city's Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP) to start the new course. The results of the Dhoni study will be the precursor to a full-fledged neuro-management course.

Dhoni has been sent an invitation, and the institute is waiting to hear from him. "The study of biological reactions and people's animal instincts mixed with management theories will not only create better managers, but also better human beings," says IIM Ranchi Director MJ Xavier.

He believes neuro-marketing will be the next big thing. "Brain reactions as well as its functioning, can now be mapped. We know what chemicals react in the brain in what ways, and how they trigger human reactions. When we have the resources here in Ranchi, why not start a course in neuro-marketing, which is already in vogue in the UK and at a research stage in China," he says. IIM-R believes neuromarketing can be employed for design of products and services, packaging and branding.

Coke and P&G are well-known users of such skills. The idea for such a course came when Xavier saw the vast technical resources available with the CIP. "I was already interested in neuro-marketing and was doing some research in this sector, but after joining IIM Ranchi, I asked CIP if we could work together. They got excited and we are now on the job," says Xavier. CIP, on its part, will facilitate the technical aspects like study of the electrical patterns of the brain, says Director S. Haque Nizami.

The institute was in the process of getting necessary technical infrastructure such as the functional magnetic resonance imaging machine, with the help of which human behaviour can be predicted with 80% accuracy. IIM-R has already enrolled two research scholars in this field and to hold an international seminar on neuro-marketing next year. "We will start conducting courses spread over three to 10 days and have regular two-year courses from 2014," says Xavier .

The institute plans to beef up faculty and research strength by then. "We need to do more research and find the market for our graduates," says Xavier. IIM-R wants a convergence between neuro-marketing and traditional marketing techniques for a holistic understanding of consumers. "I am trying to explore the relationship between what people think, what they say and what they actually do. But the synchronisation is often missing, which calls for a study to see where the gap lies. Unravelling the age-old paradox can help marketing through neuro-management," he says.

Source: The Economic Times, August 5, 2011
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