Working Groups

Brain Capital Measurement Working Group

The ‘global brain’ is under tremendous pressure from issues across the lifespan (Winter et al., 2022). Impaired social and emotional development in early childhood, education loss due to COVID-induced school disruptions, the negative effects of social media on youth, long COVID brain effects, and rising rates of dementia are placing strain on the health of the ‘global brain.’

Brain health is a critical aspect of human well-being, affecting cognitive abilities, socioemotional stability, and overall quality of life (World Health Organization, 2022). However, the growing prevalence of brain disorders is taking a steep economic toll. Mental health disorders alone are estimated to cost the global economy $5 trillion per year, and this is projected to rise to $16 trillion by 2030 (Arias et al., 2022; Bloom et al., 2011). Similarly, every year, dementia costs the global economy more than $1.3 trillion, a value that is set to increase to $2.8 trillion by 2030 (World Health Organization, 2023b).

Brain health plays an increasingly critical role in an economy predicated on “Brain Capital” (which encompasses an individual’s social, emotional, and cognitive resources) (Smith et al., 2021; World Health Organization, 2023a). Global economies are becoming increasingly dependent on Brain Capital, whereby a premium is placed on brain skills (both cognitive and non-cognitive) and brain health (Lundbeck, 2023). This is particularly true in the context of accelerating AI advances which are disrupting and replacing lower-skilled tasks (Eyre et al., 2023).

We are living in a poly-crisis i.e., at the confluence of major societal challenges – spanning climate change, political instability, geopolitical and geoeconomic tensions, pandemic recovery, and widespread misinformation. These cumulative challenges are extremely demanding on our brains and minds (Hynes et al., 2023). Appendix 1 outlines key Brain Capital challenges and opportunities across various sectors. The economic burden of brain and mental health-related disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and long COVID-19) has recently prompted the need for policymaking (Eyre et al., 2023; Smith et al., 2022). Promoting creativity, innovation, and brain health will help economies flourish.

The Brain Capital Grand Strategy was launched in early 2021. The strategy urged the need for Brain Capital in all policies, for more investment in Brain Capital, and a global dashboard to monitor essential trends for more informed policymaking (Smith et al., 2021). Within the same period, the OECD Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative (NIPI) was launched by the then OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurria, and Admiral William H. McRaven (Rtd). Appendix 2 outlines activities vis a-vis Brain Capital policy innovation

In this paper, we hereby launch the Global Brain Capital Dashboard. This has been developed by the OECD NIPI, Brain Capital Alliance, and the Global Brain Capital Dashboard Working Group since mid-2021. The members of the Working Group are outlined in Appendix 3. The Dashboard aims to quantify and track Brain Capital as well as provide a platform to inspire novel policy innovation. This paper follows the structure of the dashboard. It describes Brain Capital and then presents evidence around the relevance of the selected pillars and dimensions. It concludes by offering a vision of what is next for the Brain Capital Dashboard.

To build the complete Dashboard, novel indicators were extracted from a wide range of data sources under the banner of three pillars: Brain Capital Drivers, Brain Health, and Brain Skills. Brain Capital Drivers refers to the factors that boost or impede the accumulation of brain capital throughout the life course. Some of these factors include digitalization, health services, the natural environment, education, and social connections. Brain Health examines the mental and neurological health of the population at scale. The domain chronicles the absence of disorders, as well as different issues throughout the human lifespan (childhood, adolescence, and aging-related issues). The Brain Skills domain captures key areas for the accumulation of Brain Capital such as cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, mental flourishing, and mental resilience.

Brain Capital itself is a productive and complex capital stock that accumulates over the lifecycle. It is constructed by a multi-dimensional set of factors varying from physical to socio-cultural, enabling the brain to remain healthy, develop, and avoid deterioration. The policies guiding the development of both the natural and sociocultural environments are important drivers of Brain Capital since they may either promote or impede its development. The Brain Capital concept provides a better understanding of the economic value that can be derived through identifying and unlocking latent human brain potential.

Composition

Co-lead:

Rym Ayadi PhD, Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association

Andrew S. Nevin, Center for BrainHealth

Rapporteur: Sara Ronco, Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association

 

Members:

Andy Keller, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Cara Altimus PhD, Milken Institute
Carol Graham, Brookings Institution
Conal Smith, Institute of Governance and Policy Studies
Erin Smith, Stanford Medicine, Global Brain Health Institute
Harris A. Eyre
Husseini Manji MD, Duke University and Oxford University
Ian H Robertson, Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin
Jennifer Gonzalez, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Katelyn Jetelina, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Paweł Świeboda, Neurocentury
Theo Edmonds, University of Colorado Denver
William Hynes, Sante Fe Institute, UCL
Eric Storch, Baylor College of Medicine
Shekhar Saxena, Harvard School of Public Health
Carlo Sessa, ISINNOVA
Igor Linkov, US Army Corps of Engineers

The Brain Health Diplomacy Working Group

Maintaining and improving brain health across the life course is one the greatest challenges of the 21st century, as few other issues will have a similar level of effect on human longevity. A promising approach to mitigate the complex threats to brain health at an individual, community, national, and international level is Brain Health Diplomacy (BHD).

BHD is a pioneering approach to bridge disciplinary and geographic boundaries and mobilize resources to promote equitable brain health outcomes across regions. This approach aims to improve brain performance on a global scale including through formal commitments to support brain health and aims to mitigate the complex threats to brain health at an individual, community, national, and international level through large-scale diplomacy.

Aims

  • To build consensus and raise awareness among governments about BHD
  • To engage governments and trans-national actors in brain health commitments

Co-chairs:

  • Walter Dawson (Co-Chair, US, Oregon Health & Science University)
  • Laura Booi (Co-Chair, Canada/UK, Leeds Beckett University)

Working group members

Rufus Akinyemi (Nigeria, University of Ibadan)
Virginia Bennett (US, Retired, US Department of State)
Carol Brayne (UK, University of Cambridge)
Meryl Comer (US, USAgainstAlzheimer’s, Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health
Agustín Ibañez (Chile/Argentina, Latin American Brain Health Institute)
Ştefania Ilinca (Austria/Romania, World Health Organization)
Patrick Kennedy (US, Mental Health Advocate)
Sarah Lenz Lock, (US, AARP Global Council on Brain Health)
Yoshiki Niimi (Japan, University of Tokyo)
Craig Ritchie (UK, University of Edinburgh / Brain Health Scotland)
Louise Robinson (UK, Newcastle University)
Mohamed Salama (Egypt, American University in Cairo)
Lenny Shallcross (UK, World Dementia Council)
Heather Snyder (US, Alzheimer’s Association)
Peter Varnum (Norway, Orygen)
Wendy Weidner (UK, Alzheimer’s Disease International)

Creativity Infrastructure Working Group

The Creativity Infrastructure Working Group, a partnership with the University of Colorado Denver’s Imaginator Academy, spearheads a brain skills initiative intent on igniting new growth in U.S. entrepreneurship, corporate innovation, and city innovation districts through formalizing and testing a neuroscience-inspired “creativity infrastructure.” With a target of achieving a 25% surge in American creativity over the next decade, this multi-sectoral and transdisciplinary blueprint aligns changing labor necessities with the World Economic Forum’s top future brain skills. Central to its strategy is the elevation of Social Brain Capital (SBC) — a synergistic blend of cognitive capacity and social well-being. Harnessing cognitive, behavioral, and social brain science, the initiative charts a course towards inclusive futures, coherently dovetailing with the Brain Capital Industrial (BCI) Policy Mission. By striking an equilibrium between technological advancements and innate human creativity, the group focuses its efforts on enriching diverse American enterprise sectors: arts, science, business, and education.

Key Endeavors:

  • Measurement & Analytics Innovation: Establish the American Creativity Census/Index to pioneer the systematic gauging and fostering of national creativity and the associated essential brain skills for the Future of Work.
  • Process Innovation: Implement strategic pilot projects targeting corporate innovation ROI and remolding city frameworks for entrepreneurial ecosystem cultivation.
  • Storytelling Innovation: Develop a national community centered on transformational creativity. This seeks to enhance the discourse on the need for a digital-forward national creativity infrastructure that highlights the art and science of being human. A national narrative and event, reminiscent of platforms like TED or SXSW, will be established to spotlight this mission while nurturing a budding Brain Capital industry media cluster.

Aims:

  • To reinvigorate the U.S. innovation landscape by integrating creativity and top future brain skills.
  • To foster a consortium of stakeholders in arts, science, business, and education, enhancing collaborative innovation.
  • To intertwine technology’s potential with human creativity, emphasizing the significance of both in modern innovation dynamics.

Co-Chairs

  • Theo Edmonds, JD,MHA,MFA, Imaginator Academy
  • Rym Ayadi PhD, Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association and Bayes Business School

Working Group Members

“It’s time to change the narrative around how we work and fully leverage our brain capital. And it starts with the actions we take internally, with our own people, to help them emotionally, socially, and cognitively thrive.”


Dan Noble, HKS President and CEO

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