We’re in the middle of some very exciting experiments at Ashridge. Working with Dr Tricia Riddell, whose thing is developmental neuroscience, and OptimaLife, whose thing is using heart monitors to track performance, stress and recovery, we are testing participants on our Future Leaders simulation to see why it works so well. We know it’s something to do with the ‘muscle-memory’ it gives you, making you feel more resourced to tackle the critical incidents of leadership, and we suspect that people learn best when they are stressed, especially as they will most need to draw on their learning when they are stressed as well. But do different people respond differently, having different parameters for their ‘stretch zone’ as opposed to their ‘panic zone’? And what relation does their heart rate variability have to the amount and intensity of their learning, given the relationship between heart and brain? We’re already picking up some very interesting data about sleep and recovery, as well as about levels of participation, the toll effort takes on cognitive functioning, and to what extent one can learn by proxy. We have oodles of data to trawl through before we’re ready to say anything, but watch this space!