2019 Cognitive Performer Summit – Exploring Innovation in Technology, Health and Esports

Last week, in San Francisco, we took the second step on our journey to share ideas and further collective understanding of human cognitive performance. We did this with our second annual Cognitive Performer Summit.

Building on the community we developed a year ago, we brought together hundreds of high performance practitioners across multiple disciplines, including fighter pilots, heart surgeons, DARPA project leads, high-profile choreographers and esports professionals to explore how cognitive performance impacts and informs teams, health, psychology, skills and equipment.  

Logitech’s CEO and president, Bracken Darrell, opened the event, and from there we jumped right into the heart of the event. Two days of discussion ensued – formal, informal, and very informal!  Here are just a few of the themes and speakers that we thought you’d be interested in catching up on:

  • Ever asked yourself about how the partnership between humans and machines will pan out? The session sought to explore how humans and machines can co-exist and flourish if managed correctly. Attendees also discussed strategies on how to deal with the change in dynamics that the insertion of machines into the workplace present.
  • From there the group tackled a variety of topics including the effects that performance nutrition have on cognitive function. In many cases, environmental stress for long periods of time can deplete athletes’ resources and cause malnutrition in nutrients that support cognitive function.
  • Even your work space can have an affect on performance. There are multiple ways to reduce these stressors. One of the easiest things people can do for themselves, is spend more time in green spaces – schedule walking meetings, add images of natural spaces to your screensavers or incorporate plants into your workspace. Other workplace interventions require advanced planning that take human performance and needs into account when creating buildings – beautiful architecture doesn’t always make for effective workspaces, and balance is needed.

A panel moderated by Ujesh Desai, general manager of Logitech Gaming looked at the rapid rise of esports, and what young players and the industry need to thrive and grow.  Enhancing cognitive abilities in this new world requires alignment on structure and values at the organizational level, to ensure players have the emotional toolkit they need to manage stress and adversity. Ultimately, the goal is to find ways to nurture and create a thriving culture of positivity and inclusivity.

  • We took a moment to understand how placing oneself in moments of fear or discomfort develops humility and promotes self growth.
  • Finally, we took a deep dive into the future of brain optimization and how technology is challenging our brains at a fundamental level. We then assessed how closed looped systems that dynamically change can both test and advance cognitive abilities. In the future, games will be able to measure and stimulate specific parts of your brain to enhance performance.

The themes that emerged across the day highlighted the importance of taking the whole person into account when trying to address cognitive performance. Nutrition, taking time to recharge, pushing your personal boundaries, developing trust and shared beliefs – none of these elements on their own can address the entirety of a person’s cognitive development. Taken in combination though, we can make real strides toward increasing their personal cognitive performance.  

We’re so excited to see how all of the attendees take the information that they learned to enhance their communities’ cognitive abilities, and take the connections they’ve made at this conference and turn them into lifelong friendships. We look forward to next year’s event to gather again and see how much collective progress we’ve made.