We encourage flexibility and adaptability in decision-making, thereby supporting longevity and sustainability in business.
“When it comes to leadership, there is no standardized decision model, but an expectation for greater flexibility and tolerance in the face of uncertainties. This encompasses the ability to think about one’s own thinking and to deal with cognitive diversity in organizations.”
Keitiline Viacava, PhD
Our mission is to contribute to sustainable development by offering evidence-based corporate education. We support the dissemination of a broader conception of learning that considers the dynamic interaction between mind, brain and behavior. We facilitate the expression of committed and autonomously chosen decisions in leadership, and thus accelerate the evolution of individuals, organizations and societies.
Founder and Director
Keitiline Viacava, PhD, holds a doctorate degree in Psychology from UFRGS, with a post-doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging (CFMI), Department of Neurology at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC. She is director of corporate education and research at DM.Lab. She also has bachelor's and master's degrees in Business Administration, was a professor at the UFRGS School of Administration in the area of production and systems, and is a pioneer in teaching Neuroeconomics at the School of Economic Sciences of the same university. Keitiline regularly works as an executive education instructor and mentor in different programs focused on leadership development, managerial cognition and decision-making.
In addition, she is a member of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) in the United States and a columnist writer in human cognition for Editora Escala in Brazil.
Our origins follow the trajectory of our founder, Dr. Keitiline Viacava, who is a professor, researcher and consultant in managerial and organizational cognition. Her job is to help leaders turn ideas into action from understanding how the human mind works.
The cornerstone of this work was laid a few years ago, in 2010, when she published “Higher Education in Management: Reinventing the Paradigm To Gain the Capacity To Handle Today's Complexity” in a special edition of the magazine On the Horizon (British publisher Emerald).
This article integrated a set of other seminal texts on the future of management education in the face of the demands of complexity in a special issue called Complexipacity, whose editorial inspiration was the area of information technology.
Research and Teaching
In 2012, during her doctorate at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), at the urging of her economics students, Keitiline created a short-term program to help them transfer psychology and neuroscience findings to consultancy.
The program’s students were managers of a junior company whose volunteer activities included support for low-income individuals, in order to remove them from indebtedness. In short, they helped these people to follow a financial plan that, when successful, culminated in a private pension plan. Part of the activity consisted of conducting interviews with clients. The purpose was to identify behavioral characteristics that not only explain the initial financial status, but also supported strategies towards future goals.
This was an activity of high social relevance. At the time, the percentage of Brazilian families who reported having debts between post-dated checks, credit cards and overdrafts was 59%, according to data from the National Confederation of Trade in Goods, Services, and Tourism (CNC).
The plan, then, looked good, "since nothing compares to collecting data directly from the source, does it?" they asked, with apprehensive looks. "The problem is that people do not always behave as they claim or want, and that is what we seek to understand with your help," they added. “We don't know if our customers lie to us, don't know about themselves or don't know what they are looking for, but we are sure that they don't behave in the direction of what they plan”.
"Have we come to the right place? Can you help us?” they asked. The answer, of course, was: “Yes!”, And that was the foundation of a teaching-learning methodology based on cognitive neuroscience, guided by data and oriented to the development of people.
The recognition and validation of the methodology came quickly. In 2013, we presented our results at the largest worldwide neuroscience meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in San Diego (California, United States). In the same year, we received an honorable mention from the Brazilian Institute of Neuropsychology and Behavior (IBNeC) during its fourth annual meeting, held in Sao Paulo.
Later, in 2016, we submitted the work for peer review which resulted in the publication of the process evaluation of this teaching and learning experience in the Journal of Management Research.
This whole experience culminated in the creation of Decision Making Lab (or DM.Lab), a corporate education laboratory focused on spreading knowledge about human cognition in the ecosystem of corporate universities.
DM.Lab was born in 2016, when Keitiline returned to Brazil after working professionally for two years as a cognitive neuroscientist affiliated with the Department of Neurology at Georgetown University (Washington, DC). In her first weeks back on Brazilian soil, she returned to UFRGS to lecture on neuroscience boundaries to academics in the areas of psychology, economics, and administration. This rich interaction rekindled the importance of transferring the knowledge we had accumulated for the practice of management and leadership in different business segments, which has brought us here.