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Beau Lotto

Neuro-Scientist and Founder and CEO of Lab of Misfits Studio


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Dr Beau Lotto is the Founder and CEO of Lab of Misfits Studio, the world’s first neuro-design studio. The lab creates unique real-world ‘experiential-experiments’ that places the public at the centre of the process of discovery. By spanning social and personal boundaries between people, brands and institutions, their aim is to create, expand and apply their insights into what it is to be perceiving human. By focusing on how the perceptual brain resolves the fundamental challenge of uncertainty, The Lab of Misfits gives audiences and clients the opportunity to see differently … more than this … to embody an ecology of innovation. The Lab of Misfits turns the world into a lab as a way of enabling insights for companies and organisations.

Perception is the foundation of human experience, but few of us understand why we see what we do, much less how. By revealing the startling truths about the brain and its perceptions, Beau Lotto shows that the next big innovation is not a new technology: it is a new way of seeing, how uncertainty and the brain’s need to resolve it is essential for thinking about not only branding and business, but specifically design, leadership and innovation.

Beau is one of the few speakers to have given two TED talks, which have amassed over 5 million views combined. He has also spoken at Google’s Zeitgest Minds, Wired, G8 and made significant programme contributions to BBC's Horizon, National Geographic Channel and PBS in the US.

In 2017, Beau published his first major book, Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently. He draws on over two decades of pioneering research to explain that our brain didn’t evolve to see the world accurately. It can’t! Visually stunning, with entertaining illustrations and optical illusions throughout, and with clear and comprehensive explanations of the science behind how our perceptions operate, Deviate will revolutionise the way you see yourself, others and the world. With this new understanding of how the brain functions, we can apply these insights to every aspect of life, love and work. Deviate is not just an illuminating account of the neuroscience of thought, behaviour and creativity: it is a call to action, enlisting readers in their own journey of self-discovery.

Links to Deviate Articles:


New Statesman

Washington Post

Beau is also the Founder and CEO of a US Augmented Reality tech startup, which has several patents.

Traces is digital AR platform that blends the physical and the digital. Combining augmented reality, geo-tagging and digital messaging, Traces brings together brands, people and the content together in the real world, the potential impact of Traces on Enterprise is immense. More information on Traces can be found at

MEEGO is an app that lets float your ‘animal spirit’ in AR, telling the world who you are right now. MEEGOs follow you wherever you go, and are visible in AR by anyone nearby. When you find another MEEGO, say hi with a comment or read other people's comments … or save their MEEGO into your Tribe and carry on the conversation via messaging. MEEGO is a wholly new way to see, not only who is around you more playfully and more meaningfully.

Why book Beau: If you truly want to understand why there's nothing creative about creativity, why change is hard, why there's no inherent value in any piece of information … if of itself, what (branding) narratives the brain needs to create a relationship – and why the narratives a different for maintaining a relationship … and if you want to do it while experiencing first hand how your perception of the world is not what you thought it'd be … then you'll discover why with Beau.

Beau’s style is entertaining and informative; he explains WHY and not just HOW (which enables the audience to apply and generalise his perceptual framework to their own lives). He is interactive and gathers live data throughout his presentation – methods that enable audiences to actively embody the information explored.

View Beau's video on The Digital Brain, here


There are two aspect to innovation: efficiency and creativity. I.e. the ability to create novel solutions to a meaningful problem and ability to realise that solution. Indeed, innovation is itself inherent in both of these processes. In recent decades we focused - at times almost exclusively - to efficiency.


There is no inherent value in change. Whether change is good or bad is - like everything else in life - context-dependent. Here, using principles in behavioural and perceptual neuroscience, we'll explore what lives at the heart of change: why it's often essential for success but equally the most feared of human activities. Indeed, to ask 'why?' is historically the most dangerous thing you can do. Hence, organisation, businesses, religions and even our education systems are designed to reduce question-asking. And yet all revolutions (and revelations) begin with a joke ("you mean it could be different from this?"). In this talk, we'll see how and why questions and metaphor are mediators of change; what makes a good question; and how change - when properly pursued - has no direction or goal. Which means change is personal and - when properly considered - inevitable.


What makes a good leader? When asked this question of a diverse audience, I'll receive many, many different possible qualities that are 'essential'. Here we will address these questions from the perspective of behavioural neuroscience, and consider a new answer: the quality of a leader is defined by how he/she leads others into uncertainty.


Arguably one of the most dangerous things one can experience in life is doubt. During evolution, if your ancestors weren't sure whether that 'thing over there' was a predator, well … it would was too late for them. Thus, we hate doubt … and that's usually a good idea (throughout evolutionary history). We are genetically programmed to do so: Sea-sickness, and indeed most of our mental health problems being direct manifestations of our fear. The deep irony, however, is that nothing interesting begins without it. So taking the risk to step into uncertainty is an essential aspect of adaptation, which we know is at the root of success in all natural systems. What's more, nature also tells us when it's best to risk uncertainty. So how to deal with uncertainty is the fundamental problem that your brain evolved to solve. Here we discuss in a highly experiential way how and why everything is uncertain, and natures solution to it.


Imagine having a relationship with someone and treating them as the average man or woman. Not surprisingly, it's not going to work for very long. The value of any relationship is defined by how well you 'know' someone: the more nuanced, creative and personal the narrative, the more essential it becomes. Branding is about creating a narrative and way of being that enables a brand to have a relationship with their audience. But brands treat people as averages, hence their stories do not foster what the brain truly needs to feel valued, meaningful and loyal. Understanding the mechanisms and principles of behavioural neuroscience that enable relationships to start, as well as what is need to maintain them (which are not the same thing) is essential to any brand. And key to this is authenticity. So how can brands be authentic? How can they understand themselves and communicate that to their audience? Who is your audience … at the human level? Are there general principles we can use? These are the questions with which we will engage in a highly experiential way through the neuroscience of perception.


Perception underpins everything we think, feel, know and believe. It explains why we do what we do when we do it, from the styles of clothes we choose to who we trust and why we trust them. It explains one's ability to find solutions and indeed the quality of the solutions found ... why people who are less empowered find patterns in data where no pattern exists whereas people who feel more empowered, though more comfortable with uncertainty, are also poorer listeners (and why these different ways of being are useful in different environments). Perception explains why successful branding is a narrative that establishes trust, but how trust is perceived differently when one is creating a relationship vs. maintaining one. Finally, understanding perception explains why the two most important obstacles to innovation are ignorance and fear, and why the three descriptors of a leader that are best correlated with the revenue of any company are how the leaders resolves these two obstacles to innovation.


There is no inherent value in any piece of information! Data is meaningless. Why? This is because the brain deals with meaning and not information since information doesn't tell you what to do. In fact THE fundamental challenge that the brain evolved to solve is to take meaningless data and make it meaningful. This is true even at the most fundamental level of our senses: seeing light. Which is why we never see the world in any direct sense. Instead what we see is the meaning of information grounded in our personal, cultural and evolutionary histories. And it's the historical meaning of stuff that we literally see, experience and know (not the stuff itself). Here we'll explore - and experience – how to see new meaning in data that has always been there, but remains hidden. The result will be an understanding of the principles by which the brain makes the meaningless meaningful.

Education/New Culture of Learning

Success in most educational systems is measured by the ability to memorise and reiterate facts. This is because education is in the service of society and businesses, which emphasizes efficiency over creativity. Schools – like business, then, focus on answers not questions through a competitive – not collaborative – environment. Getting the right answer and prosecuting it efficiently through competition is in fact a good strategy in a stable world. The problem is that our world is different … it's complex, uncertain and evolving. Which is why to succeed in nature requires being adaptable to change (creativity). A necessary corollary of this view is the we need to teach not what to see, but why to look?

Here using the neuroscience of perception, we will explore this new way of thinking about education through concrete examples in the world of science education where children became the youngest published scientists in history. Born out of our research on perception, we will discuss a framework for a learning that is based on an openness to uncertainty and discovery that influences not just the way schools educate, but even the very architecture and design of schools.

Conceptual framework
Our framework is called 'Seeing Myself See', which recognises the importance of perception, of experience and imagination in shaping who we are as an individual – and also has the capacity to foster a different kind of learning: 'this is how you see it now, but with a bit of courage it is possible for you to see it differently'. In this way children are guided away from the admittedly more comfortable black and white view of the world, to the more challenging, but a more enlightening realisation of the greys in between.

The 5 'C's
We have distilled the idea of 'Seeing Myself See' in the context of education into five principles, which we call the 5 C's: Compassion, Community, Choice, Creativity and Courage. These principles provide the intertwined threads of a tapestry, the actual colours and textures of which must be woven by the individual school. We argue that these principles can be achieved only if they become what we call the actual 'ecology of education'. They are as much about teaching as learning, since teaching compassionately teaches compassion; teaching creatively teaches creativity; by guiding children rather than instructing them, they learn freedom and responsibility to choose; and situating one's students in the context of a community enables the learner to become a unique part of a whole.


Workshopsvisit here for more information.

“An hour with Beau was an invitation to shift your perceptions and let your mind explore a new playground of creativity in order to reach new levels of innovation! It is exactly what we needed. The feedback from all participants was unanimously euphoric! The delivery and contents were truly inspiring. One of the best key note speakers ever." – Swisscom

"It was engaging and thought provoking, which was 1 of the core objectives. I would recommend the speaker and already have to my fellow program management colleagues, as we are responsible for booking all speakers within the Gartner events team. A good buzz and thought provocation I think on the whole!" – Gartner Events

"Beau was very energetic and his slides were visually appealing. His presentation style leaves delegates listening to every word and his enthusiasm for the topic helps engage the audience into what he is saying. He speaks about things that affect everyone and appeals to all types of audiences, he was a pleasure to work with, arrived on time and worked to the brief he was given without any fuss." – Citywire

"I’m writing a short note (for now) to thank Beau for his incredible presentation yesterday. In 17 short minutes, he managed to change the way that our audience perceived themselves and the world around them. Not only did he manage to excite them about his own work, but he closed the morning session on a high that left them wanting more in the afternoon. We hope that he enjoyed speaking for the how to: Academy, and look forward to reading more about his work in the future." – How To Academy

"In the present times of crisis, we must be alert to opportunities around us, which often means changing the way we perceive things, "getting out of the box". Changing our perception of the world is a window open to new ways of seeing and doing things. In short, to innovate.  To help us in this process, we decided to invite Dr. Beau Lotto to the opening day of the 13th Science, Technology and Innovation Week of the Basque Country. Beyond his proven experience in the field of perception, we want to highlight his skills for communication and outreach, the way he connected with the audience through an interactive, fresh, fun and inspiring presentation." – Innobasque, Basque Innovation Agency

"I just wanted to pop you a note to say how wonderful Beau was yesterday. A true professional and loved by the clients. It was the perfect start to the event and we can't thank Beau, and you guys, enough." icrossing

"Beau was great, and very well received both by the client and the audience. We found him to be very good at engaging the audience even that early in the morning, and being very thought-provoking as well." – Colombus Communications

"What a knockout! The feedback from all the members was fantastic, thank you very much. I have already had some interest from another multinational company who unfortunately were not at the meeting. I shall continue talking to other senior member executives in our membership as I think your material really is fantastic." – TechUK

"We couldn't have asked for a better presenter to kick off Being Human 2012 than Beau Lotto or a better presentation than the one Beau delivered. With playfulness, energy and vivid illustration of essential principles, Beau brilliantly set the context for the day and opened the 1,000 guests in attendance to the frame of curiosity and exploration we aimed to establish for the event." – Being Human

"I simply adore these talks. Beau Lotto is one of those who studies a specific subject, such as our adaptation to illusions, primarily optical, that can be applied to any subject of human studies. For instance, it matters not what tools - wealth, knowledge, physical features, etc. - we are granted in life, but rather how we choose to use them. Apply this to scenarios and you'll understand. Basically, I believe this man has taken a giant leap in the direction of brain functioning. As he said, it is not as important to ask what it is, as it is to ask why it is so. Therefore, rather than discussing whether women have superior optical senses (just stating it here, don't attack me) is not as important as discussing why and how it got to be superior. By doing this we can, rather than identifying whether there are differences, understand the differences, and learn a crucial +art of our brain's functioning. Amazing ideas, creative talk! Brilliant finale! Definitely worth sharing! – TED

"Beau may, initially, appear to be an unusual choice of speaker for a conference on criminal justice legislation aimed at the police. However, PNLD asked Beau to speak at our 7th Annual Conference because we wanted a speaker able to re-energize delegates after a very full morning of legal information and engage with the audience, making them think about the assumptions we all tend to make every day. Beau certainly delivered what we asked for. In a series of practical demonstrations, he showed that the human brain tends to see what it has learned to expect to see and challenged the audience to reassess what we all thought we knew. The feedback we received from delegates included the following comments:

  • "A highly captivating performance which kept delegates awake after lunch."
  • "Very intriguing and thought-provoking presentation."
  • "A breath of fresh air."

"Beau Lotto is an excellent speaker whose energy and passion for his subject certainly engaged the interest of our delegates; we were delighted with his presentation." – PNLD

"Giving a keynote lecture on 'why you see what you see' to a room full of ophthalmologists may have been daunting to some but Beau Lotto clearly thrives in such an environment as he delivered a thoroughly entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking lecture. The room echoed with sounds of surprise followed by increasingly louder sounds of laughter as delegates were subjected to various visual tests that appeared on screen, and clearly demonstrated that what they thought they saw was indeed not what they saw! Beau lotto's lecture challenged our perceptions and provided an excellent roundup for our conference. A 96% average rating score speaks volumes about this!" – Enitan (pharmaceutical)

"Our client saw Dr Beau Lotto on the Horizon programme and they were so impressed that they were interested in having him present at their annual glaucoma meeting. Dr Lotto was very accommodating from start to finish and his enthusiastic nature was refreshing. Dr Lotto's presentation was interactive, educational and entertaining. Both the client and delegates thoroughly enjoyed the nature of the presentation and it provided a welcome break from the seriousness of the meeting. On a personal note, Dr Lotto was a pleasure to work with. He was responsive to correspondence and a real character on site. I would happily recommend Dr Lotto to anyone interested in having him speak in a public capacity." – Darwin Healthcare Communications

"Beau Lotto has been resident in the Science Museum for the past year. He has created a lab and a series of programmes that is like no other; it's not too far from the truth to describe his time here as like having a Renaissance man in our midst – Beau blends art, science, curiosity, illusion and music to entertain children, adults and scientists alike. The programmes that the studio have put together with the Museum are also truly inspirational and life-enhancing... I believe that our visitors will be strongly influenced and inspired by Beau and the Lab, and our mission must be to get as many people exposed to this opportunity as we can."– London Science Museum

"I worked with Beau Lotto for a film I made for the BBC2 science series 'Horizon'. Beau was our main contributor and organised an experiment, involving 200 people, which took place at the Science Museum and was the main thread through the film. Beau was great to work with – very creative, highly ambitious and with incredible energy. His communications skills are quite something to behold: when dealing with the volunteers from the public for the experiment, he held them in the palm of his hand and infected them with his enthusiasm. Respected by his peers and looked up to by his students he is someone who people like to listen to and learn from. I'd love the chance to work with him again." – BBC

Beau's latest book, Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently will be released in April 2017

‘If someone else told me that reality is something we create in our head, I’d up my medication.
This brilliantly written book shows us that this is actually the road to liberation’ Ruby Wax

‘A more accessible, fun, interactive version of Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow’ David Rowan, Editor of Wired

‘A ground-breaking book … as entertaining as it is provocative.’ Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element

Overview of Deviate:

Perception is the foundation of human experience, but few of us understand how our own senses work. By revealing the startling truths about the brain and perception, Beau Lotto shows that the next big innovation is not a new technology: it is a new way of seeing.

In his first major book, Lotto draws on over a decade of pioneering research to show how our brains play tricks on us. Visually stunning, with entertaining illustrations and optical illusions throughout, and with clear and comprehensive explanations of the science behind how our perceptions operate, Deviate will revolutionise the way you see the world. With this new understanding of how the brain functions, we can apply these insights to every aspect of life and work.

Deviate is not just an illuminating account of the neuroscience of thought, behaviour and creativity: it is a call to action, enlisting readers in their own journey of self-discovery.

Beau's other books include:

Why We See What We Do Redux
Why We See What We Do An Empirical Theory of Vision

Beau specialises in perception research and has for years, amazed the world of science with work that blurs the boundaries between neuroscience and the arts. By bending the science of perception, he is trying to transform the way people think not just about themselves, but also about the world around them. Lotto's centre of perception research, known as Lottolab, has become a hybrid science lab-art studio, undertaking highly controlled experiments, which are published in top international scientific journals. Here he answers some of our questions:

Do you believe we can train ourselves to be truly creative, even as adults?

Yes, we can train ourselves to be creative, but not formulaically. This is because the source of creativity is a way of being. The most essential aspect of creativity is one's approach to life. How one engages with life should vary depending on the problem at hand. This is why the aim of my talks is to raise the awareness of what that way of being, needs to be. In other words, to explain why we are creative, why creativity isn't actually creative at all, and why seeing differently is the source of creativity. This is in contrast to the usual approach of asking what is creativity, who is creative, and what are they like? If you just give someone a method, and they've no idea why they're doing it, or what they're doing, they'll simply reapply the same process
 to other's conflicts, challenges and questions. However, in fact, the method itself should be questioned and adapted.

Are there certain questions we should be asking ourselves about our perceived reality?

Yes and no. If a bus is coming towards you, you're best stepping out of the way, rather than wondering whether there's a different way of seeing it. The problem is that we 
live our lives as if everything is a bus. Hence, we focus on process 
and efficiency. The real wisdom is in knowing what is a bus and what isn't, and in understanding that in some instances the best route to efficiency is itself creativity. You should be considering that the efficient process you're applying, may no longer be relevant. This is the typical failing of many businesses and organisations.

They - through a creative process
- discover an efficient solution to
 a problem. But because they don't understand why the solution worked, or because they incorrectly assume that a new problem looks 'similar' to the old one, they continue to use the same method. As they fear challenging what they assume to be correct ('that method 1 is efficient'), they hold onto it rather than question it. In this sense, we frequently want to question what we assume to be true already. It's in the asking of this question that there is likely to be the biggest paradigm shift.

You are working with purpose on the first neuro-design lab, 'The Beautiful Mind'. This sounds a very exciting project. How can you offer brands a new way of looking at customer and client behaviour?

Branding aims to create a strong relationship with an audience through meaningful narratives. Essential to this relationship is authenticity, trust, and bonding. The problem is that most brands don't know how the brain actually creates relationships, or how social bonds are maintained. As such they either miss the point or treat individuals as averages (through market research), which would be like trying to create - much less maintain - a relationship with your partner by treating them as the 'average' man or woman.

That wouldn't work very well,
 or at least not for very long. While none of us are unique, which means most of our behaviours deviate little from average, to know someone is to know how, when, where and - most importantly, why they deviate from the norm. By combining our collective expertise in design, engagement, neuroscience and behaviour we are better able to work with companies to create narratives that are truly meaningful to their audiences. In so doing we are able to establish a sense of brand loyalty that wouldn't be possible otherwise.

Furthermore, most businesses generally think that power and success lie in finding the right answer. We take a fundamentally different approach. Rather than emphasising answers, we focus on questions. A good question is where success lives. But discovering and creating a really good question is really difficult. However, as scientists and designers, that's what we are good at - asking good questions, and indeed understanding what actually is good and why. In addition, we're also skilled at the craft of discovering the answers.

Finally, unlike most similar agencies, we are actually the source of the scientific understanding that others use. In other words rather than trying to apply strategies, information, insights of others (usually from popular science books, which are inherently several years out of date once published), as scientists we are actually the source of that information. This gives us a tremendous advantage. Not only are we inherently contemporary but - more importantly - we truly understand the principles behind the information, rather than just the information itself. And as designers, we know how to share that understanding, not just with our clients, but also with their desired audience.

NB: Visit here to listen to the full interview with Beau.

The following fees are a guideline only and are correct at time of publishing. For an accurate quote please contact us


UK :£7k to £15k

Europe :£7k to £15k

US :£15k to £30k

Asia/Middle East :£15k to £30k

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