“Like a regular gym to get physically fit, cognitive fitness requires constant practise as well because thinking isn’t a set but a dynamic state”

- Oscar Venhuis, Co-founder EQ Lab

The workplace crisis.

The cost of organisational drag - the imposition of industrial work practices on post-industrial or digitised organisations - is estimated to be $9 trillion per annum in the OECD economies (Dr Gary Hamel).

  • $450-550 billion per annum, cost of disengagement in US economy - Gallup
  • $2.4 trillion lost GDP US per annum, cost of distrust: 20% loss in productivity (HBR) + 63% of employees report distrusting their CEO in US - Edelman Trust Barometer
  • $360 billion per annum, cost of toxic bosses in the US economy - Forbes
  • $3,156 per employee, insomnia - HBR
  • $200-300 billion per annum, stress - Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd Ed
  • $8 billion in productivity, $16 million in turnover, bullying - Workplace Bullying Institute
  • $650 billion per annum, digital distractions and gossip - CFO Daily News
  • $73.1 billion per annum, bad eating habits & obesity - ABC News; note that Robert Lustig argues that the cost of nutrition related chronic illness will soon bankrupt Western medical systems, so this is a tiny drop in the overall whole.
  • $48.6 billion, workplace injuries and illnesses - American Society of Safety Engineers
  • $36 billion per annum, workplace violence - Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence
  • $75 billion per annum, grief  - Wall Street Journal
  • $600 billion per annum, thievery and fraud - Profiles International

Other addictive and extra-organisational behaviours, such as drinking, smoking, drugs and domestic violence (all of which can be intensified by workplace practices) can cost organisations tens of thousands per employee. Read more 'Work is killing us'.

Finally, Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff, an internationally recognised learning effectiveness expert, published a study in his book Telling Training's Story that shows 15 percent of people don't try a new concept after they learn it, and 70 percent try but fail or give up. Just 15 percent of leaders who get training are actually able to establish permanent change after traditional learning experiences. Other experts report only 10 percent of such corporate training is effective.”

Up to 85% fails to achieve permanent change or unable to apply their learnings. In the U.S. $160 billion is spend on leadership development annually. That equals to $144 billion that is wasted, just on leadership development alone.

Also read:

Why is this?

It seems that largely it's because of how we rank and design the training. To get good marks from employees and to sell to L&D departments, training needs to be:

  1. Clearly signposted, taking you from A to Z in a linear manner
  2. Entertaining / edutaining (the content should be fun)
  3. Linked to some specific learning objectives
  4. Reasonably easy to complete, with embedded tests to help the memorization of the learning

However, research illustrates that none of the above helps with long-term learning or the application of learning in one's work.

  1. Instead of being linear, content should be interleaved (presented in a random order within a holding theme).
  2. Rather than content being entertaining, it should force people to grapple to understand it
  3. Instead of being highlighted upfront, learning objectives should emerge from this grappling, with learning pathways being unique to each person
  4. It should be difficult to complete, with people failing to do well at an immediate testing level, instead excelling via longer-term percolation and application


We’re here to change that.

Grounded in cognitive science and behavioural innovation, DILS (Dialogic Innovation and Learning System) is a high-impact learning format that is applied across all our live, interactive and dialogue-driven courses. Dialogic Courses is an innovative solution to reduce organisational drag and to go from surviving to thriving in today's complex world.

DILS was co-created by EQ Lab's founders Dr. Richard Claydon and Oscar Venhuis to cultivate sustained cognitive performance and mental agility. Conventional employee development programs are offered in sprints; an immersive weekend or a few days over several months of learning to address deeply embedded dogmas and behaviours. However, tackling deep-rooted cognitive biases, developing a growth mindset and changing the discourse of teams and organisational behaviour require more than a few microlearning sessions. Establishing behavioural fitness and leadership adaptivity demands constant learning and practise.

Cognitive Gym's masterclasses engage all participants through a collaborative and interactive format. Like a gym to get physically fit, the Cognitive Gym's schedule is updated regularly with new courses by international and award-winning practitioners. Join live and meaningful courses to elevate communication skills, challenge biases, develop complexity of thinking and foster cross-cultural communication through a global network of Extended Intelligence (EQ). Our approach:

  • Makes learning engaging and meaningful
  • Elevates memory recall through active participation 
  • Collaborative setting makes learning faster
  • Helps to apply learning to work more quickly