Warren Lamb: Pioneer of movement analysis whose behavioural predictions were sought by industries and governments
Wednesday 05 February 2014
Warren Lamb was the pioneer of Movement Pattern Analysis, a method of predicting behaviour from patterns of physical movement. His work was often too ahead of its time to be easily accepted, but the underlying concepts are clear: each person has a distinct way of moving that is constant, like a signature; this pattern can be observed and identified through disciplined analysis; and the resultant Movement Pattern is a reliable predictor of how people will behave in a variety of situations.
Lamb was always emphatic in distinguishing his work from the popular "body language" literature. It is not fixed gestures that matter, he believed; the patterns of dynamic movement hold the key to understanding behaviour. Those who studied his work saw this as a hugely powerful discovery. Indeed, Lamb applied his method successfully in management consultancy. He was employed by many leading multinationals to help recruit their managers – firms like American Express, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Hambros Bank, Heineken, Kodak and Saatchi & Saatchi. "I don't understand his method – but it works so I'll use it," was a typical response of CEOs.
In recent years his work had received increased attention from governments, the US government in particular, which commissioned him to study the movement of leaders of communist or former communist countries. A profile of Vladimir Putin was especially appreciated. Academic interest also grew, with recent studies (the latest one led by Harvard and Brown universities in the US) pointing to the strong validity of Lamb's method.
Lamb was first attracted to movement on his return from naval duty in the Second World War. He worked under the tutelage of the pioneering choreographer and movement analyst Rudolf Laban, first studying movement in a dance context then moving to applications for industry. The method is being taken forward by the Warren Lamb Trust, led by the lecturer and consultant Dr Carol-Lynne Moore.
He remained extraordinarily energetic until his last year – even in his eighties he was always insistent on personally and actively illustrating movement patterns when teaching. He took up hang-gliding at 65 and reluctantly gave up downhill skiing at 84. He always said he wanted to die like the French painter Marc Chagall, working imaginatively until his last moment. And so it was.
Warren Lamb, movement expert and management consultant: born Wallasey 28 April 1923; four children from his first marriage; married Barbara; died Claremont, California 21 January 2014.
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