Neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds – the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species.
Members of the neurodiversity movement adopt a position of diversity that extends the LGBTQIA+ kaleidoscope of identities by recognising neurodivergent traits – including but not limited to ADHD, Autism, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Synesthesia, Tourette’s Syndrome – as natural variations of cognition, motivations, and patterns of behaviour within the human species.
Neurodivergence is at the core of creativity (slides). Striving to be popular is incompatible with being creative. This is either the truth… or it is a case of autistic black and white thinking.
Neurodivergent people and teams:
- Adhere to idiosyncratic moral value systems rather than social norms
- Are okay with exploring ideas that upset the “social order”
- Spend much more time experimenting and implementing ideas that others would consider crazy or a waste of time
- Have untypical life goals: new forms of understanding, making a positive impact, translating ideas into artistic expression
- Autists in particular have unusually developed pattern recognition abilities and an unusual ability to persevere
Greta Thunberg is a fantastic ambassador for autistic people. She illustrates the immense social value of all of the above traits. The interview below is in Swedish but is available with English subtitles.
“Some people mock me for my diagnosis. But Asperger is not a disease, it’s a gift. People also say that since I have Asperger I couldn’t possibly have put myself in this position. But that’s exactly why I did this. Because if I would have been “normal” and social I would have organized myself in an organisation, or started an organisation by myself. But since I am not that good at socializing I did this instead. I was so frustrated that nothing was being done about the climate crisis and I felt like I had to do something, anything. And sometimes NOT doing things—like just sitting down outside the parliament—speaks much louder than doing things. Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting.” – Greta Thunberg
Autistic people don’t play social games, instead we actively resist them. In the Asch conformity paradigm, autistic people were found to resist changing their spontaneous judgement to an array of graphic lines despite social pressure to change by conforming to the erroneous judgement of an authoritative confederate. Non-autistic adolescents develop a systematic bias of their responses in the direction of social influence. The same pattern of bias development does not emerge in age-matched autistic children.
The unConference on Interdisciplinary Innovation and Collaboration (CIIC) recognises neurodivergence as the substrate for innovation and offers a neurodiversity friendly environment for tackling challenges that go beyond the established framework of research in industry, government and academia.
Neurodiversity related CIIC results
Blog, 9 February 2019
Civilisation = existential risk
Blog, 23 December 2018
Beyond civilisation, towards collective intelligence
Blog, 20 December 2018
Replacing busyness with human agency
Wellington, November 2018 (HiNZ conference)
Deploying trust building, thinking, and learning tools to create an inclusive culture of innovation and collaboration
Blog, 26 November 2018
A theory of cultural evolution
Blog, 31 October 2018
Creating an inclusive culture of innovation and collaboration
Melbourne, September 2018
Supporting activities of the Dandenong Mechanics’ Institute
Melbourne, June 2018
Exploitation of autists at work
Blog, 14 November 2017
Trust vs capital
Blog, 28 September 2017
The language of thought is underrated and the language of human speech is overrated
Auckland, September 2017
Interaction and collaboration of humans and intelligent machines
Blog, 25 June 2017
Finding a niche in the living world
Auckland, June 2017
Human scale computing
Blog, 30 April 2017
From the busyness of innovation to the creation of value
Melbourne, March 2017
CIIC-off Melbourne, January 2017
Neurodiversity – the core of creativity
Auckland, December 2016
Making information interactive
Auckland, September 2015
How do we need to redefine economic progress? What is value?