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Future Here Now: Neurodivergence is Fusion Era strength?
Try It On
NOTE: The last few weeks I have been struggling with the fourth of the five weekly FHN elements - the one that I have been calling To Do Next Week. I’ve had two problems with it. First, it feels over-bossy - who am I to tell you what to do next week? Second, it seemed too prescriptive - see #1, but also too narrow to whatever particular situation I could come up with in my head.
So, here’s the new game plan:
I’m recasting that section as “What Do I Do With This?” The idea here is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so this section will be more about integrating this information into your life and work, whatever that is.
I’m moving that section to the end of the week - the fifth of the five pieces per topic. I’m also renaming Selections, which sounds mucho boring, to A Different Angle, which is really more what I’ve wanted to do with that piece. This part might be a written piece, or a video, or a song, or who knows what. You don’t know til you look!
This is the big question mark. A lot of you read and don’t usually respond or react. I’d like to hear from you more. So I’m going to try to ask you more pointed questions - how would you do this, what’s the implications in your line of work, do you think the person in the story made the right choice, etc.
AND every week I will select a comment or a response for a little gift! It might be a book or a Short Shot, a gift card for coffee, or…who knows? You’ll have to check the What Do I Do with This email to see if you’ve won. Both free and full subscribers are eligible. If you’re using the Substack app, you’ll find additional opportunities there via the Notes function.
Free subscribers will continue to get one of the five emails in full per week, and truncated versions of the rest of them. May I remind you, though, that a full subscriptions is inexpensive and full of useful and occasionally entertaining insights that you won’t find anywhere else. And if you do a group subscription with your department, your bestie, your mom, whoever, you all get 25% off!
Thanks. Back to the program.
This week’s Future Here Now focuses on an unexpected, but intriguing, emerging implication of the transition we are living through to the Fusion Era:
Thinking differently, which was a Bad Thing in the Industrial Era, is becoming an asset. Since our ability to generate value depends, not on our strong back or ability to follow instructions, but on our ability to solve problems and find innovations, being able to see something from an unusual perspective might mean that we can uncover an opportunity that more mainstream thinkers might not see.
The problem is that our Industrial Era leftovers (hello, education and offices) aren’t designed to leverage these assets - they’re designed to suppress them, to force compliance or kick them out of the system. But as we continue to make this transition, those divergent perspectives are going to become more and more valuable. We’re already seeing that in early, sporadic efforts to employ some people who are on the autistic spectrum - and a few employers are even discovering that people on the spectrum can do some necessary jobs better than neurotypical employees.
If we want to thrive in the Fusion Era, we need to move our systems and our assumptions to capitalize on people with divergent minds.
Try It On
Most of us know at least one person who is diagnosed with a neurodivergence - autism, attention deficit or attention deficit hyperactivity, Down’s Syndrome, dyslexia, Asperger’s (mostly older folks will use this label, which isn’t officially recognized anymore), and more.
If you don’t know someone who falls into the neurodivergent category (this article has more information), or if you find this exercise too hard to do with the people you know, check out this list of public figures who have known neurodivergences.
As you consider the person’s story, ask yourself:
What is this person really good at?
How might their neurodivergence affect their ability to do the thing that they’re really good at?
What changes to the world around them might give them the opportunity to succeed even more?