Innovation Isn't "Normal"


“I see you there tonight, defeated. I saw you beat yourself up year after year. Why can’t you just act “normal?” Why can’t you just blend in? Sweetheart, I’m here to ask: why on earth would you want to?”

This is how Ashley Parris begins the piece, “How to Be Kind to Myself as a Person with Autism”, which was published on November 15 by The Mighty.

I must agree with Ashley.  Why would you want to be normal?  Further, why would you want to hire somebody who just blends in?  Opportunity doesn’t come from thinking the same, it comes from being first.  Successful marketing doesn’t come from delivering the same message, it comes from being unique.  Innovation doesn’t come from falling in lockstep behind those that came before, but from moving in a different direction. 

Below is a list of disrupters and change-makers that by being different made the world a better place:

1.     In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized The Seneca Falls Convention, the first gathering committed to women’s rights in the United States.

2.     Ignaz Semmelweis, in 1847, proposed the practice of hand washing before medical procedures.  The practice was rejected by the medical community, and in fact some doctors were offended by the suggestion.

3.     The Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903 changed the idea of travel forever.

4.     Santa Claus was not always depicted as we know him today.  Haddon Sundblom popularized the image of a plump, jolly man with a red suit and white beard, but not until 1931.

5.     Socrates, the founder of Moral Philosophy and Western Ethics, was also an outspoken moral and social critic of Athenian government.  He was inevitably put on trial and forced to drink poison.

We live in a society that seems to reward those who don’t rock the boat.  But it’s important to remember that it’s the disrupters and non-conformists that change the world and make it better.  This innovation comes from those among us who refuse to think the same as everybody else.

To learn more about how autism employment can be a catalyst for change and innovation, contact Mind Shift.  We work hard to find meaningful careers for adults on the autism spectrum.   

And to read the letter published by Ashley Parris, please follow the link below:–%20November%2022,%202017