Below is an excerpt from Dr. Ned's Hallowell's newsletter where InventiveLabs Co-founder Rick Fiery was featured as the guest writer for the opening article in the newsletter:
This month’s Note from Ned is not from Ned, but from my dear friend Rick Fiery, who is a pioneer in helping young people with ADHD, whom he names “Inventives.” I’d like to see ADHD renamed Inventive, wouldn’t you?
His institute, which he describes, is heaven on earth for people who can’t do college but who have lots of talent and ambition. I also urge you to go to their Kickstarter page and view the projects Rick’s amazing Inventives are developing. I urge you to check it out - Inventive Labs.
Society is at a crossroads. College is becoming more expensive and more selective every year, while the pool of applicants continues to grow. Test scores required to get into respected colleges have skyrocketed, as have the requirements to demonstrate an effort to save the world by the time you are 17. And, if you struggle with reading, writing or mathematical skills because of ADHD and/or dyslexia, making it through college is even harder. Our society has become hyper-focused on attaining a college degree, leaving many people who learn differently on the outside looking in.
Now, let’s talk about the workplace. Prior to online job boards, you could show up at a company with your resume and possibly get an audience. Today’s world is different. HR systems weed out resumes using algorithms that search for keywords. Guess what the number one keyword is? You guessed it – college degree. If you have a learning difference and were unable to complete the degree, it is likely your resume won’t even get looked at. You may have been the one who did save the world and most companies would never know.
So this is where society faces its challenge. People with ADHD have a difficult time completing the standard college regime; it is not built for them. As Dr. Hallowell has explained, it is for people with attention-surplus disorder. Consequently, some of our most brilliant and creative thinkers in this world are being put in the penalty box because of the box they cannot tick – college degree. As I am sure many readers of this newsletter are aware, there are many famous entrepreneurs, entertainers, sports heroes, etc. who are ADHD and/or dyslexic. Some of them did not finish college. At an event at our research center, Dr. Hallowell gave a fantastic presentation describing these types of people and their struggles. (You can view it here on our YouTube channel.) These struggles are not necessary.
Our view is that society is sidelining what we call “necessary brilliance”. Necessary brilliance is embodied by the intellect, creativity and contributions that people with learning differences can provide to the world if they are given the opportunity to do so. Right now, they are not being given that opportunity. Look around at all the bright young people who are living back home with their parents. Some of them were valedictorians, leads in the high school play, class presidents or star athletes who now consider themselves failures. They are not. They just need to find a different path to success.
At InventiveLabs, it is our mission to change this paradigm. Instead of asking people with ADHD to change their behavior to meet society’s expectations and blend in, we are providing a platform for them to prove their worth by demonstrating their brilliance. InventiveLabs is a place for people who learn differently to explore their passions and figure out a way to become successful doing what they love in an environment of acceptance. Tom Bergeron and I have experience with creating and growing businesses over the last 20 years. We, along with a community of successful businesspeople, guide them to their end goal: starting a company, joining a company that fulfills their passion or actually re-entering the right college once they know what they want to do with their lives. Whatever their passion is, we support them. We even have highly successful angel investors, some of whom are likely ADHD themselves (imagine that!), ready to invest in good ideas coming out of the lab.
Our current team of Inventives (our attendees) are working on things such as a fictional novel, a new beachwear business, a new retail store, temporary covers for outdoor equipment, kitchen accessories, and apps for mobile devices. To give you some perspective on the types of people we attract, one of our Inventives played netball for the Australian National Team. Another was integral to the growth of a major YouTube channel for Minecraft. Another is the great grandson of Igor Sikorsky (of helicopter fame). Not one of them has completed college, but they have a lot to offer to the world!
Our Inventives are launching some new products on the Kickstarter crowdsourcing website. They have worked hard on creating their prototypes and are offering them for sale on the website. Pre-buying their products on Kickstarter will help them launch their first business if there is enough interest in their idea. It will also help InventiveLabs as we work to raise awareness and prove that our Inventives deserve to be noticed, and should not be stuck in menial jobs where they cannot contribute to the betterment of society. Help us demonstrate their necessary brilliance!
Visit our website at www.inventivelabs.org.