Pink was interviewed by Oprah on her Soul Series, but don’t let that scare you if you’re not an Oprah and spirituality fan. The interview is about more than spirituality, including business and economics as well. Pink uses the left brain, right brain idea as a metaphor to compare systematic, logical thinking (a “left brain” function) and more creative, big picture ideas (a “right brain” function.). Pink, a self described left-brain thinker, theorizes that our changing world means that we’re moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. Those individuals who excel at more right brained functions, which Pink terms the senses of design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning, (and conversation, which Pink adds in the interview) will succeed professionally and personally. Much of this change is brought about by the growing abilities to outsource or automate any career that’s highly systematic. Pink uses examples such as accounting and law, while I thought instantly of my former career as a Semiconductor Packaging Engineer. (Try to find one of those employed in the US!)
Does Pink’s theory warn of looming disaster for professionals with Asperger’s and autism? To my thinking, only on the surface. It is an alert to all of us, on the spectrum or not, to keep growing and learning. We all need to build on our innate strengths, while paying attention to and strengthening those areas where we don’t excel. Professional success, as always, depends on the ability to adapt to change. Also, the Asperger’s/autism strengths in thinking outside the box are probably a key to success in this new environment. Listen to the interview and see what you think.