I was recently invited to join the Board of Inspiration in the newly formed Octopus Movement founded by Perry Knoppert. One of our first actions was to write a defining manifesto which I am pleased to share here.
If you’ve ever felt like you can’t or don’t want to be put in a box, or that you’re talented at too many things. Or that you’re more of a generalist than a specialist, then there’s a place for you in The Octopus Movement.
The Octopus Movement is a global coalition of non-linear thinkers and multipotentialites united by a desire to create positive change in the world.
We are here to drive acceptance and awareness of the awesome abilities of atypical thinkers and embed our diverse experience, expertise, and polymathic skills inside institutions ready and willing to tackle the trickiest challenges of today and tomorrow.
What we believe
The world is over-specialised. We live in a society dominated by specialists who tend to want to put everyone into a box. But many non-linear thinkers can’t be, or don’t want to be defined by a single label on a single box.
Labels and boxes inhibit us all from reaching our true potential. Specialists are valuable and important, but when overly specialized thinking divides us, opportunities are missed and the world suffers. Together we are stronger.
Non-linear thinkers work differently and capably. We are uniquely interested and able to focus on, and acquire expertise in, many areas. We are multi-specialists who sometimes defy the norms of a nine-to-five world.
It’s time for specialists to recognize our value. Every skill we acquire is a form of currency. Non-linear thinkers deserve to be taken seriously by employers, HR departments, and of course, specialists.
We have the collective power to change the world. Non-linear thinkers are an awesome but underutilized and often misunderstood resource. We need and deserve a bigger presence in organisations, businesses, and governments that are champions for positive change.
What The Octopus Movement members are great at
Idea Synthesis. We are great at combining two or more fields and creating something new at the intersection. Our natural appreciation for novelty and variety leads us to have a wide range of interests we can draw from for inspiration.
Rapid Learning. We are unafraid to try new things and comfy outside our comfort zone. We bring everything we’ve learned to everything we do and our skills are transferable across disciplines so we’re never starting from scratch.
Adaptability. We draw on vast experience and expertise to morph into whatever we need to be based on the situation. Translating between modes of thought is second nature. Fast Company calls this the #1 most important skill in the 21st century.
Solution Finding. We instinctively try and solve problems. Always. Connecting dots in all directions in search of new or better ways of doing things is how we roll. Innovation and ideas are our passion.
Collaboration. We get interested and go hard, enthusiastically. We generate lots of ideas without being precious. And we instinctively empathise with a broad set of people and cultures making us exceptional leaders.
Why The Octopus Movement matters
The world needs non-linear thinkers now more than ever.
Look at the state of things today and you will see an epidemic of disinformation, pandemic disease, democracies faltering, healthcare and education costs rising, a growing gap between the 1% and everyone else, the influence of AI, and perhaps most important of all, a planet in peril.
The challenges humans currently face on Earth are the most extreme and important in history. Change is constant and accelerating. To succeed and survive, new perspectives and creative ways of working are vital.
But non-linear thinkers are only part of the solution. To create the brighter future we all desire, we must combine forces with specialists to form super teams of innovators and problem solvers.
The solutions aren’t on Mars. They’re right here on Earth, swimming in a wide sea of specialists and the collective minds of The Octopus Movement.
Join The Octopus Movement
If you identify as a non-linear thinker or a multipotentialite, join the movement.
If you recognize the value non-linear thinkers and multipotentialites offer, support the movement. Tap into an underutilized resource and hire us to tackle your biggest challenges.
And no matter who you are, listen to our podcast, pre-order our book, or sign up to be first to watch our documentary.
Learn more at: theoctopusmovement.org
Why an octopus?
The octopus is our amazing mascot for many reasons:
- They have nine brains giving them high intelligence and unique problem-solving skills.
- They have eight arms each able to move independently which makes them able to test, learn, and do multiple things at once.
- They have three hearts pumping blue blood which helps them thrive in uncomfortable waters.
- They use camouflage to quickly adapt to fit into any situation.
- And they have their own unique DNA, often described as alien which resonates with those of us who may feel like we don’t fit in.
Non-linear thinking is thinking along unconventional, atypical lines or in a non-sequential manner. In non-linear thinking, people make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. Non-linear thinkers draw conclusions and develop ideas, solutions, and innovations from experience gained in a variety of different fields. And they are more likely to innovate in surprising and world-changing ways.
Multipotentiality is a psychological and educational term used to describe people who display aptitudes across multiple disciplines. Multipotentialites are generally bright, driven individuals who have a diverse skill set (as opposed to simply diverse interests), and an increased capacity to learn. They have a unique way of seeing the world and are known to possess strong intellectual and creative curiosity as well as above-average IQ.
Neurodiversity applies to a community of people whose members are neurodivergent. The conditions of ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, and Dyslexia make up “Neurodiversity.” Neuro-differences are recognised and appreciated as a social category on par with ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or disability status. Not all neurodiverse people are non-linear thinkers, nor mulitipotentialites.