Neurodivergence is a term used to describe the natural variation in thinking styles that can be associated with, for instance, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit disorder or dylsexia. A neurodiverse group is one which consists of at least some members who are neurodivergent. Those members may have different skills, working preferences or needs. Understanding such differences is important for creative group working (for instance, in design workshops), where leveraging a range of different perspectives may lead to more innovative outcomes.
Dr Adam Galpin is the principle supervisor for a PhD project investigating how individuals who identify as neurodivergent experience creative processes in the workplace. The project is being undertaken by PhD student Carrie White and is funded by the BBC. Also on the team are Sean Gilroy (Cognitive Design lead at the BBC), Dr Maria Panagiotidi and Dr Ben Short. The work draws on the team’s expertise in creativity, neurodiversity, user experience and design research.
The aim of the research is to understand how those working within the creative industries perceive the barriers and facilitators to their creative practice. The project is now in its second year. Data analysis is currently underway of an online survey of 84 neurodiverse and neurotypical individuals who have reported on their experiences of what helps or hinders their creative working. The next stage will involve in-depth qualitative interviews to shed deeper insight into creative working.
It is hoped the results may lead to guidelines and recommendations that can help in the design of activities or environments that facilitate creative working within neurodiverse teams. Such guidelines may be employed within the BBC and elsewhere.
Quote from survey respondent: “I have experienced the value of working within a mixed team of both neuro typical and neuro divergent people. This took a great deal of effort and time to set up correctly, with constant adjustments in communication from all parties, but was worth it as both a learning journey and end project delivery.”
Team: Carrie White, Dr Adam Galpin, Sean Gilroy, Dr Maria Panagiotidi and Dr Ben Short