Within this framework, people would typically be recruited into so-called ‘adaptive groups’; that is, teams consisting of people with highly complementary cognitive abilities, allowing them to collaborate effectively and produce the best possible ideas and solutions. The exploratory specialisation we see with dyslexia would not be viewed as a disorder but rather an important ability that is valued and nurtured from day one. Children would be encouraged to learn through exploration – that is, to figure things out, discover and innovate in addition to learning from existing knowledge.

The innovative problem-solving that emerges from this highly cooperative system is likely to greatly enhance and even accelerate our ability to create adaptive and sustainable societies around the world.

A change for the better

As a completely new area of research and approach to adapting to climate change, there is still a lot we are trying to work out, such as how complementary cognition can best inform new business practices and how it can be applied effectively in education. However, what is certain is the need to adapt faster. A key step towards this is to modify the dominant cultural values of our modern society. By emphasising collaboration over competition, and embracing different ways of thinking, we can harness the collective ability of humankind to create a sustainable society.