What if Normal is the problem?

It's not easy recognising that Normal is the problem

Starting a conversation about Normal

The talks and workshops about Post Normal are to start conversations about the problems of Normal and the possibilities of Post Normal.

The talk is in 11 parts.

1) Accessibility

Introduction with personal experience of working in research and design for accessible digital and physical products.

2) Inclusion and Diversity

Setting up the problem space by noting the failure to deepen inclusion and diversity in organisations and products.

3) Normality

Reframing the problem from ‘What do we do to be more Diverse?’ to ‘How do we stop being so Normal’?

4) History of Normality

A quick history lesson in 180 years of Normality (using Quetelet, Galton, Thorndike and Burt as key figures).

5) The bias and exclusion of Normal

Clearly stating that Normal, Normality and Norms are biases that exclude. We cannot enable diversity if our tools are biased.

6) The trap of Normal

Given the history, Normality is a trap that holds back organisations

7) W.E.I.R.D.

Using acronym to give a clear example of the trap and recognising bias in existing research base. W.E.I.R.D. – White male, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic. 

8) Post Normal Design

Shifting to broader solutions and how organisations are changing their attitudes to Normal and the growing importance of Divergence.

9) Divergence as resilience

Using example from UK government on Groupthink to show importance of supporting divergent opinions in analysis and decision making.

10) Diversity as strategy

Using examples from fashion industry on how lack of diversity creates strategic failures for businesses and how diversity is being used to enable strength.

11) Post Normal enabling new futures

Finishing up by showing that, though breaking the idea of Normal seems both strange and difficult, it is both essential and practical for long-term survival.


The post talk workshop generally covers two topics:

  1. What does human centered work look like?
  2. What does Post Normal design look like?

Materials are supplied to center conversations in small groups and Alastair Somerville is an experienced facilitator to enable conversations and help focus and share ideas,

The 1/2 day workshop is customised for corporations, government agencies and conferences who want to provoke new ideas and plans on specific topics related to their industry or organisation. 

Post Normal is about starting conversations about the possibilities of divergent futures, so contact Alastair to start talking today.

Post Normal post card

Post Normal post card

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