Exploring New Perspectives on Intelligence and Giftedness

  • Aug 23, 2023
  • John Thompson, Mensa Foundation Director of Development & Organizational Impact

In today's rapidly changing world, our understanding of intelligence and giftedness is evolving, moving away from traditional measures and definitions. Organizations like the Mensa Foundation are leading this shift, focusing on lived experiences as they reshape the narrative around intelligence and giftedness

A New Direction for the Mensa Foundation

As the Director of Development & Organizational Impact at the Mensa Foundation, I'm proud to help lead this transformation. The Mensa Foundation is embracing a new approach that goes beyond standard ideas of intelligence and giftedness. While not ignoring traditional definitions, this
broader approach recognizes and values the diversity of human minds. Our mission extends beyond academic achievements and standardized tests. We appreciate the significance of lived experiences that shape individuals over their lifetimes. By integrating these experiences into our understanding, we're tapping into the hidden potential that conventional metrics can't measure.


Empowering the Neurodiversity Movement

Central to our commitment is the empowerment of the neurodiversity movement. The Mensa Foundation firmly believes that intelligence, creativity, and unique talents are not confined to a single mold. Rather, they thrive within the rich tapestry of diverse minds. Our goal is to nurture and celebrate these diverse abilities, ensuring that every individual can thrive. We are dedicated to fostering a supportive environment for individuals within the neurodiverse community. By challenging stereotypes and dismantling barriers, we aim to create a society that values and appreciates the abilities and contributions of neurodiverse individuals. Through strategic initiatives and collaborative partnerships, we are working to promote understanding, acceptance, and a broader perspective on intelligence and giftedness.


Building New Knowledge by Incorporating the Lived Experience

At the core of our mission is the concept of building new knowledge. This involves recognizing the importance of the lived experience in shaping an individual's intelligence. By embracing the entirety of a person's life, we move beyond the limitations of standardized measures and delve deeper into the nuanced nature of intelligence. Our commitment to building new knowledge challenges the status quo and encourages a more meaningful comprehension of human potential. By acknowledging that true intelligence and giftedness cannot necessarily be distilled into a single number or label, we are paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future.

Looking Forward

The Mensa Foundation's transformative approach to understanding intelligence and giftedness is reshaping the narrative in remarkable ways. We are driving change, not just in how we define these qualities, but in how we nurture them. Through our efforts, we hope to create a world that embraces and celebrates the richness of human variation — a world where each individual's unique abilities are recognized, valued, and empowered.

You Can Make a Difference

I invite you to be a part of this extraordinary journey of research and discovery. Your support helps empower the neurodiversity movement, it challenges stereotypes, and it creates a more nuanced understanding of intelligence and giftedness. Your donation will usher in a future where everyone's potential is valued, regardless of their differences.

Join us in reshaping the understanding of intelligence and giftedness. Together, we can make a lasting impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Click here to donate and be a part of this transformative change.

John Thompson
John Thompson
Mensa Foundation Director of Development & Organizational Impact 

John works closely with the Mensa Foundation Director and Foundation Trustees to cultivate a culture of giving at Mensa that will ensure funding, from both Mensans and non-Mensans alike, to sustain and grow Foundation programs. He has been working with the foundation board to broaden and deepen our understanding of intelligence by moving beyond traditional measures (IQ) and incorporating the lived experiences of gifted people across all ages and stages of life. The first staffer dedicated solely to a developmental role, John comes to Mensa with a strong background in fundraising within the field of education and membership-based organizations. He is a native of Mississippi and a graduate of Mississippi State University, where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.