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What is AQ and Why AQ Matters

What is AQ and Why AQ Matters

I believe we are in a time where AQ is now more important than IQ. 

As we know, IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient which is an effort quantify the function of the human brain, how efficiently it operates in processing different types of information and how good it is at making connections between different kinds of information.

IQ is based on a one-hundred-year-old method of calculating raw intelligence. Yes, it is important, but it shouldn’t be the only factor to consider wholistically.

Let’s talk about AQ or Adaptability Quotient. AQ is the ability to adapt and thrive in a fast-changing environment. With how quickly the world around us is changing, AQ is becoming more and more important.

I think this can be shown through a couple of ideas presented in Don Norman’s book, The Design of Everyday Things. In his book, Don presents two concepts: Knowledge in the Head and Knowledge in the World.

Knowledge in the Head is information that can be called directly from the brain. This could be a formula you memorized or the muscle memory remembered to ride a bike.

Knowledge in the World is information that can be called from the environment around us. This could be anything from the wayfinding provided in a building we are walking through or just about anything that we can find via a Google Search.

That last part is important. With how freely accessible information is (all you need is a device and a wifi connection), we are able to gain access to new information at our fingertips at a rate unheard of in the past. This ties into showing how AQ and IQ have changed.

IQ used to be the most important factor. For example, it would be hard for you to travel somewhere if you could not recall the specific directions to get there. Now we have Google Maps and can search the appropriate directions (and adapt when an obstacle occurs like heavy traffic or a road closing).

I believe the importance of AQ is becoming more prevalent because it is no longer solely about what knowledge we have readily available in our heads. It is now much more about how we use the knowledge in the world to help us adapt to new challenges.

If you want to survive in today’s world, you need to focus on being adaptable to change. You need to adapt in order to stay on top of the next wave of change or be crushed underneath it.