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Welcome to the Community is a new community and ecosystem for innovating jobs for people with disabilities and “coolabilities”, the typical strengths that co-occur with disabilities. The vision Build a people centered economy providing innovation for jobs, thereby disrupting unemployment. The organizer and owner of is [i4j Innovation for Jobs |], a non-profit located in the US. ,


The purpose of is multifaceted - it aims to bridge the gap between the perceived limited perception of functionality and ability of cool abled people with disabling conditions/diagnosis and to widen this perception. We are looking for both “hard” and “soft” data, emerging by a growing body of knowledge which suggests possible correlation between a condition and coolabilities in order to provide complementary semantics in terms of both challenges and strengths and thereby increase value and opportunities.

  • Long Term Goals
    • A digital talent economy for people with disabilities/coolabilities
    • An entrepreneurial ecosystem for jobs-innovation.
    • Align government and industry, replace conflict with collaboration
  • Short Term Goals
    • Repurpose negative incentives (like fines) for company-government collaboration
    • Build consortia of companies for coolabilities
    • Create ecosystems of different stakeholders, co-creating a digital labor market
    • A community of software developers (50% with disabilities) for a coolabilities-‘GitHub’

The project is centered around an Open Platform available for any individual/business/institutions to seamlessly involve three important goals:

  • 1. to share existing data and code of relevance to coolabilities
  • 2. To create create/share new data/code
  • 3. To build collective intelligence around coolabilities.

At the center of the project is the Coolabilities Disabilities Correlation Database (CODIC)

The project is completely crowd-sourced leveraging on Artificial Intelligence and power of the Internet. This makes it possible to introduce a vast untapped pool of special talent to the labor market.Governments will be interested in offering support to corporations to join as a constructive alternative to penalties, replacing legal battles with collaboration for nurturing talent.

The platform

Functional Purposes

  • 1. Facilitate Research Discover, characterize and map coolabilities, their relations to disabilities and special conditions.
  • 2. Create Common Language Develop a common language for coolabilities that complements the existing language for disabilities semantics, together forming an accurate and versatile language for the wider phenomenon of special conditions (often referred to as “disabling conditions”) .
  • 3. Leverage Cool Abled People Identifying and leveraging people with coolabilities
  • 4. Innovate Educations and Jobs an innovation ecosystem for education and jobs enhancing the value of cool abled people

Technical Purposes

  • 1. CODIC database framing: Coolabilities and Disabilities are complementing frames of disabling conditions. The Coolabilities and Disabilities correlation database CODIC maps and interrelates disabilities and coolabilities for special conditions, enabling translation between the two frames
  • 2. Common Language: the specific command language for processing coolability information is crowdsourced and co-created by the coolabilities API developer’s community, inspired by the examples of similar processes for GitHub. The same applies for the spoken language, inspired by the process of Wikipedia. [2]
  • 3. API as a service: The data sources for job descriptions, disabilities, and coolabilities are varied. Information can be uploaded to the system manually, consumed from an on premise database, uploaded from a system or scraped from a web page. The formats can also be varied: completely unstructured, semi structured (JSON / XML) or completely structured relational data. To facilitate the information exchange across multitudes of data formats and from multiple data sources, a standardized API needs to be defined, exposed as a service. The API can also be consumed and queried manually by end users.
  • 4. Job Matching: Natural Language Processing (NLP) [3] used for matching: Job description varies from source to source. Hence Text Mining, Text Matching techniques with advanced deep neural network can be used to process the job descriptions with the CODIC database.
  • 5. Bootstrapped Augmentation System. A tool system (the platform and the technology), and a human system (the user community) augment each other.
  • 6. Market Platform The market platform enables cross-licensing of code and data.


At the heart of Coolabilities is CODIC which stands for Coolabilities Disabilities Correlation Database. CODIC maps Disabilities, Coolabilities and potential Careers.

Coolabilities Ecosystem Overview (individual consortium)

Behind the movement

Core Team
Co-Chair David Nordfors V R Ferose
Technology Leads Ganapathy Subramanian Sudipto Dasgupta
Project Management Behrang Zandi Arun Sreekumar
Research Chally Grundwag
Guido Van Nispen
Lorien Pratt
Monique Morrow
Sarah Basson
Frances West

Presentations & Videos

Coolabilities Slidedeck
The Future of Work: "The People-Centered Economy - The New Ecosystem for Jobs


  • D. Nordfors, S. S. Dasgupta, G. Subramanian, V. R. Ferose, C. Grundwag and B. Zandi, "Coolabilities API," 2018 IEEE 5th International Conference on Data Science and Advanced Analytics (DSAA), Turin, Italy, 2018, pp. 491-495. doi: 10.1109/DSAA.2018.00063 keywords: {application program interfaces;information retrieval systems;radiotelescopes;reflector antenna feeds;characteristic enhanced strengths;Coolabilities;API project;Open Platform;coolability-disability correlation database;CODIC;Databases;Correlation;Tools;Education;Autism;Complexity theory;Data mining;Coolability, Disability, API, Correlation Database}, URL:


Why It Is Important To Change The Narrative Around Autism
A New Talent Market: “Coolabilities”, Enhanced Abilities in Disabling Conditions
Changing The Narrative Around Autism
Coolabilities: The Key to a World of Newfound Potential
For Her, The Work Is Personal
Disabilities or Coolabilities?


The Hackathon at SAP, sponsored by SAP/Google, organized by i4j
i4j Summit 2017

What are Coolabilities?

’Coolabilities’ are the enhanced abilities and strengths that co-occur with disabling conditions. We coined the term “coolabilities” to describe enhanced abilities accompanying disabling conditions like Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and blindness, to name a few. Example Coolabilities: People with ASD may show great attention to detail, expansive long term memory and pattern recognition; people with ADHD seek novelty, are risk takers and can connect multiple ideas; Dyslexics can connect tasks and realities and are super imaginative – vital for entrepreneurial initiatives.

We don’t know yet how common coolabilities are. But we do know that parents and caregivers can identify coolabilities even in severely disabled children. We are inspired and determined to move ahead, to increase the value of coolabled people. Coolabilities is not just a cool word, it’s a vision for a better future.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. But once someone is called disabled, people expect less. But disabilities often come with enhanced abilities. Individuals labeled as disabled are defined by what they cannot do, while “coolabled” people are defined by their strengths. The Coolabilities concept can be useful in any context that aims to increase the value of people, with a large impact on the labor market.

The table is from the seminal article “COOLABILITIES” - ENHANCED ABILITIES IN DISABLING CONDITIONS. by Grundwag

There can be several causalities linking the enhanced ability to the disabling condition. Coolabilities can be tagged by the following causalities:

  • ‘Contextual Coolabilities’: a trait that is disabling in one context (environment) becomes non-significant in another, such as people with ASD who have very specific (“limited”) interests, and extreme attention to detail, can become experts where the specific knowledge is valued, an attention to details is an asset (Austin et al., 2008; Austin & Sonne, 2014; Gal et al., 2015; Jacob 2015; Robertson 2010).
  • ‘Learned Coolabilities’: When one or more abilities are strengthened at the loss of another. For example a person who lost one limb and trains the remaining ones to compensate for the loss (Chinnery and Thompson, 2015)
  • ‘Innate Coolabilities’: abilities that do not exist in other people, such as when blind people reorganizes and reassign neural pathways in the visual cortex (Amedi, Raz, Pianka, Malach, Zohary 2003) giving rise to coolabilities such echolocation(Thinus-Blanc and Gaunet, 1997; Chinnery and Thompson, 2015). People with such abilities perceive and act in ways unimaginable to others (Kupers, Pietrini, Ricciardi, and Ptito, 2011).

Related concepts

Other important terms in this context are neurodiversity and “diffabilties”. The term neurodiversity was first used in the 1990’s to describe Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as a neurological variation rather than a cognitive disability. Since then the term was expanded to describe other neurological differences such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD(Armstorng, 2012). The term neurodiversity is often used to differentiate this group from the neuro-typicals. “Diffabilties” is short for “different abilities”, and is meant to replace the word “disabilities”. This term is sometimes used in the context of ASD to describe a “difference in ability that may not have a functional impact on an individual’s potential and/or wellbeing” (Brignell, Morgan, Woolfenden, & Williams, 2014). “Coolabilities”, on the other hand, is an overarching term which describes the enhanced abilities, talents, competencies, or characteristics which co-occur with disabling conditions, and counterparts the word “disabilities”. The definitions of disabilities and coolabilities are equally set by context. A disabling condition is always hosted by a minority and challenged by ‘normal’ requirements. Myopia is not a disabling condition where innovation has made cheap, high quality corrective lenses available to everyone. Synesthesia, e.g. when hearing music makes the host see colors, is not disabling because it rarely comes in the way of meeting normal requirements. Old age is not a disabling condition, despite having all the attributes thereof, including discrimination, because it is a normal thing. Hypothetically, if old age would be considered a disabling condition, then experience and wisdom would be among its coolabilities.

Creating a labor market for coolabilities talent

Coolabilities have practical implications for talent acquisition, and are relevant for HRM in recruitment process and interviewing, socialization, training, performance assessment and policy. The concept of coolabilities is applicable in many fields, among them Human Resource Management, career counseling, counseling and therapy settings, education, design and Human Computer Interaction.

A database with correlations between coolabilites and disabilities (CODIC) increases the chances to identify enhanced abilities. The coolabled user’s strengths, passions and preferences are profiled and matched with services increasing their value on the labor market. Entrepreneurs can use the database for identifying demographics with underutilized coolabilities. They can innovate services for that demographic, write business plans and raise funding, enabled by analytics performed on the coolability finder database of correlations and profiles. With the rapid progress of IT and Big Data such analytics and innovation can foster a thriving innovation ecosystem around a market for services directed at undervalued people with valuable coolabilities. The service can look similar for both independent workers and employees. Employers can use coolability finders for various purposes, such as recruiting excellence, increasing labor productivity, increasing job satisfaction, and empowering inclusion programs.

Related ongoing initiatives

There are successful initiatives harnessing the coolabilities of people with ASD. Increasingly more non-profit organizations advocate, train, coach and employ adults with ASD (Chen, Leader, Sung and Leahy, 2015) and offer trainings for organizations, and corporate personnel. While the challenges are very far from being resolved, we are beginning to witness a positive shift in regards to the acceptance of the competencies and talents of people with ASD (Armstrong 2010; Armstrong, 2012; Austin et al., 2008; Austin & Sonne, 2014; Baron-Cohen et al 2001, Baron-Cohen 2009; Benton, Vasalou, Khaled, and Gooch, 2014; Happe and Vital, 2009, Mckinney 2016, Pisano & Austin 2016, Robertson, 2010, Wei 2014). Project “Roim Rachok” (Israel) includes young adults with ASD in a special intelligence unit of the Israeli Army. The group is trained in QA, deciphering of aerial and satellite pictures and data collections and advanced optical systems. Research shows that the well-being and sense of self worth of the individuals in the Israeli group increased when measured towards the end of the training and beginning of employment (Gal. et al. 2015). Several large corporations now have C-suite officers, for example SAP’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Anka Wittenberg, heading “Autism at Work”, in partnership with Thorkil Sonne’s company Specialisterne, aiming that one percent of all employees will have ASD.(Wittenberg, 2015) The value is doubled: (1) compliance with policy and (2) tapping into coolabilities.

Employer programs for people with coolabilities
Employer Name of program Coolabilities Disabling conditions Job types
SAP Autism at work Sense for managing detail High functioning ASD Software Engineering
Specialisterne Autism Advantage Sense for managing detail High functioning ASD Software Engineering
Israeli Army Roim Rachok Sense for managing detail High functioning ASD Analysis of aerial and satellite photography. Software Engineering