Imagine a world in which the combination of converging technologies, and the power of truly diverse, multidisciplinary teams, is harnessed to transform business, academia and governments. Imagine transformation and purpose intersecting to build the curiosity, agility and resiliency needed to thrive in this new world. What you have created is a unique moment in time for organizations to differentiate and activate the exponential power of neurodiversity by creating inclusive, high-performance teams. The opportunity to access, integrate and energize your organization and its stakeholders is here!
We’re living in an era of increasing change and ambiguity. While we don’t know what the post-pandemic world will look like, the sheer force of disruption from the COVID-19 crisis has been dramatic, from rapid digital transformation to exposing underlying structural inequities. However, one thing is certain; organizations will need to continue to focus on the value and importance of transformation if they want to thrive in the present and be agile in the future state. Key to this is the core idea of value creation based around a triad of humans at center, technology at speed and innovation at scale. By undertaking the journey of incorporating and curating cognitive differences into their teaming models, organizations are positioning themselves to solve transformation challenges directly. The ability to simultaneously imagine and realize new solutions with emerging technology and the power of data will determine organizational value and longevity.
As the pandemic continues to disrupt the way we live, work and connect with each other, the old command-and-control hierarchy with rigid team structures and functional silos gives way to more agile, team-focused ecosystems that operate as a distributed network. These ecosystems are redefining the importance of multidisciplinary teams that are adept at transformative thinking. Single or sporadic adaptations will not be enough to deliver this future. Diverse, multidisciplinary teams must be prepared to continuously flex, coming together to embrace the digital and emerging technology angles of transformation and leveraging the talents of all employees, to meet new challenges. As we’ve seen companies pivot to manufacture personal protective equipment or adopt new business models in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders also have an opportunity to use this moment to recast talent models to be more agile and resilient.
Organizations whose workforces include the full dimension of diverse perspectives and talented people with technical skills gain competitive advantage. Leaders must examine how they harness the power of their people and quickly upskill them as new talent needs emerge. Neurodiversity is a crucial part of rethinking the “who and how” of agility as business leaders rise to meet a rapidly changing market and society.
Embracing diversity of thought
Leaders must seek new ways of approaching their business to not only better serve their customers, but also stay ahead of the competition.
Research shows that diverse perspectives drive better business outcomes, and that when people feel a sense of belonging at work, they are more creative, healthier and more engaged. However, diverse perspectives alone are not enough — rather, it is the application and integration of diversity that truly unlock value. This is especially true with neurodivergent individuals who help organizations meet the demand for innovation. As a result, these organizations are better positioned to excel in areas key to future success and with strong organizational muscle for transformation, especially when it comes to:
- Analytical thinking and innovation
- Reason, complex problem-solving and ideation
- Technology design and programming
- Creativity, originality and initiative
Research shows that approximately 15% to 20% of the world’s population is neurodivergent (e.g., those with autism, Asperger’s, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia). This rich, untapped talent pool in each of our communities is impacted by an unemployment/underemployment rate around 85%. Interestingly, as the world and business problems have become increasingly ambiguous and complex, neurodivergent individuals have struggled to fit into traditional profiles sought by employers, which are becoming less relevant every day.¹ The lack of employment is not only harmful to the well-being of the neurodivergent community, but also results in a major lack of knowledge for organizations, particularly around areas such as technology and data science where there is a tremendous need for skilled workers in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and advanced analytics.
The combination of neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals builds an integrated, multidisciplinary, transformational team with diverse perspectives and agility required to diagnose and solve complex challenges, as well as imagine and realize future-focused solutions. Companies have found that a deliberate orchestration to incorporate neurodiversity brings performance improvements: productivity gains, quality improvement, boosts in innovation and ingenuity, and across-the-board improvements in employee engagement.² This is exponential value that can only be generated by exponential exceptional teams.
Neurodivergent and neurotypical professionals create transformational teams
Teams with members who think differently will bring different approaches and perspectives, and leverage the power of converging technologies necessary for organizations to reach the full potential of value for their stakeholders. Truly diverse teams incorporate a neurodivergent perspective, which has traditionally been missing. This talent and teaming innovation model provides the power of cognitive differences required for companies to better engage with stakeholders, such as government and academia, while galvanizing their employees to improve internal processes and infrastructure, and strengthen the culture of innovation. These contributions enhance workforce ability and accelerate technology processes and solutions — such as intelligent automation, blockchain, cybersecurity, cloud optimization, true data science and analytics.
Imagine an organization that is able to transform society in a way that would simultaneously impact individuals and families, employees and leaders, vendors and partners, and academia and government. This is a unique time for organizations to differentiate, significantly increasing value across five dimensions: