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Embracing Diversity: The Untapped Potential for Innovation in Corporate Organisations today


"If You Can't See, It You Can't Be It!"

In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape, innovation, and diversity of thought and experience is often acknowledged as being key to success. Yet, many corporate organisations continue to overlook a vast pool of talent that could drive this innovation: neurodiverse individuals and those with lived experience of been seen as, or treated as different, in short, those individuals with any (or a combination of) protected characteristics.

For far too long, those with protected characteristics, including neurodiversity, have been excluded from the corporate world due to its rigidity, lack of awareness of, and inability to embrace different ways of thinking. As a neurodiverse entrepreneur who has personally experienced this struggle, I believe it is time to shine a light on the untapped potential that lies within the minds of those who think differently.

The Exclusion of ‘Different’ Individuals in Corporate Organisations:

In mainstream corporate organisations, conformity often reigns supreme. The rigid structures and hierarchies favour linear thinking, stifling the unique thought processes and visionary ideas of diverse individuals. As a result, many of us face challenges in navigating this environment, leading to frustration, disengagement, and ultimately, a decision to leave.

The Impact of Neurodiverse Entrepreneurs:

Rather than succumbing to the limitations of the corporate world, an increasing number of neurodiverse individuals (many of whom also share other intersectional characteristics) are turning to entrepreneurship. By starting their own businesses, they can create a space where their unique talents and perspectives are valued, harnessed, and nurtured. These entrepreneurs bring a fresh approach to problem-solving, challenging conventional norms, using their experiences of exclusion to drive innovation. They have an innate ability to think outside the box, envision possibilities others may overlook, and adapt quickly to change, giving them a competitive edge in the marketplace.

The Corporate Dilemma:

While neurodiverse entrepreneurs flourish outside of mainstream organisations, this exodus exacerbates the talent drain within corporate environments. As innovative individuals leave in search of greater acceptance and opportunities, these organisations are left devoid of visible aspirational figures who can inspire others to think differently. The lack of diverse role models perpetuates the status quo, hindering the growth and potential for innovation within corporate culture.

The Call for Change:

It is time for corporate organisations to recognise the immense value that diversity, and specifically neurodiversity, brings to the table. By embracing difference and fostering an inclusive environment, corporations can tap into the potential for innovation that lies within their own workforce. When diverse perspectives are encouraged and respected, creativity flourishes, and new ideas emerge.

Identifying Inclusive Corporations:

To challenge the status quo and promote change, it is crucial to identify and celebrate the corporations that already embrace and value difference, innovation, and intrapreneurship. These organisations are beacons of hope for neurodiverse individuals and other marginalised groups who seek acceptance and a platform to contribute their unique talents.

The potential for innovation within corporate organisations remains largely untapped due to a distinct lack of inclusion – resulting in the exclusion of neurodiverse individuals and those with protected characteristics. By creating environments that embrace and value difference, corporations can unlock a wealth of untapped potential, fostering creativity and driving innovation. It is time for all organisations to recognise that true success lies in diversity and inclusion, and to actively seek out and support neurodiverse individuals who can help shape a brighter, more innovative future.

Together, we can build a world of work where everyone feels valued and included and instead of repeating "If you can see it, you can be it." ad nauseam, we are easily able to identify and champion diverse role models within corporate organisations and celebrate the true impact of inclusion.

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