Sunday, May 20, 2012

If You Care About Innovation, Hire People Who Think Differently

Companies who really care about innovation should consider hiring people who see things differently.
Some experts even say hiring someone with Aspergers syndrome or high-functioning Autism is a good strategy for promoting innovation.
"Innovation is all about looking at things in a new way," says innovation consultant Phil McKinney and founder of Hacking Autism. High functioning Autistic people are "hard wired" to look at things in an unconventional way, he says. (Hacking Autism is a non-profit that creates new tech for people with Autism.)
People on the spectrum are particularly suited to the tech industry with their attention to detail, precision, affinity for repetitive tasks and natural ability with tech skills. Many of them have college degrees and IQs that are off the charts.
"They can see your product or software differently. They can figure out how something works, break down the product, find the problems and rebuild it -- and they can do all that in their heads," says Tara Roehl, McKinney's daughter and a speech pathologist specializing in Autism.
Sadly, some 85 percent of these tech geniuses are unemployed mostly because they are considered weird, she says. Many of them don't get past a recruiter who can't recognize their superior tech skills. Or they get hired, then fired, because they don't fit in.
"If a company broke it down, what do they really want? Do they want someone who can take their product to the next level? Or do they want someone who can chitchat around water cooler? Many people on the spectrum end up losing their jobs because they can't chitchat," says Roehl.

Read more of Julie Borts Business Insider article HERE.
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