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Prioritising neurodiversity will benefit us all

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Mark Evans, managing director of marketing and digital, on our neurodiverse talent.

“Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general.” American journalist Harvey Blume wrote this back in 1988. You can read the full article here.

I believe the strength of any company is its people – and that strength comes from a rich blend of diverse minds and backgrounds. At DLG we appreciate our differences and are actively seeking a diverse talent pool.

But before we can all become advocates of neurodiversity, we must firstly understand what it is and why it’s so important.

What is neurodiversity?

Since creativity and innovation come from divergent thinking, we can all benefit from putting a focus on neurodiverse talent – those with autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ADHD and other neurological conditions. If you want divergent thinking, it makes sense to go to those whose brains are wired to think differently.

There are countless examples of trailblazing individuals with neurodiverse conditions – Sir Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Jamie Oliver and Steven Spielberg, to name a few. If you’re not impressed by that quartet, how about Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein?

I’ve seen first-hand the good and bad of neurodiversity. My daughter is dyslexic and struggles with spelling and short-term memory recall, but she breezes through things that I and many others would find impossible. For example, she created an Instagram account that tapped into her creativity gaining 10,000s of followers in the process.

We’ve also had several inspiring speakers come in to DLG to talk about their personal experiences, each arguing strongly that their success in the world is because of their neurodiversity, rather than in spite of it.

Why is neurodiversity so important?

Scientists say that successful ecosystems find a balance between exploitation and exploration. Exploitation means optimising available resources within the current status quo, whereas exploration means searching for new solutions.

Bee communities are a good example of this. About 90% of bees live a very structured life, doing the same thing over and over to ensure the efficient functioning of the hive. The other 10% seem to float around randomly, and it’s this diversity which enables them to find food and new hive sites.

Just like bees, it’s been said that neurodiversity of humans will continue to be crucial to the survival of our species.

What is DLG doing about neurodiversity?

It’s encouraging to see a dedicated neurodiversity strand within our DNA programme promoting an inclusive understanding of diversity. As a result, progress has been made in terms of supporting and recruiting people with neurodiversity. 

We’ve partnered with Auticon, which specialises in finding job placements for people with autism. Beyond that, we’re making changes to our reasonable adjustments policies and recruitment process, including how roles are advertised.

Putting neurodiversity at the top of our agenda will benefit us all, and I’m proud of how hard we’re pushing to bring diverse minds together to underpin the long term success of DLG.

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