Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage

by Robert D. Austin and Gary P. Pisano

MEET JOHN. HE’S A WIZARD at data analytics. His combination of mathematical ability and software development skill is highly unusual. His CV features two master’s degrees, both with honors. An obvious guy for a tech company to scoop up, right?

Until recently, no. Before John ran across a firm that had begun experimenting with alternative approaches to talent, he was unemployed for more than two years. Other companies he had talked with badly needed the skills he possessed. But he couldn’t make it through the hiring process.

If you watched John for a while, you’d start to see why. He seems, well, different. He wears headphones all the time, and when people talk to ...

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