People With Autism Recognised For Critical Business Innovation

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Many people with autism have unusual talents, from pattern memory, to extreme focus and accuracy. These skills could be used by companies to solve real business needs. Unfortunately, most companies don’t give people with autism a chance nor do they perceive their value in business terms because they think or behave differently. Yet, by bringing out the best in people who think differently, you can position your company for greater advantage and that’s because innovation, which is a critical skill for businesses today, is driven by diversity of thought. This ability arises from employees who see things from new perspectives - people from different backgrounds - including those with different cognitive, developmental and neurological endowments.

Society can’t afford to set aside people who are different. Their perspectives are desperately needed if we are to innovate our way through today’s global challenges. It is estimated that one percent of the world’s population is affected by autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and according to the World Health Organisation that is one child in 160.

At the forefront of innovation and enterprise is SAP AG (NYSE:SAP) who is on a mission to help the world run better and improve people's lives, and is working globally with the Danish IT firm, Specialisterne to employ people with autism as software testers, programmers and data quality assurance specialists. It recognises a potential competitive advantage to use the unique talents of people with autism, while helping them to secure meaningful employment. Specialisterne is an internationally recognised leader in harnessing the talents of people with autism to work in technology-oriented jobs such as software testing, programming and data management and will extend its operations to support SAP’s global expansion of the program over the next several years.

SAP believes that innovation comes from the ‘edges,’ and that only by employing people who think differently and spark innovation will it be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st century. This business move follows successful pilot projects in India and Ireland that demonstrate the positive impact of empowering people with autism to excel in their areas of strength. Working locally with Specialisterne, SAP® Labs in India hired six people with autism as software testers for SAP® Business Suite applications. As a result, the team has increased their productivity and cohesiveness in key areas, while the Ireland pilot is currently completing the screening phase for five positions that were filled last year.

At SAP, an inclusive and diverse environment promotes a culture that enables employees to find innovative solutions to challenges facing customers as well as society as a whole. Furthering its engagement with the local community of people and families affected by autism, SAP Labs in India recently developed a consumer iPad application called “Bol” to assist with the education of children with autism. This innovative learning program helps children learn and comprehend simple, everyday objects and processes, using auditory, visual and instant feedback functions.

Photo Credit: Specialisterne