Sep 2, 2012

Social entrepreneur of the day (Ref: Autism)

The situation:
  • It is estimated that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects up to 1 percent of the world’s population. 
  • Of this 1 percent, only 6 percent have any form of gainful employment. 
  • Asperger Syndrome . . . is estimated to be four to eight times more frequent in males than females.
The company:  
I founded Specialisterne (“The Specialists” in Danish) with the aim of identifying niches in the economy that can leverage the unique skills imparted to many of those with ASD at fully competitive market terms. Specialisterne employs over 50 consultants in areas such as software testing and data validation; over 75 percent of them are diagnosed with some form of ASD.  We are the first organization that deliberately celebrates the strengths of autism (extreme attention to detail, excellent memory, and ability to concentrate and work very systematically) and harnesses these characteristics to perform specific tasks for prominent clients in the high-tech industry.
A telling quote:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to him. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
All that is taking from the case "Harnessing the Power of Autism Spectrum Disorder" by Wareham and Sonne (2008).

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