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Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: What is the Secret?

December 29, 2015

Did you know that 90% of start-ups fail? Trying new things often takes risks, and as it turns out many of us are not prepared for that risk. However, one portion of the population seems more prepared than others – dyslexics. Yes, individuals with dyslexia tend to make great entrepreneurs.

In 2007, Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship from Cass Business School in London, completed a study on entrepreneurs. It turns out that 35% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. That alone seems like an interestingly high number, but when you take into account that individuals with dyslexia count for 10% or less of our population, that number becomes even more significant.  However, when you break down some of the differences between entrepreneurs with dyslexia vs. regular entrepreneurs, it becomes even more intriguing. 

Entrepreneurs who have dyslexia:

  • are more likely to own several companies;
  • grow their companies more quickly;
  • employ more people; and
  • delegate more often and better.

It makes one wonder how this happens and what is the secret? Well, as it turns out there are most likely several reasons why individuals with dyslexia tend to be better at entrepreneurship. 

1. Entering into a new venture takes the ability to deal with risks. As we stated earlier, 90% of start-ups fail. People with dyslexia have struggled for much of their life. They become more comfortable with failure and so they are more comfortable with risks.

2. Individuals with dyslexia have a difficult time reading, so they find ways to quickly extract vital information from a document. Their ability to get to the point and focus on what really matters helps when it comes to the fast-paced entrepreneur environment.

3. Trust and reliance. People with dyslexia tend to trust and rely on others more readily than other individuals. Typically, they have had to do that in the past in order to maintain some level of success and cope.

4. Attacking a problem from a different angle. Because individuals with dyslexia have not been able to attack learning and problem solving in traditional manners, they have had to look at challenges in a different way and from a different angle.  As a result, they are more creative and look at problems in a unique manner compared to the average individual.

5. Dyslexics have had to become painfully self-aware due to the struggles they faced as they have grown up and have learned how to compensate for their weaknesses and leverage their strengths.

6. Dyslexic individuals tend to be good at creating their own structure. They have had to create their own structure to compensate for the challenges they faced. They are able to do that when tackling a new problem or starting a new business.

When you look at a variety of these reasons, dyslexic individuals tend to be successful in creative, innovative environments - environments that require entrepreneurship. It also becomes plain to see that these are skills and knowledge that anyone can develop over time. Those who have had a smoother path through life can learn from those who have learning disabilities as they can show us the necessary skill set to be successful in our professional years.