Press Release: Unleash Different by Rich Donovan

If you discovered a new market comprising 53% of the world’s population, would you act to invest in it?

There are 1.3 billion people around the world who identify as having a disability. Including friends and family, the disability market touches 53% of all consumers. This is the world’s largest emerging market, a market the size of China.

Unleash Different illustrates how companies like Google, PepsiCo, TD Bank and Nordstrom are attracting people with disabilities as customers and as employees. Replacing “nice to do” with “return on investment” allows market forces to take over and the world’s leading brands to do what they do best: serve a market segment — in this case, the disability market.

Charting a path from a Canadian school for “crippled children” to managing $6 billion for one of Wall Street’s leading firms, Unleash Different draws on Rich’s extensive experience as an entrepreneur and investor.

Rich Donovan is Founder/CEO of The Return on Disability Group, experts in guiding companies, governments and investors how to act to delight customers and talent in disability markets. Their focus is on product and experience design to grow revenue. Rich also manages the Return on Disability Stock Market Index. He has been named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People with Disabilities in the world. Rich holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and was a Proprietary Trader and Portfolio Manager at Merrill Lynch. He also happens to have cerebral palsy.

“Until we change the way we think and act with disability in every way, we are wasting the potential and futures of hundreds of millions of people. That’s why I must ask that as you go ahead and read this book, you also change the way you think about disability. I learned from an early age that if you want to have success as a person with disabilities, you focus on knocking the ball out of the park every chance you get. We will be judged on our results whether we have a disability or not. This book is intended to be 100 percent inspiration-porn free. I’m a business guy with a market-based vision for a new way to build economic value by attracting and delighting people via the process of thinking differently. It happens to have been informed by my personal experience of disability. I’ve written this book to share what it takes to make this vision come true — a vision that will “unleash different.”
— Rich Donovan 

Some highlights from Unleash Different:
  • The charity-oriented approach to people with disabilities has failed, people have been trying to do disability since the ’80s, and losing their shirts in the process

  • Simple math says that six-plus million Canadians with a disability control $55.4 billion in disposable income; with friends and family, the figure is closer to $366.5 billion

  • In a RoD Index analysis, the top 100 rated companies were compared with the S&P 500; they performed 2 – 3 percent better year over year, with the same level of risk

  • In Canada, the top 50 companies for disability outperformed the TSX Composite Index by about 400 basis points annually (4%) 

  • How organizations can grow revenue and cut costs by attracting people with disabilities both as customers and talent. Disability cascades into assets that very few people have

  • The actions required to capitalize on the world’s biggest emerging market 

  • Suggestions for design for widespread use that also work for people with disabilities, yet increase “ease of use” for core consumers. “If you take a car and make it easier to drive for a guy with very little arm strength, for example, you’ve just made the car easier for everyone to drive. That concept applies everywhere.”


Rich Donovan is available for comment and interview

Unleash Different: Achieving Business Success Through Disability by Rich Donovan
ECW Press / September 4, 2018 / 9781770414488 / 6 x 9" / hardcover / 272pp / $34.95 CAD / $27.99 USD

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