Unleash Different: Achieving Business Success Through Disability

Donovan, Rich

  • 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. When you include friends and family, the disability market touches 53% of all consumers. It is the world’s largest emerging market.

    Unleash Different illustrates how companies like Google, PepsiCo, 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.

    Business managers will come to understand

    • how taking a charity-oriented approach to people with disabilities has failed,
    • what action is required to capitalize on the world’s biggest emerging market, and
    • how their organizations can grow revenue and cut costs by attracting people with disabilities as customers and talent.

    Rich gives the reader a peek into how he rose from a Canadian school for “crippled children” to manage $6 billion for one of Wall Street’s leading firms. He makes it easy to relate to the business goal of serving disability — because he has actually done it.


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  • Rich Donovan is Founder/CEO of The Return on Disability Group and is an expert on the convergence of disability and corporate profitability. 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. Rich lives in Toronto, and is an avid sailor and proud parent of his son, Maverick, along with his wife, Jenn. Rich also happens to have cerebral palsy.

  • Published: September 2018

    ISBN: 9781770414488

    Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.

    Pages: 272


“A personal and insightful read for all who want to think differently and understand the global disability market. This book goes a long way to explain what Rich has been saying for years: serving disability makes good business sense.” — Kenneth Fredeen, General Counsel, Deloitte LLP, and Chair of the Federal Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

“A deeply moving and very personal story of one man’s ‘crusade’ to change narratives of disability from those based on charitable cases and social constraints to a market-driven investment/economic opportunity of business to benefit not only the world’s 1.2 billion disabled people, but also the world’s economy as a whole. This book will contribute to a greater understanding of the value of investing in ‘disability’ and help start a wider discourse on truly empowering the people with disabilities.” — Hironobu Shibuya, Special Adviser, The Nippon Foundation and the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability

“An inspiring story with a unique perspective on both business and people with disabilities.” — Booklist online

“Using case studies, humor, data and insight, Rich Donovan reveals the astonishing contours of the fast-growing, underserved market for goods and services that delight disabled customers in ways that can dramatically improve overall business profitability. Donovan has the rare ability to explain complex ideas in clear, easy to understand prose, using language and examples that leave readers rushing to create their own “to-do” lists at the end of nearly every chapter. It is, simply stated, one of the best books about business, and people, I have ever read.” — Hal Plotkin, Senior Open Policy Fellow, Creative Commons USA; former Silicon Valley Correspondent, CNBC.com; and Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Education

“[Rich Donovan’s] new book illustrates why and how employers and firms could increase their success by focusing more on people with disabilities.” — Quill & Quire

“As informed and informative as it is inspired and inspiring, Unleash Different is exceptionally well written, organized, and presented.” — Midwest Book Review