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East Anglia Future 50

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock explains why the business world of the future needs more dyslexics

PUBLISHED: 18:11 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:17 17 October 2018

Matt Hancock MP. Picture: Contributed

Matt Hancock MP. Picture: Contributed


As the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, you could say that being dyslexic hasn’t held Matt Hancock back in his life.

The MP for West Suffolk claims that although having dyslexia has presented him with some challenges, it has also brought great benefits. In a speech he made on Tuesday at the Made By Dyslexia global summit, Mr Hancock claimed that the world needs more people to think like dyslexics do.

“Over a generation, automation has moved the world of work from valuing brawn to valuing brains,” he said. “Over the next generation, as the march of the machines takes over straight-line cognitive functions, what will set human beings apart from the machines is our creativity, our intuition, our emotional and social intelligence, our ability to think laterally and imaginatively, our visualisation, our reasoning, and how we can bring a fresh perspective to an old, sometimes seemingly intractable, problem.

“That’s what will set us apart from the robots. And those are exactly the skills and strengths that dyslexics have in abundance.

“We know that better decisions are made when people bring different perspectives. That’s what underpins my profound belief in the value of diversity.”

Many of the world’s most successful business leaders have been dyslexic, including Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Charles Schwab. But there is still a stigma that surrounds the condition - Made by Dyslexia’s recent research found that 9 out of 10 dyslexics said they had been made to feel angry, stupid or embarrassed because they had dyslexia, and that and only 3% of the wider public believe dyslexia is a positive trait.

Mr Hancock claims that rather than trying to get dyslexics to think like everybody else, dyslexics should be valued for the diversity of thought dyslexics bring.

“Imagination, creativity, neuro-diverse dyslexic abilities are the skills of the future.

“Our strengths can help build better businesses, spark innovation, and create new solutions.

“We may in fact hold the answer to some of the biggest challenges in education, employment and wider society.

“So we shouldn’t fear dyslexia, or see it as a weakness. We should embrace it and see it as a strength.

“And if anyone ever tells you dyslexia is just a disability or a drawback say: no.”

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