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Here’s to the Crazy Ones

| James Riley |

There is something amazing about the people and things that aren’t normal in our world. Consistently, we find that great dreamers, innovators and inspirations aren’t normal. We can even take that further to say that quite a few people that have done amazing things in our world were labeled as highly abnormal. If this is the case, maybe it is worthwhile to evaluate how normal we actually want to be.

Often, we label abnormal kids as special needs with that term, often, having a negative connotation to it. When I was a kid, these abnormal kids might have been called the short bus kids. As a society, many struggle with how to handle these special needs people but we miss one important thing…research shows that many special needs people are actually brilliant in their own way. What might happen if we found a way to capture that brilliance and see that brilliance usually looks abnormal?

Steve Jobs definitely fit this category as he didn’t fit into the normal mold. While I don’t agree with everything he did or stood for, he was truly an innovator and drastically changed the landscape of how we use technology today. Back in 1997, Steve Jobs launched a new commercial to promote their Think Different campaign. The video was called The Crazy Ones. If you have never before seen the video, or just as a refresher, click HERE to see it…I can’t count how many times I’ve seen it and it still moves me.

As leaders, we, often, put such high value on success that we fail to give permission to people to be abnormal, do abnormal things or fail. When we do this, we pressure people to take the route that guarantees success. At times, this is good…when you just want to get something done. However, at times, we need to be able to venture out, challenge what is normal and be willing to fail in the process. While you can’t have everyone always challenging the norm and nobody getting things done, only having people ever take the proven route is also dangerous…there is a balance somewhere in the middle.

As an organization, we are committed to celebrating behaviors that are abnormal, crazy and, often, lead to failure. Internally, we have what we call the short bus award. We hand it out to the team member that, in seeking to innovate, experiences glorious failure. We do this because we want to celebrate the people that are bold enough to follow a path and seek a solution even when it may not fit the typical mold or be safe.

As we looked at this internal culture and our external message to our clients, we realized that we also needed to bring this culture forward further. This is where we came up with the Do IT Different tagline that you see throughout our website and messaging. In the same way that Steve Jobs wanted to challenge people to Think Different, we believe that IT needs to be thought of in a different light than it has previously. Our Do IT Different tagline is a challenge to ourselves and our clients to look at IT from a different perspective, be willing to challenge long-held beliefs and come up with innovative ways to align IT with business.

What are you doing to challenge the mold and innovate? What blockades do you have to failure?

I’ll leave you with the text from the Crazy Ones campaign, written by Rob Siltanen:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”