Seven Gangbuster Ways Microsoft Encourages Innovation Through Eccentricity
The world is in sad need of more eccentrics, earnest steadfast people like Admiral Boom and Mister Binnacle whose vagaries were punctual and harmless, whose only foible had the full attention of the neighborhood at the moment but was largely harmless and humorous. As opposed to searing the hides of those who think a bit to one side of the mainstream, herding them of to one side of the fence as animals, maybe we should be more enthusiastic about those idiosyncrasies, or at minimum, mildly encouraging. Columbus was an eccentric as was Wrong Way Corrigan. Schindler was made of different stuff than many common men of his time and place, as was the Lawn Chair Man and Maeve Binchy. Buddha was offbeat enough, sitting around on lily pads, eating nothing for years at a time, then feasting till his big belly swoll out like a planetary mass, making ommms and watching dragonflies, stepping over ants and waving lotus flowers, hell his stuff don’t even smell. And that most revered of all icons, the wily coyote is himself exemplary of the loveable eccentric.
Perhaps we stop branding the haggard we see walking the sides of the road in dingy clothing all bums, thieves and drug abusers, crazy vets or alcoholics. We have met some that are rare kings and philosophers, that have a rare nobility in their view of the world and its inhabitants. Time to recognize that they travel the same road as we and perhaps go to the same places, just see things differently.
Investors seek out those rare individuals like Mr. Earle, who found it expedient to prepare and package a product that the average sane man would simple make up as needed by cutting a length of adhesive tape and sticking a bit of gauze to it. They all laughed when the crazy kids that wrote strings of ones and zeros made a deal with the industry that stamped metal and built boxes with soldered to be allowed to keep the ones and zeros they wrote as part of the payment for the industry. Who’d a thunk a company would just broadcast live video feeds of fresh puppies.
1. When someone tells you they have a great idea, listen up. Even if you’ve heard one like it before. Remember the one about the recyclable packing peanuts make of popcorn? So, everyone seems to think they came up with it first. It’s been done. Rats infested shipping centers. Maybe the guy really has something when he suggests a popcorn the rats won’t eat because it tastes like styro-foam but it makes prefect garden mulch.
2. Just look the other way. Oh yes, those crazy interns are back there making paper airplanes and spitballs out of the companies precious copy machine supplies but lookit all the work they do!
3. Establish areas where anything goes. Short of criminal, like the no-tax benefit Boeing enjoys at its southern manufacturing plant. Oh, whynot even that, we wouldn’t mind a little no-tax status ourselves. Allow areas where even the rules of thermodynamics are bent, where fashionistas hold sway, where cats and dogs, where lions and lambs where east meets west. What if they’re only hurting themselves, we can learn from that.
4. Pay em. Niki St. Phalle paid off, as did her inspiration, Gaudi. Someone put a roof over Michelangelo’s head and he spent a great deal of time just looking up at. Gifford Pinchot and John Muir were worth their wages, heck Muir didn’t cost much more than a sandwich now and then. If money isn’t the most important thing in life what’s wrong with tossing a bit of it to the wind now and then.
5. Break the rythym. Maybe even the mold. Routine is a lull and a lure, many enterprises have fallen from feeling safe in the routine. Although it’s intentional, changing things up now and then can have its beneficial offshoots.
6. Stick to your guns. Maybe you are the eccentric.
7. Three men were driving through the desert when their car broke. Each taking with them something they thought necessary they began walking across the desert. Meeting with an old prospector, he complimented the first man for bringing water, the second for carrying food but wondered why the third man shouldered a car door. The third traveler explained. “If I get hot I can roll down the window.”
Steve Ballmer, CEO Of Microsoft sent out an email Tuesday July 11, 2013 detailing the companies latest full reorganization in an attempt to reinvent itself.