Deviants, Inc.

Watts Wacker, Fast Company, Mar 19, 2002
Commentary by Stephen Downes

On the surface this article may appear to have nothing to do with online learning. Indeed, it reads more like corporate America meeting John Stuart Mill in drag. But that's why you need to read it. The thesis of the article is the strongly worded assertion is that deviance is what leads the way to innovation, and therefore that corporations should embrace deviance. "The history of innovation proves it; corporate leaders need to accept it: The advantage always falls to the deviant, because nature -- and commerce -- hates stasis. Deviants, by definition, are individuals who don't, won't, or can't play by the rules. Their mission is to propagate their deviance, not to climb the corporate ladder. As employees -- if they can even tolerate being employees -- they tend to be insubordinate. They often appear to be unfocused. They are almost always highly individualistic, and, more often than not, they make lousy team players. They range from difficult to manage (the best-case scenario) to totally unmanageable (the default mode). They are also the greatest hope that moribund corporations have for renewing their vision, energy, innovation, and future."
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