Back in the late 1990s, Apple ran an ad campaign entitled “Think Different.” I was so enamored with the message and the feeling it helped embody that a full-page ad from the Wall Street Journal, which was part of that promotion, hung on my office walls for some time. For those who might not recall the campaign’s message, it went something like this:
“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 praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
“Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
“Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
“While some 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.”
The ads used images of Edison, Einstein and others who qualified as “different” thinkers, but there are plenty of less celebrated individuals who fit this mold as well. I guess I’ve always admired those who have been strong enough to take this approach, which I assume would demand a potentially combustible combination of technological vision, individual confidence and unabashed arrogance. But more than anything else, I think it takes pure, old-fashioned guts to look beyond the current standard and try to establish a new one.
To put things in greater perspective when referencing critical surgical issues like taking timeouts to avoid mistakes, embracing single-port surgery techniques or realizing that robotic surgery is the way of the future, maybe we could re-write part of the above ad. This might help to reinforce a reverence that the medical community should have for those surgeons, OR nurses and other operating room staff that continue to push cost-cutting, care-improving, life-preserving innovation forward, as opposed to balking at the constant change we are all having to constantly accommodate.
Because they, too, change things. They invent. They apply. They heal. They inspire. They preserve families and livelihoods. They empower the human race to push forward.
Maybe these OR personnel have to be crazy. How else can you stare at a monitor and envision an even less invasive way to perform surgery? Or cut hours off a procedure and wonder how recovery times could be even shorter? Or implement a procedure that couldn’t have been performed 10 years ago and seek ways to improve the technique or approach?
While some may see them as the crazy ones, society and the medical community should celebrate their vision. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can constantly improve the world of patient care, are the ones who will.
Thoughts? Comments? Are you one of the crazy ones? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org