I decided recently that it’s time to get this blog focused a little more on … helping people think differently.
So, I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about just what exactly it means to “think differently” (and I list 12 ways to think differently below). The meaning of ‘think differently” is not as simple as it sounds!
In the middle of thinking about what it means to think differently, I stumbled across Wikipedia’s article on Apple Computer’s 1997 “Think Different” campaign.
The “Think Different” campaign was fascinating for several reasons, including that prior to this campaign most computer products were marketed in general computer magazines, but this campaign was a brand campaign that went well beyond the traditional outlets. In addition, there was no product placement in the advertisements.
Most striking of all though was that the campaign was based largely around a poem, “the Crazy Ones” written by Craig Tanimoto, a copywriter at Chiat/Day (the agency that produced the campaign). Here is the full version of the poem:
“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 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?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
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.”
You can see the poem in the television advertisement, which juxtaposes a voiceover of the poem with figures of iconic innovators and revolutionaries, people who committed to standing out, standing up, and who made made a difference.
The campaign is very clever, of course, because it made a brand association between Apple’s computer products and some of the most creative, innovative and influential minds of the 20th century. In all likelihood, when you see and hear the advertisement you identify and want to be one of these crazy ones, one of these innovators, one of these people changing the world.
But the advertising is also interesting because it explores who thinks differently – how people who “think different” can be geniuses or misfits or exceptional or stubborn, they might or might not fit in. But they make a difference. They do important work. And in doing so they change the world. And in 1997 Apple suggested subtly that the tool for people making this kind of difference is an Apple computer.
I have been thinking about 12 different ways that we can think differently. And the beauty is, in Apple’s 1997 poem and television campaign, we can see virtually all of them.
So here they are. 12 different ways to think differently:
- Being a revolutionary – questioning the old ways of doing things
- Being an innovator – creating new and powerful ways to do things
- Being a creative – giving birth and expression to new and powerful ideas
- Being a performer – pushing the boundaries and thinking in new ways that lead to improved results
- Being a seeker – gaining a deeper and better understanding of the world
- Being a visionary – having an expanded vision of what is possible and what is worthwhile
- Being an independent – thinking independently for yourself
- Being wise – gaining a different and informed perspective
- Being a leader – having the courage to discover and and express your individual uniqueness
- Being a change agent – leading people or groups through change
- Being committed – committing to making a difference
- Being authentic – discovering who you are, and having the courage to bring your true self to the world you live in
What do you think? Can you think of any other ways to ‘think differently’?