American Way: You quote British management thinker Charles Handy as saying, "Creativity is born in chaos." Can the typical business embrace chaos and deviance?
Yes. Deviance and order can coexist. But today, the zeitgeist is being driven more by the Fringe than by the mainstream. That's how we got from Ozzie and Harriet to Ozzy Osbourne playing a dad on TV.
Deviance is the source of innovation and creativity, says futurist Watts Wacker, but in many companies, the corporate culture punishes deviant attitudes and ideas. Here are some of Wacker's tips for creating a devox-friendly company.

Recruit from the Edge by looking for people of unconventional backgrounds and points of view, otherwise known as deviants. Outsider perspectives can revolutionize a business.

Remember, deviants love work and hate jobs. They are attracted by challenges and repelled by repetitive assignments. They're perfect for a "skunk works" project that's outside the normal confines of the office.

Celebrate deviance. If you have a number of employees who ride motorcycles, get a bike and sponsor a "run." If your deviants like old films, open the office on a weekend and stage a classic film festival.

Deviants of a feather flock together. Hire a visible deviant, give him/her hiring authority, and he or she will solve your innovation problem. -


To spot a deviant, look for people whose ideas, and often behavior, are outside the mainstream. Think Galileo, whose conclusion that the Earth revolved around the Sun - and not the other way around - was called heresy. Or Einstein. Or any of the following:

Steve Jobs, co-founder, Apple Computer
Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system