In his fascinating book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell reconsiders everything that we’ve ever thought about what makes people—whether it’s Bill Gates or The Beatles—successful. In his most recent book (and TED Talk), Gladwell returns to the idea of success stories, this time by changing the way we thinking about underdogs, beginning with the most famous one of all: David and Goliath.
Everything we thought we knew about the story of how the small shepherd boy overcame the mammoth-sized Goliath with no more than a small stone, Gladwell says, is wrong. In defeating Goliath, David subverted the expectations of everyone around him—including us. But in reality, David changed the rules to fit his individual strengths and capabilities with his sling and stones. David didn’t try to beat Goliath at his own game. He completely changed the rules of the game—and won!
The theme of Gladwell’s book—understanding what stones you can use to change the rules of the game in your life—was the subject of CEO Vance Brown’s welcome address today at the 2014 Cherwell Global Conference.
In the world of business, it can often feel like IT is fighting an upward battle—whether due to technological limitations, financial constraints, or simply just the lack of respect that IT is sometimes afforded within the organization. Those issues, Vance explained, are the reason that he and his two co-founders decided to start Cherwell back in 2004, not because they just wanted to start another software company—but because they wanted to change the rules of the game.
With the arrival of Cherwell Service Management ® (CSM) 5.0 and its innovative mApp™ technology, Cherwell hopes to offer its customers the high-impact “stones” they need to change the playing field of their IT and business environment. That would mean that customers would no longer feel forced into the traditional “keep the lights on” role of IT, which has long kept them from truly partnering with the business to achieve its strategic objectives.
In his powerful TED Talk, Gladwell discusses the different weapon technologies that were available during David’s time, explaining how when you actually understand the situation, David is really favored as the victor. It’s really only that David was expected to lose according to a specific paradigm which informs the way we think about the situation—his physical appearance, his lack of armour and weapons, our assumption that the game is physical strength and battle experience—these factors all lead us to identify him as the underdog.
Instead of looking at those superficialities—and instead of worrying about what others think—we could be thinking about what our own high-impact “stones” are. What are our capabilities? What are our assets? What technology can we use to get us where want to go?
One of the stones that Cherwell can bring, we already know, is its powerful user-configurable technology, recently named the #1 Most Configurable ITSM Solution by ITSM Review. And the technological capabilities just became a whole lot bigger September 16 with the introduction of the new Cherwell Service Management® (CSM) 5.0.
But the “stone” with which Vance concluded was the one that gets him up in the morning: community. This is the power of the mApp technology—a community-driven, web-based exchange, based on the idea of sharing technology and using it to help one another.
In other words, what would happen if we put our stones together and started building?