There’s one in every class – that super-engaged punk that has to question everything.  I love these people.  I am one of them.  They are often the most passionate and true critical thinkers.  Silently, in my own mind after every class I teach, someone gets the Thinker Award.

Reminder of great thinker's of history

The Thinker, Auguste Rodin (Karora/Public Domain)

This practice was an essential survival tool in the early days of my career, which were filled with “lively” and often challenging days as a New York City public school teacher. Specializing in urban public school reform for secondary level, I taught in dropout prevention high school programs.  Here, one finds a disproportionately high number of Thinkers. The formal education system is not built for them and so, they struggle to succeed.  But when they make it through, these are the rebels that can bring us some of the greatest breakthroughs in history.  Thank you, Rosalind, Steve, and Richard.

I moved into medical product commercialization many years ago, but even in this world, the Thinkers make their presence known. This week I was reminded as I had the privilege of conducting a wellness training with Flex Partners.  I have collaborated with Flex, a veteran medical device engineering firm, for several years now, launching a variety of new medical device technology platforms.  These people are among the most creative in the industry.  And they seldom miss their mark.  This is because they tend to THINK before they act.  They think about the market requirements, the manufacturing reality, the patient experience before they ever lift a hand to the white board.

It can be frustrating at times.  Still, I remind myself to be patient and pay attention because we all just might learn something.  Here’s to the Crazy Ones!


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