A Symbol of Change

futurethink blue monster microsoft

Change the world or go home. That’s what Microsoft’s unofficial mascot, the “Blue Monster,” tells employees. The cartoon was created last year by blogger, writer, and cartoonist Hugh MacLeod as sort of a gift to Microsoft.

MacLeod on the Blue Monster:

The Blue Monster came from a simple observation I made early on in my career as a Microsoft watcher: That most people I’ve met who work there could be making more money elsewhere, and taking a lot less grief from the general public and the media. So what motivates them? The answer to this, in spite of all the baggage that comes with it, is what makes the company so interesting for me.

MacLeod designed the Blue Monster to start a conversation and ignite discussion within the company. Why? Because Microsoft had grown into a large, “evil” corporation – suddenly seen as the antithesis of fun. Microsoft is large, for sure (it’s market cap today hovers around $272.5 billion), but evil? I don’t think so. No, it’s not Google… and it’s not Apple, both of which have a reputation for being a little more fun and game-changing. But let’s not forget that Microsoft did change the game – it just hasn’t done so recently. And in our fast-moving world, people are quick to forget.

Anyway – back to the Blue Monster. The “impish” little character is a conversation starter – he’s on the back of business cards, posted on bulletin boards, sitting in email signatures, and even on a bottle of wine. Change the world or go home, he says. And Microsoft’s poor, tired, huddled employees have responded with energy and vigor that’s reminiscent of the company’s days as a start-up. People both inside and outside of Microsoft are starting conversations about how a company with Microsoft’s means and experience can once again change the world. Or at the very least, change the world by changing the game over and over and over again. Google did it with search, Apple did it portable media, Tom Ford did it with fashion, and Tesla did it with cars. Everyone is capable of changing the game, and collectively, everyone is capable of changing the world.

The Blue Monster is a cartoon – a little two-color drawing with a short, clever little tag line. But he’s powerful, and he’s igniting innovation. He proves that it doesn’t take a whole lot to energize your people and get innovation going. How are you going to do it?

Learn more at Gaping Void, Hugh MacLeod’s blog; and read a recent BusinessWeek article that features the little imp.


2 Responses to A Symbol of Change

  1. hugh macleod says:

    Thanks for the kind words. Great post :)

    btw, it’s “MacLeod”, not “McLeod” ;-)

  2. Josh says:

    Hugh, sorry for the typo! It has been corrected.

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