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Visionary Jazz

Rarely does too much vision tire a church out.
—Max De Pree

Many years ago at Herman Miller, Inc., we invented a product that revolutionized the office world—the open office. When we were ready to introduce it in 1968, however, our sales department said, "We can't sell that. That's a dumb product. Nobody will want that."

To get that product to market, we had to bypass our own sales department!

One key person in the sales department, Joe Schwartz, thought the open office was a work of genius. He said, "I can sell it. This is absolutely needed."

Joe invited facility managers from major corporations to come together for two days of meetings, and he asked them on the first day what problems they faced.

When they arrived for the second day of meetings, he restated the problems they had talked about the day before. Then he showed them how this new system could create solutions to their problems. They began to buy the product directly from him—bypassing the normal sales process. Joe is retired now, ...

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July/August
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