" . . the best is none too good for any of us," says J. Irwin Miller, in a Cummins Engine Incorporated company video.
Susan Stamberg explains that Miller and his values are why the public places in Columbus, Indiana are designed by architects like Henry Moore, I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen. When Cummins Engine and its hometown was growing during post War World II, needing new schools and other public places, he offered to pay the architects fees if the town chose one from his list. The result is both the aesthetics as well as the quality of public buildings. His son, Will Miller, remembers him saying "mediocrity is expensive."
This NPR story rings with a tone that we don't hear often.
There's a lot of talk in business talk about how to create culture of innovation and creativity. The experts recommend a culture that embraces failure. The venture world talks about using technology to disrupt markets with cheaper - including free - alternatives.
Noone talks about better. And noone says that free, like mediocrity, is expensive.