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Meet the Makers: Kyle Crum, the Tinkerer, Dreamer, Doer

Kyle Crum is a maker. It’s his job to tinker with purpose and direction. His research and development team is scientifically grounded daydreaming.

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Kyle Crum is a craftsman. A dreamer. And a maker.

It’s his job to tinker with purpose and direction.

“We’re in the knowledge and discovery business so if something already is possible, it’s probably not landing in our lab,” Kyle says. “Our job is to tackle the “I’m not sure it can be done” ideas. Knowledge creates possibility. We try. We fail. We take those lessons and ratchet forward to the next stage until we make a breakthrough.”

Sometimes that breakthrough is what he hopes for, and sometimes it’s different. But it’s always progress.

This Technology & Research leader has deep discipline earned through years of military training. You might assume he’s all about rules – but you’d be wrong. Kyle leans back and leans into a creative place that allows him to lead a team that plays with the latest technology to build solutions that will disrupt industry.

His research and development team is scientifically grounded daydreaming. Kyle intentionally built team space that encourages casual bumps that foster impromptu conversation and curiosity.

“When I’m stuck on a problem, I circle the people,” Kyle says. “My team, my colleagues in industry, other markers. I come to them with humbleness and eagerness to learn more. In a society content with 117-character thoughts, together we dig deeper until we find something new.”

Part of creating a culture of wonder is Kyle’s goal to keep the administrative burden light with only one meeting each week, where he asks each team member, “What are you playing with right now?” And every time, a member of the team will ask, “I wonder what would happen if…” and the discovery continues.

“If all of your time is scheduled then none of your time is creative,” says Kyle. “We have time to dwell and experiment, to try again and try something new.”

The tone from the top works because Kyle’s built psychological safety into the team. “When you feel secure you are more willing to share wild thoughts and ideas, to suspend disbelief and dream,” Kyle says. “With science, research, collaboration and curiosity, we’re defining what’s possible in industry – and it will shape the next century.”

Kyle invites makers who are inquisitive teachers, experimenters and forward thinkers to his team.

“You can be the smartest person in the room and an amazing thinker but if you can’t teach and share what you’ve discovered, then this isn’t the spot for you,” Kyle says. “We deliver knowledge by balancing curiosity and practicality, freedom and accountability.”

If you’re a craftsman like Kyle, check out the career opportunities at Rockwell Automation.

Anthony Jones
Anthony Jones
Head of Global Talent Brand, Rockwell Automation

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