Apple and Innovation – Some Thoughts


Okay so, what does it take to become a great innovative company you ask? Well, maybe we should ask Apple, or study what they are doing, and have been doing. That makes sense right? Now then, let's discuss what they did, and why they did what they did, or what the business case studiers think they did, and see what we can come up with here.

First, I'd like to start out by citing a couple of recent articles and comments by folks who like to do research on these things. You see, there was a rather interesting article in Harvard Business Review Online (October 24, 2011) titled; "Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator's Dilemma," by James Allworth. The article declared;

"As a business researcher, I was particularly interested in this recent article that mentioned from his biography a list if Job's favorite books. There is one business book on this list, and it" deeply influenced "Jobs. That book is" The Innovator's Dilemma " by HBS Professor Clay Christensen. But what's most interesting to me is not that The Innovator's Dilemma was on that list.

The author of that article stated that; "That" subtle difference "- of flipping the priorities away from profit and back to great products – took Apple from three months away from bankruptcy, to one of the most valuable and influential companies in the world."

Indeed, in reading that, I disagree. You see, I find the Harvard Crowd always trying to simplify complex things into a quick-fix or business lesson to teach for case studies. And it's not as if I do not like that particular book as I have two copies of it and they are both in my personal business library. It's that the lesson here is so obvious that any entrepreneur in even the smallest business realizes that main theme, and one hard has to write a book of 320 pages to state the obvious.

Okay so, no I am not down on Harvard Business Professions, but I think folks give them far too much credit. Surely, if you teach kids from wealthy mover and shaker families, that many of them will become successful, heck, they'd be successful even if they never went to high-school. Wealth and the right connections make all the difference, and certainly allow for numerous mistakes and recoveries along the way to success.

Now then, there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on October 24, 2011 titled; "Top Innovators Rank Low in R & D Spending" by Melissa Korn. Apple spent $ 1.78 Billion in 2010 and as a percentage or market cap, revenue and profits was number 70 on the list by ratio. This was a report by Booz and Co. that the article was referring too, but I would like to add something.

Apple is so trendy, that the users themselves were busy creating the innovations, as brand loyalists committed to the concept. So, every great new innovation in that space, had everyone contacting Apple immediately, all they had to do was pick up the phone, choose, and then implement what worked. The community was so large that they built the app store, what else could they do?

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