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There is an interesting thread of a conversation about Apple’s innovation going on among those commenting on The Most Innovative Companies lead story for this issue of IN-Inside Innovation.
Andre started it off by saying that Apple was not innovative—it didn’t invent anything. It only adapted things others invented. That generated a storm of discussion about just what innovation really means. My take on “innovation” is that it is not invention. That’s a classic mistake people make. Innovation is creating something new of value. In the business world, that means creating something new of value that generates revenue and profits. Disruptive innovations that
change the game are often business model innovations that integrate five or six or eight different types of innovation.
That's what Apple is so good at these days. In its earliest incarnation, Apple was great as user-friendly innovation. Apple is now in a second, more sophisticated and impactful stage of generating platform innovation. Both the iPod and iPhone are platform innovations that incorporate many kinds of innovation. There were lots of MP3 players around before the iPod, a few of them quite beautiful. But Steve Jobs brought together a legal/business innovation (getting the heads of music studios to agree on 99 cent downloads), a software innovation (the iTunes store) and a great industrial design--the iPod. That's what makes for powerful disruptive innovation.
The iPhone is similar--it's a platform that thousands of developers are building new products for.
Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.