Learning from Apple …

The Economist has an interesting article on innovation at Apple, one of a million to appear in the next weeks (as the iPhone is getting ready).

[…] Apple has at least four important wider lessons to teach other companies.

Not invented here, and very welcome.
The first is that innovation can come from without as well as within. Apple is widely assumed to be an innovator in the tradition of Thomas Edison or Bell Laboratories, locking its engineers away to cook up new ideas and basing products on their moments of inspiration. In fact, its real skill lies in stitching together its own ideas with technologies from outside and then wrapping the results in elegant software and stylish design. […] Apple is, in short, an orchestrator and integrator of technologies, unafraid to bring in ideas from outside but always adding its own twists.

[…] Second, Apple illustrates the importance of designing new products around the needs of the user, not the demands of the technology.

[…] Listening to customers is generally a good idea, but it is not the whole story. For all the talk of “user-centric innovation” and allowing feedback from customers to dictate new product designs, a third lesson from Apple is that smart companies should sometimes ignore what the market says it wants today.

[…] The fourth lesson from Apple is to “fail wisely”. […] The wider lesson is not to stigmatise failure but to tolerate it and learn from it: Europe’s inability to create a rival to Silicon Valley owes much to its tougher bankruptcy laws.

Oh well, this last sentence nails it again … but more importantly it also highlights the importance of “culture”, be it overall society’s take of entrepreneurship or organizational culture: All (business model) innovators are well advised to adopt a thing or two of Apple …

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