Apple is an interesting case study — regardless where you stand on the fanboy to hater spectrum, the company has shown the world how to continuously innovate. And as innovation is at the core of every startup it’s worth deconstructing Apple. Not from a strategy perspective (the “how”) but from a values-based view (the “why”).
The following list was compiled by Gary Hamel for his excellent book “What Matters Now”:
- Be Passionate. Great success is the product of a great passion; it arises from the tireless and inventive pursuit of a nobel ideal.
- Lead, Don’t Follow. Folks at Apple hate being derivative. Even if they follow (there were MP3 players before the iPod) they always set themselves the challenge of radically redefining the status quo.
- Aim to Surprise. As a company, Apple seems committed to exceeding expectations — to wringing little gasps of delight from even its most jaded customers.
- Be Unreasonable. Greatness doesn’t come from compromise, from resigning oneself to the trade-offs others blithely accept. It comes by transcending trade-offs, by turning either/or into both/and.
- Innovate Incessantly and Pervasively. At Apple, innovation isn’t a strategy or a department; instead it’s the basic material that goes into everything the company does.
- Sweat the Details. Apple is justifiably celebrated for its sense of aesthetics — but great design isn’t just about bold strokes, it’s about getting all the tiny things right that conspire together to make a product truly exceptional.
- Think like an Engineer, Feel like an Artist. A company can’t produce beautiful products if bean counters win every argument.
This is an impressive list. And something you should print out and turn into a mantra for your organization. It will serve you well.
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