Although Apple has been voted the most innovative company worldwide for multiple years, not much is known due to the company's obsession with secrecy. This "Design Thinking and Innovation at Apple" case analysis sheds some light on Apple's success and its quest to develop outstanding products.
Stefan Thomke; Barbara Feinberg
Harvard Business Review (609066-PDF-ENG)
January 09, 2009
Case questions answered:
- What are the key elements behind Apple’s success?
- Is there a systematic “approach” to innovation at Apple?
- Are all “design thinking” approaches the same? If not, what are the “types” or differences in various approaches?
- Can “design thinking” be imitated? Emulated? If yes, how can it be copied or approximated?
- What are the pros/cons of using design thinking as an innovation strategy?
- What video link helped you analyze this case?
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Design Thinking and Innovation at Apple Case Answers
This case discusses the implementation of commercially and critically acclaimed Design Thinking at Apple and how that has led to the innovation of its products. It describes the legacy left by Steve Jobs, who had an enormous impact on the culture of the company. His design mantra, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” has been a guiding light and driving force for all of Apple’s innovative endeavors.
This innovation in the design, however, comes from a clear and deep sense of understanding the consumer needs and coming up with an elegant and dynamic solution.
As Tim Brown says, “Innovation requires, above all else, a willingness to embrace chaos.” That is clearly what Steve Jobs envisioned, incorporating those characteristics into the culture of Apple by saying that there is no proper and predefined system to achieve innovation.
The platform-integrative strategy that Apple uses makes it easier to implement disruptive incrementalism, which means coming up with new innovations despite keeping the platform the same. The other benefit of maintaining and improving the platform is that it helps the company to easily integrate the new improvements into the system while having greater control of its proprietary assets.
Apple has holistically worked on the innovation triangle and has become successful in creating strong appropriation elements. It branches out from the fact that the corporate culture of innovation has spread across operations, marketing & products, even after Steve Jobs was not heading the company for a brief period of time.
What are the key elements behind Apple’s success?
The key elements behind Apple’s success have been its culture of innovation and its emphasis on simplicity in innovation. The other important element has been the innovation based on…
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