Apple founder Steve Jobs was convinced that ‘innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10.30 at night with a new idea, or because they realised something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem’. According to Jobs, ‘When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R & D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it’.
'Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D (research & development) dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.' - Steve Jobs
Innovations and successful idea management are becoming increasingly important
Ever since the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter introduced the term and theory of innovations into economics in the early 20th century, entrepreneurs, managers, consultants and researchers have been dealing with the question of how the ‘new’ is brought into companies, business and society in a deliberate and targeted way. Disciplines such as innovation research and innovation management deal intensively with the innovation process. Typically, there is a differentiation between three phases:
- The impetus phase, where trends are observed and pioneering technologies are identified
- The evaluation phase, in which the suitability for the sector in question is verified
- The technology transfer, when a project or product development ultimately goes into ‘mass production’
Core innovation factors: observing competitors, employee ideas and customer suggestions
Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world’s biggest corporate consultancies, has released a study on the most innovative companies worldwide – the top ten is led by Apple, Google and Tesla Motors, followed by Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, the Samsung Group, Toyota, Facebook and IBM. In the report ‘The Most Innovative Companies – Getting Past “Not Invented Here”’, BCG provides various facts and figures on the topic. It is interesting to note that all the companies who describe themselves as ‘very innovative’ use an entire network of innovation ideas and factors, including ‘Internal sources’ (78%), ‘Competitive intelligence’ (72%), ‘Customer suggestions’ (70%) and ‘Employee ideation forums’ (68%) – in contrast to those companies that describe themselves as ‘weak innovators’.
The Job Wizards infographic shows the five most frequently named innovation sources; the top ten also included ‘Suppliers or vendors’ (65%) – and, interestingly, ‘Customer complaints’ (57%). That shows that Steve Jobs’ estimation of how important ‘the people’ are to the entire innovation process is clearly still accurate.
More about it in the next few weeks!