Steve Jobs’s Innovation Leadership at Apple: My Lessons Learned

Posted by Dr. James Canton on August 25, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Steve Jobs is leaving Apple in great shape. His is exiting as CEO to retain the chairman position but leaves behind a innovation leadership legacy that is transformational. There is no leader in modern times that was more innovative, that broke more rules and invented more things that have transformed our world.

I worked at Apple headquarters in Silicon Valley in 1984 and was part of the team that launched the Macintosh computer. I worked in business strategy, strategic planning and managed global business markets, verticals like medicine were my passion and focus. I gave the first Mac’s to doctors and the National Institutes for Health for doing medical research on finding cures for kidney disease.

These were heady times. We knew we were igniting a revolution in how people used computing, information and culture. The Mac challenged that very idea of what a computer could be. Steve first evangelized the Mac to us, the employees well before he sold the world.

Lesson #1 Every Leader Must Be the Chief Evangelist
You have to sell the Big Vision first to your employees. If they don’t get it then customer will never. This seems obvious but too many leaders today have the right financial chops or seniority or even board support but don’t embody this lesson. Steve invented it.

Days before the Mac launch we sent around pictures of a Swiss Army knife, challenging ourselves that Mac was something else, not just a computer but a lifestyle appliance. Steve challenged us to think about the Mac as more then just a technology–it was a innovation in culture, lifestyle and learning.

Lesson #2 Think Different To Differentiate Your Company or Product

Steve was all about being innovative in marketing, product features, design, packaging, purpose—he knew that thinking differently was the key to differentiating Apple from the crowd of MeTo companies.

When we launched the Mac to the media and analysts we put a Mac in every room, with no manual. Other computers, like IBM came with huge manuals on how to operate. When the analysts came into their rooms we expected and they did touch the computer. The Mac would turn on and they would hear from the computer HELLO. This blew their mind. Steve was always blowing our minds with innovation ideas.
Lesson #3 Take Smart Risks, Fail Fast and Don’t Give Up
People forget that Apple tried and failed at many things before succeeding. You learn more from mistakes then successes. Edison’s light bulb took 40,000 mistakes to get it right. Before the Mac computer the Lisa failed. Apple had a run at a at an early iPad called Newton, it did not make it. Taking risks and persevering is important.

Lesson #4 Enjoy the Journey

We all are here on the planet for a limited window. Make the most of it.
Steve would remind us all that you have to enjoy the journey. Or don’t do it. He challenged us all to make a commitment to ourselves to do something big, important and meaningful. These lessons are as true today as in 1984.

Lesson #5 Invent the Future

This is the big one. Being bold, being future-ready, this is what life and business is all about. If your going to invent the future you have to be willing to brake rules, take risks, make mistakes but most important–Think Big Ideas. Selling your big idea your innovation is what every leader needs to do everyday. Steve was and is a fearless leader who invented the future: Mac, iPod, iPad, ITunes, Apple TV, the mouse… and a software interface that everyone has adopted for 20 years.

We wish Steve well in his next chapter and thank him for the lessons learned. I know his next innovations he will inspire at Apple will continue to touch us all.

Steve Jobs’s Innovation Leadership at Apple: My Lessons Learned

Posted by Dr. James Canton on under Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

Steve Jobs is leaving Apple as CEO in great shape. His is exiting as CEO to retain the chairman position but leaves behind an innovation leadership legacy that is transformational. I expect as I serve on boards of companies that he too will look to continue to inspire.  There is no leader in modern times that was more innovative, that broke more rules and invented more things that have transformed our world. Think about it: Apple, Disney, Pixar… Steve has been at the leading edge of transforming computing, entertainment, music, animation, software, platforms…I have a feeling he is not done but taking a break.

I worked at Apple headquarters in Silicon Valley in 1984 and was part of the team that launched the Macintosh computer. I worked in business strategy, strategic planning and managed global business markets, verticals like medicine were my passion and focus. I gave the first Mac’s to doctors and the National Institutes for Health for doing medical research on finding cures for kidney disease.

I learned much from working at Apple about innovation, markets and customers. Most of all what I learned from Steve was about an unrelenting furious passion and commitment to your vision of the future. This example has contributed to my success as a futurist in helping my clients think about, plan for and execute future strategies in business and government.

These were heady times. We knew we were igniting a revolution in how people used computing, information and culture. The Mac challenged that very idea of what a computer could be. Steve first evangelized the Mac to us, the employees, well before he sold the world.

Lesson #1 Every Leader Must Be the Chief Evangelist
You have to sell the Big Vision first to your employees. If they don’t get it then customers will never. This seems obvious but too many leaders today have the right financial chops or seniority or even board support but don’t embody this lesson. Steve invented it. Yes, it matters big.

Days before the Mac launch we sent around pictures of a Swiss Army knife, challenging ourselves that Mac was something else, not just a computer but a lifestyle appliance. Steve challenged us to think about the Mac as more then just a technology–it was an innovation in culture, lifestyle and learning.

Lesson #2 Think Different To Differentiate Your Company or Product

Steve was all about being innovative in marketing, product features, design, packaging, purpose—he knew that thinking differently was the key to differentiating Apple from the crowd of MeTo companies.

When we launched the Mac to the media and analysts we put a Mac in every room, with no manual. Other computers, like IBM came with huge manuals on how to operate. When the analysts came into their rooms we expected, and they did touch the computer. The Mac would turn on and they would hear from the computer HELLO. This blew their minds. Steve was always blowing our minds with innovation ideas.
Lesson #3 Take Smart Risks, Fail Fast and Don’t Give Up
People forget that Apple tried and failed at many things before succeeding. You learn more from mistakes then successes. Edison’s light bulb took 40,000 mistakes to get it right. Before the Mac computer the Lisa failed. Apple had a run at a an early iPad called Newton, it did not make it. Taking risks and persevering is important. What are you willing to fight for now?

Lesson #4 Enjoy the Journey

We all are here on the planet for a limited window. Make the most of it.
Steve would remind us all that you have to enjoy the journey. Or don’t do it. He challenged us all to make a commitment to ourselves to do something big, important and meaningful. These lessons are as true today as in 1984.

Lesson #5 Invent the Future

This is the big one. Being bold, being future-ready, this is what life and business is all about. If your going to invent the future you have to be willing to brake rules, take risks, make mistakes but most important–Think Big Ideas. Selling your big idea, your innovation is what every leader needs to do everyday. Steve was and is a fearless leader who invented the future: Mac, iPod, iPad, ITunes, Apple TV, the mouse… and a software interface that everyone has adopted for 20 years.

We wish Steve well in his next chapter and thank him for the lessons learned. I know his next innovations he will inspire at Apple will continue to touch us all.

US Debt Impact on Asia: Future Uncertain

Posted by Dr. James Canton on July 29, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

No nation or business wants more financial uncertainty. But that is what the US is dishing up this week as the debt issue is now everyone’s issue. Meeting with government ministers and business folks here in Indonesia as well as talking to other Asian officials has been a wake up call given the current state of affairs.

Messy very messy state of affairs I say. So it’s days before the default deadline and I am in Asia traveling. The strange reality is the Debt Ceiling Crisis, and it is now a crisis affects the world markets, not just the US. This is especially true of Asia. The concerns from Asia are with nations such as China holding over a trillion in US dollars and with the increased risk of reduced consumer export demand from the US, instability and uncertainty are now the major concern.

No leader wants excess uncertainty. That’s the word from Asia. Uncertainty breeds risk. Risk threatens stability and predictive forecasts that economies, markets and organizations need to thrive.

The new reality is that Asia has escaped the last global financial crisis with the CDO contagion, again brought to the world’s banks and economies by the US, now we have a another crisis affecting markets, currencies and debt. Is is time for the US leaders to grow up and realize that the linkage of economies is game over, transnational globalization and connected global economies, especially in Asia and the US, are a dynamic intimate interdependence that is not being managed well. Meaning, critics here share that US is not holding up its end. Now default uncertainty is being factored into markets, currencies and government policy. But we have an erosion of confidence and trust that is negative.

This is not how responsible global superpowers play the game given the Post-Bretton Woods advantage of the US. Asia is nervous and they have a right to be. No economy stands alone today. Let’s get on with it and manage this uncertainty before real damage is done. A new reserve currency maybe? Power comes with responsibility.

We need a new generation of leaders that understand the multi-polar world of intimate linkage of economies and who have a vision and responsibility that surpasses the politics. I am for cutting and curtailing spending, even a balanced budget for the US I would support. But being captive to the current chaos is not helping the US or Asia. Let’s get on with it.

Futurology Event in Jakarta

Posted by Dr. James Canton on under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Interesting observations from Jakarta where I am presenting at the Futurology conference. My thesis is that advanced exponential tech innovations, S&T, nano-bio-neuro-IT-quantum are some of the prime tools to use to feed, provide health care, energy, manage climate for the 8 plus billion people coming soon on the planet. We can’t get there from here without new investments in S&T.

See Global Futurist: Our Free New Apple App

Posted by Dr. James Canton on June 8, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Last week we went live with Global Futurist. Our Apple iPhone and iPad app is now live and Free for all to download.

If you want to know what’s next in future trends in energy, tech, climate, population, business strategy and more, see Global Futurist.

Android to follow.

Enjoy

The Semantic Web Show: Future of the Internet is Mining Desire?

Posted by Dr. James Canton on under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Hanging out at the Semantic Web show http://semtech2011.semanticweb.com/index.cfm
in SF yesterday with Sandy Rosenberg, an IGF adviser made me realize how early we are in understanding the semantic web. The show was intimate and eye opening regarding the powerful potential for this technology.

Simply put, the Semantic Web is about tagging everything and linking every data, audio, image and video source to everything–including us. Also context pattern recognition–finding insight into data that is useful.

Then better search emerges, smarter analytics emerge and maybe we understand how to sell, profit, serve and help people better in everything we do–from health care to security to making new drugs and finding new customers.

The Semantic Web will either be a boon to business or a huge intrusion into life by forces that want to mine and predict your desires. You may say what’s wrong with mining my desires? If you have to ask you missed it.

Personally I think a super computing AI, think Google in the near future with the power of predictive analytic media, seductive, immersive, intuitive, sensing your Desires and then enabling your desires for information, products, services, experiences to be fulfilled sounds both fantastic and disturbing at the same time.

Are not happy in the Matrix? OK maybe that’s too much. But someone in a very undemocratic place like Iran or North Korea may use this Rogue Technology to exploit our desires in ways not happy.

Think neuromarketing meets social media meets the semantic web. Who will watch the watchers? In the manufacture of desire be careful what you ask for.

I do think the semantic web also and primarily will drive valuable new services in media entertainment and health care, to name a few.

See Semantic Web Show in SF, well done event
http://semtech2011.semanticweb.com/index.cfm

U2 Concert in Oakland CA: Future of Innovation Velocity

Posted by Dr. James Canton on under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

The most interesting thing about the U2 concert last night in Oakland was not Bono’s call to action for human rights in Burma or his crazy robust voice banging out all the songs we love. It was the real time (maybe) feed from space the last Endeavor space station of our Astronaut beaming in reminding us that it takes only one of us to with imagination to change the world for the better.

Very cool reminder, from space that tech innovations transform the our world and will transform the future.

So much of the world has been made better with technology innovation and we are only in the middle ages where computers, nano, neuro, biotech have just been invented minutes ago in the long history of civilization.

We must meet the grand challenges of a Sustainable Planet–economic, social, security and environmental sustainability. Especially as were are looking at 9 billion by 2050.

This futurist calls for Planetary Management of food, water, security and energy. We need more Fast Innovation, Innovation Velocity for inventing the next future we will all be living in.

Bono reminded us, and he’s right. The Bay Area helped change the world with innovations like the computer, networks and biotech. Now we need to build on this culture everywhere.

Innovation Velocity means faster tech inventions by individuals, more investments by government and private sector, faster products to empower the next billion people to learn, grow, contribute, collaborate and do business.

How are you creating Innovation Velocity?

One world. One Challenge.

The Future of Transaction Processing

Posted by Dr. James Canton on under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

I have been analyzing the future of transaction processing platforms, the history and the future. OK so that is my obsession, what’s next for everything.

So the history of transaction processing was almost eclipsed by the banking sector which did not really understand how tech was disrupting financial services. They still don’t which is OK.

Paypal emerged because the banks missed the e-commerce trend. Credit cards are and were the Trojan horse that was “good enough” for the banks to play and still today control enough of the space though this is changing fast.

Some of the players I have been looking at such as Apollo, Oracle, Amazon, Google, HP, Compass are interesting. But new players using smart method patents that use automatic online analytics and estimators for complex shipping and transactions like Compass and Paid seem more like the nextgen winners like Amazon.

Apple’s Future Cloud Strategy: Learning from the Customer

Posted by Dr. James Canton on under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Apple’s strategy with the cloud is to learn from their customers. No less important is to lay the foundation of interoperability with Apple TV, the Mac, iPad and Mobile Me. Mobile Me is a work in progress but is moving in the right direction.

As a former Apple executive I know that Apple envisions the future by learning from its customers. This is a powerful lesson that more of my clients could benefit from–learning from customers about how they see the future applications of their products.

Apple learns more from putting out products to customers and then mining their experiences. Apple TV is the latest. But the cloud is an attempt to integrate all of the other devices into one platform–an intuitive interoperable platform.

Already users of Apple’s iPad can stream wireless to the TV programs. What’s next the iCar? Yes. So the cloud for Apple is already in play for the next generation, its laying the foundation for the integration of not just devices like the iPhone but the integration of knowledge assets like video, music and data.

Who are you learning about the future from?

Cloud Computing Futures and Big Data: What’s Next

Posted by Dr. James Canton on May 25, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Your going to hear more about cloud computing and big data impacting every organization and industry, especially government. This is the next evolution of network applications, mobile transactions and agile software services. The entire idea of information architecture, in a cloud computing future is coming very fast.

I have just given a series of keynotes to Cisco, EMC, IBM, Disney and Digital River. Everyone is embracing a cloud based strategy, why? cost-effectiveness of their IT spend and agility.

Business agility cannot evolve without IT agility. Write once, use everywhere. App’s that can be easily developed, deployed and delivered are the future and the future is now.

Now onto Big Data. I wrote a forecast on my website www.Futureguru.com about the coming Digital Tsunami, the convergence of tech and applications, from media to logistics to health care to personal genomics–an explosion of data–100 exobytes is coming FAST. Are you ready? No one is.

The storage, use, distribution and capture of 100 exobytes is insanely huge. Pardon the Apple pun. Being a former Apple executive is part of my DNA. but Big Data is the use of huge peta and exabytes of data to better serve customers, find value, develop products, feed the planet, protect the environment–you name it.

So our future is the Cloud.
For more see www.Futureguru.com