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DESIGN THINKING AND

INNOVATION AT

Apple
Authors:

Stefan Thomke
Professor of Business Administration
Harvard Business School

Barbara Feinberg
Independent Researcher
Summary and presentation by
Li Wei
Technology commercialization manager
Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL)
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR, Singapore)

B. Eng & Ph.d (Engineering) M.B.A.


Nanyang Technological University INSEAD
Singapore Fontainebleau, France
A Harvard Business Case: Winner of 2013 ECCH Case Award
In 2012, Apple became the most valuable
public-traded company in history

$600 $620 $100 Bn Bn


Share Price Market Capital Annual Sales
Apple’s success was NOT
JUST the result of STRATEGIC MOVES
or innate sense of
MARKET TIMING
It is a surprising consistency in
the way the company worked

Simply put, the “APPLE WAY”


#1 DESIGN
THINKING

Those of us on the original
Macintosh team were really excited
about what we were doing. The
result was that people saw a Mac
and fell in love with it … There was
an emotional connection ... That
think came from the heart and soul
of the design team
Bill Atkinson
Member of Apple Macintosh Development Team
In mid-1970’s,
computers were
typically housed in
discrete locations
and only used by
SPECIALISTS
COMPUTER AS A TOOL FOR INDIVIDUAL WORK
It was an unimaginable notion in 1970s

To Help people “love” their equipment and the experience of using


it, level of complexity needed to be reduced dramatically
Start with Design, from
People need and want, Not
limited by technology,
Start with Design, from Push the engineers to use the
People need and want, Not same kind of creativity and
limited by technology, innovation to make it happen
Design is very well Capacity and Technology to
thought through build it is not commoditized
[Beyond Fashion] [No Compromise]
User
Desirability

Technology Market
Possibility Viability

DESIGN THINKING
Smallest of details are scrutinized
The design team
kept going deep
until they found the key
underlying principle of a
problem, then built on it
Design is not just what it
looks like and feels like.
Design is how it works
THAT

Simplicity
is the ultimate sophistication
#2 strategy And
execution

You can see a lot by
just observing

Yogi Berra
Major League Baseball Player and Manager

Photograph by
Bernard Hoffman
1976 Apple Founded
1978 First personal computer: Apple II
1981 IBM entered with its PC that can be “cloned”
1985 Apple market share kept declining, The board AXED Jobs

Products and projects at Apple proliferated in


consequence of various strategies – and failings

1997
The technology development
process became more traditional
and resembled approaches found
at other companies

Process makes you more
efficient. But innovation comes
from people... calling each other
at 10:30 at night with a new
idea … it comes from saying no
to 1,000 things to make sure we
don’t get on the wrong track or
try to do too much…

Steve Jobs
1997
Steve Jobs
returned to Apple
Eliminating Shutting
Stop facilities and
70% of new moving abroad
licensing projects Sophisticated
program marketing
Kept product
Product development
line from Compete Secret
15 to 3
Website for Inventory from
direct sales months to a
few days
Excellence
in Execution
Platform
Strategy Design the initial product as a platform:
with an architecture that will
accommodate the development and
production of the derivative products
Iterative
Customer Working intimately with
manufacturers and being
Involvement completely attuned to customers

Integrate customer’s experience into its


design and development, a lot of it was
empirically drives
Beautiful
Product that
Evolves
The importance of design as a motivation to
continued innovation rather than a static
approach that assumes a single conclusion
#3 CEO as Chief
Innovator

The really great person will
keep on going and find … the
key, underlying principle of the
problem. And come up with a
beautiful elegant solution that
works

Steve Levy, Author


The Perfect Thing
APPLE-JOBS
interchangeable terms
Jobs’ drive for perfection
is Apple’s drive for
beautiful elegant
products and its
superior operations
Jobs’ vision held that Apple
products were to be
personal tools for individual
instead of ”enterprise
solution”
Jobs’ total hands-on
involvement in decision-making
From strategy to product and
service design to packaging
#4 Bold Business
experimentation

The greatest artists like
Dylan, Picasso and
Newton risked failure.
And if we want to be
great, we’ve got to risk
it too.

Steve Jobs
-- When everyone was moving online
Decision to move into retail and created with
the same painstaking focus on details
Develop and integrate
its own hardware and software,
and keep product launches secret
-- against conventional wisdom of
”open platform, collaboration,
community design, transparency”
Constant learning, adaptation and evolution

Array of colors Closed Developer Not Compatible for other OS


Community

Black and White Open Developer Windows Compatibility


Platform
To Sum …
The root of Apple’s success
Bold Business
Design Thinking Experimentation

Strategy and Execution CEO as Chief Innovator


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