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Design Thinking and Innovation at


About Apple
During 1970s, computers were used by Governments or Large
Companies and were mostly handled by specialists
The notion that computers can be used for individual use was
Apple Computer, Inc was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve
Wozniak and Robert Wayne with a goal to create computers
that supported and fostered individual work
Their aim was to reduce complexity to make potential
customers fall in love with the computer

Current Issue

What are the key factors that have contributed to

the innovation and creativity at Apple?

What is the way ahead for Apple? Should they

continue with the same model of innovation or
look to new avenues?

Key Decision Criteria : Design


Concentrate on design first; apply a lot of

creativity and ingenuity on the design side and
then push the engineering department to use the
same kind of creativity and innovation to make
that happen

Solution-based thinking; focus on what's to be

achieved rather than starting with a problem

Identified the key underlying principles of a

problem which in turn could be built upon

Goal : To design a computer that both supported

and fostered individual work

Key Factors : Design

Simplicity : Design and

Worrying about the

smallest details

Detail was not only about

features, but also design

Apple used same

philosophy and adapted it
to new technologies and
different materials. Eg. iPod
Mini, Nano and Shuffle

Beyond Fashion

Apple went beyond

superficial trends and got to
the essence of customer

Making superior computers

express itself on the outside
as well

No compromise between
simplicity of use and

Product Development Strategy and Execution

Apple in1980s and early 1990s

Constant change in strategy due to change in regime

On account of competition from IBM-cloned devices, company was
not able to decide which products to develop and produce
Debates on licensing Mac OS and entering unknown segments like
the Business Market (dominated by Windows and Intel)
Some success like the PowerBook (1990)
Many failures like the Newton PDA

Excellence in


The Right Way Forward for Apple



Key Factors : Innovation, Product

Development and Execution
Apple comeback!
1. Excellence in Execution

Radical changes to bring back the Apple way Stopping licensing, closing 2
divisions, eliminating 70% of new projects, changing distribution system
Working intimately with manufacturers and being completely attuned to

2. Platform Strategy

Design initial product as a platform with an architecture that will accommodate

the development and production of the (derivative) products envisioned

Benefit to company Resources and time saved, efficient, reliable, low cost, reusability

Benefit to customer More stable and reliable design, less repair and
maintenance, repeat customers face less training time

Key Factors : Innovation, Product

Development and Execution
3. Iterative Customer Involvement

Integrating customers experience into design and development


Design should be driven by user needs and desires

4. Beautiful Products

Design as a motivation for continuous innovation

Not playing safe and getting bolder with every product

Steve Jobs- Chief Innovator

Steve Jobs design sense was confident
and refined and his sensibility was
His temperament showed that he had a
larger vision in mind and would go to any
length to achieve it
His vision emphasized on across-theboard excellence, right from aesthetics to
superior operations
Emphasis on the timely launch of highquality products
Jobs had hands on involvement in decision
making, from strategy to product and
service design to packaging
Because of him Apple focused on problem
solving for individuals when the trend in
1980s was creating enterprise solutions
Belief in simplicity being the ultimate
The End Result: Beautiful elegant
solutions that work!

Key Factors : CEO as Chief Innovator

Jobs vision : Apple products were to be personal tools that enabled
and enhanced individual efforts for such problem solving

Total hands-on involvement in decision making, from strategy to

product and service design to packaging

Believed that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication which

reflected in all Apple products

Apples current innovation model

Moving to retail format when Dells web based selling was being

Creating state of the art retail outlets

Emphasis on foot traffic in stores to target non Apple customers

as well

Create a cool perception in the minds of the customers via

products and retail outlets (genius bar)

Limitations in the current


Apple seems like an outlier in the new age of

open innovation and collaborative design

Insists on developing its own hardware and


DIY innovation model will not be sustainable in

the long run when R&D costs rise and consumer
demands sky rocket

Way forward
It was Steve Jobs ability to see the incredible
possibilities of technology that drove Apple to
create such wonderful products
When it came to deciding which new directions for
the company to develop, Apple had a committee of
one: Steve Jobs
Apple will need to adapt now and should try to
expand to newer segments as it has done before
To succeed going forward, they will need to
develop a new model for success and innovate
more broadly
Apples approach has worked magnificently in the
past, but, there is no guarantee that it will succeed
in the future!

Thank You