Sadly Steve Jobs is no longer with us but his legacy lives on. Many commentators predicted that the continuous success of Apple would falter without Steve Jobs at the helm (the implicit criticism being that it was all about him!), but the astonishing results announced yesterday start to demonstrate that Apple has been able to build a culture of systemic innovation and that the often predicted downturn post-Jobs is not going to materialise any time soon.What does this tell us? Three main things emerge.
- Inspirational leadership does not succeed within a vacuum of talented and committed people and of course Apple has had this in abundance for many years – from Sir Jonathan Ive to Tim Cook. The ’great man’ theory that was applied to Apple and Jobs was true to a large extent but it was backed up by talented people and processes behind the scenes i.e. a true culture of innovation.
- Innovation Leaders work to long term platform development plans (or migration maps) that seek to map out future product and service progression but also extract maximum value from existing products – a great example being the huge success of the iPhone 4S which contributed massively to the recent financial growth. And of course we can expect an iPhone5, iPad3 etc in 2012.
- Innovation Leaders don’t rest on their laurels! They are constantly looking to the future. Predicting new Apple products or platforms is an industry in itself and we have the much hypothesised launch of a new TV to potentially look forward to in 2012. And there will undoubtedly be others because Apple has constantly shown itself to be able to look ahead and make the right choices at the right time regarding new launches.
Many predicted that Apple’s astonishing success could not continue, especially without Jobs, and maybe it won’t, but who would bet against a $500 share price this time next year. Not me!