Harvard Business Review: Steve Jobs Solved The Innovator’s Dilemma

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
By OP Editor

How does an innovator deal with creative destruction? Do you prevent cannibalization of existing products?

Steve Jobs solved Clay Christensen Innovator's Dilemma

Apple Creative Destruction

The Innovator’s Dilemma – When Technologies Caused Great Firms to Fail [$9 new on Amazon] by Harvard Business School (HBS) Professor Clay Christensen describes why traditional companies often sit on new technologies instead of capitalizing disruptive technology to create new markets. OP example: Xerox was unable how to get its R&D developed concepts, such as GUI, into a real successful product. But Apple thinks different.

James Allworth, a fellow from HBS wrote in Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma (via DF):

They can do it because Apple hasn’t optimized its organization to maximize profit. Instead, it has made the creation of value for customers its priority. When you do this, the fear of cannibalization or disruption of one’s self just melts away. In fact, when your mission is based around creating customer value, around creating great products, cannibalization and disruption aren’t “bad things” to be avoided. They’re things you actually strive for — because they let you improve the outcome for your customer.

Allworth included a link to Gigaom article on Apple’s creative destruction:

[Steve Jobs and Apple are] not afraid to invent the future and to be wrong. And almost always willing to do one small thing — cannibalize itself. Under Steve, Apple was happy to see the iPhone kill the iPod and iPad kill the MacBook. He understands that you don’t walk into the future by looking back.

Steve Jobs has solved it indeed, leading Apple to beat Microsoft to become the most valuable technology company in the world with a decade of Apple wins.

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