Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2009 (Revised May 2012)
Design Thinking and Innovation at Apple
by Stefan H. Thomke and Barbara Feinberg
Describes Apple's approach to innovation, management, and design thinking. For several years, Apple has been ranked as the most innovative company in the world, but how it has achieved such success remains mysterious because of the company's obsession with secrecy. This note considers the ingredients of Apple's success and its quest to develop, in the words of CEO Steve Jobs, insanely great products. Focuses on 1) design thinking, 2) product development strategy and execution, 3) CEO as chief innovator, and 4) bold business experimentation.
Keywords: Design; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Management; Product Design; Product Development; Research and Development; Creativity; Technology Industry;
|Case Code||:||BSTR396||For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500 ;|
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges
ThemesInnovation / Strategy/ Leadership
|Case Length||:||16 Pages|
|Teaching Note||:||Not Available|
|Industry||:||Computers; Consumer Electronics|
|Countries||:||Global; US; Europe|
This case study is about innovation at Apple Inc. (Apple), one of the most valuable companies in the world in terms of market capitalization. Apple led the global technology market by developing innovative products such as the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad which redefined their respective markets. The case discusses Apple's approach to innovation which was driven by a passion for creating breakthrough products. Innovation was part of Apple's corporate DNA. Experts said that Apple was innovative because of its ability to iterate designs, devices, and functionality and create products that became a benchmark for customer experience.The case discusses Apple's founder Steve Jobs (Jobs) role as the chief innovator of the company.
Jobs fostered a culture of secrecy at Apple and inspired employees to come out with path-breaking products by thinking differently. According to experts, it was Jobs's vision of developing 'insanely great' products that had made Apple an icon of innovation. However, his death led to speculations whether Apple would continue to innovate and lead the industry. One of the biggest challenges facing Apple was to launch some ground-breaking products in the future and exceed customer expectations. This case is designed for MBA/MS level students, and is intended to be a part of their General Management/ Strategic Management curriculum.
» Study Apple's innovation strategy
» Analyze the key factors which have contributed to the creation of a unique culture focused on innovation and creativity at Apple
» Evaluate the strategies adopted by Jobs to foster a culture of innovation at Apple
» Understand the relationship between culture and innovation
» Discuss and debate whether Apple can continue to innovate and stay ahead of the competition without its founder Steve Jobs
» Explore strategies that the company can follow to maintain its focus on innovation.
Innovation, Innovation strategy, Disruptive innovation, Game-changing innovations, Creativity, Culture of innovation, Leadership, Product innovation, Customer experience, Customer centric, Steve Jobs, Strategic inflexion points, design and functionality, Apple, Master Innovator, Mater Marketer, Succession Planning, Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad
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