When Apple came into the wristwatch space in 2015, they brought forward their core philosophy, which revolved around being innovative and going out of the norm. There have been watches that only watched time and nothing more. But when Apple came forward with their own watch, they came with something that didn’t just read time but also seamlessly integrated into your lifestyle.
Your calls, notifications, health status, favourite football match scores, etc. They came with something you’ll forever be addicted to because it has become a part of your daily life. And before the oldies knew what was happening, all their “status symbol” products became objects forgotten in the lockers. The bottom line dropped drastically, and their initial arrogance at the site of disruption followed suit.
In their early days while he was still alive, Steve Jobs once told his team of engineers, “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.” I think that has become a culture at Apple. Every one of their products comes with a raw demonstration of that narrative. They didn’t join the bandwagon until 2015, when they launched their watch. They took a tangential position.
What can you learn from this?
Never underestimate the power of vision, mission, and core values (born from strong philosophies and beliefs). Steve Jobs laid a solid foundation for Apple, which they are still enjoying today. He wasn’t a techie, but he saw the world differently, and he infused that difference into how his company practiced technology.
Apple didn’t try to sound like, do like, or behave like anyone. They stood their ground and showed the world a new possibility born out of their philosophy.
“Everyone was born to be a solution, but by trying to be like someone else, you end up becoming a problem to be solved.” Simeon Taiwo.
Innovation is nothing more than being able to quickly see trends and smartly position yourself at the forefront of them. Innovation is about being a good listener and a systems thinker (the ability to see the interrelationships of different ideas or concepts coming together to form a new meaning).
Apple simply brought several existing ideas into the experience of using a watch. Before them, you only needed your watch when there was a need to check the time. But since Apple came along, people now have more reasons to use the watch.
We all have the potential to be innovative. And it is not the Almighty Formula. It’s simply about being observant of the times, studying the lifestyle of your audience, and seeing better ways of becoming more relevant to their lifestyle. It’s about checking for performance gaps that currently exist and seeing how you can create micro-solutions that fill those gaps, one problem at a time.
My final words will be, Never chase competition and leave your audience behind. Being innovative is not a race you run with your competitors. It’s a race to be more entrenched in the lifestyle (way of life) of your consumers, such that you increasingly become a necessity to them.
In the strategy world, we call this The Delta Model, a consumer-centric approach to strategic management.
Authored by Simeon Taiwo