Which Is Better?
A recent article in The New York Times discussed the innovation process at Apple. Clearly the process begins and ends with Steve Jobs. And clearly Mr. Jobs is a creative genius. He also has a lot of help with top notch design engineers. As a result, Apple is perceived as one of the most innovative companies on the planet.
If you have visionary leadership at your company, this might be a good way to go. But companies like Procter & Gamble (P&G) also have strong leadership and they have taken a different route to innovation. P&G has been a leader in Open Innovation, and many of the new products they have launched in the past few years have come from outside the company.
Which approach is better? Some say that Crowdsourcing produces a lot of good ideas, while “home grown” innovation is capable of producing bigger breakthrough ideas.
I love Apple (full disclosure: I own Apple stock and am a big fan of their products). However, I am not sure that the “elitism model of innovation” is one that can be expanded to a lot of companies. I believe that Steve Jobs is a true visionary, and that people like him come along far too rarely for this to be a workable model of innovation. It does work for Apple… but how many other companies can implement it?
Mark Prus is a marketing consultant who offers a name development service called NameFlashSM.