There is little doubt that one of the most important innovators in the 20th Century was Steve Jobs. This one individual literally helped to connect people from around the world in a way that had previously not been possible. He took a company that was on the verge of becoming totally irrelevant and made it into something that became one of the most powerful forces of current technology.
Today’s businesses can learn some valuable lessons from Steve Jobs. Anyone who worked with him will point out that he was not the most likeable man they’d met, but no one who knew him ever doubted that he was one of the most savvy businesspeople they’d encountered. When that was combined with also being one of the most creative talents of his generation, Steve Jobs truly changed the face of the world.
Forget Focus Groups
In many businesses today, there is a reliance upon focus groups. Companies want to consult with individuals and find out what their needs and their desires are. Steve Jobs didn’t believe in doing that. The way he saw it, the customer sometimes doesn’t even know what he or she wants. In order to succeed, a company needs to trust the instincts of the decision-makers.
Read Forbes article on top 10 lessons Steve Jobs taught us
Keep it Simple
Steve Jobs was a man who worshipped simplicity. He understood that companies that were able to distill their products and services down to the lowest common denominator were companies that were on the road to developing “must have” products. Many of the Apple products were able to be picked up out of the box and used without having an instruction manual nearby.
Read Guardian article titled Secret Apple success simplicity
Design is something that Steve Jobs understood. Whether it was designing the Mac logo (making it resemble a smiling face) or making the first iMac look like something that was both cool and necessary, Steve Jobs knew that customers wanted something that was pleasing to the eye. When that was combined with simplicity, it became an unbeatable combination. How can this be used in today’s businesses? Simple – companies that can design aesthetically-pleasing products (or even websites) stand a better chance of connecting with customers than those who are complex and convoluted.
Read NBC article titled 6 pillars Steve Jobs design philosophy
Surround Yourself With Talent
Steve Jobs knew one of the most important keys to success was to have talented people around him at all times. There are literally dozens of stories about the lengths that Jobs went to when it came to finding the right people for his teams. (Of course, the way he treated them once they were his employees was another matter entirely.) When it comes to making your business succeed, you’re going to want people who are at the top of their game. When you surround yourself with talent, you stand a very good chance of having your business succeed.
Even though Apple is known for innovating technology, Jobs understood the importance of having face-to-face encounters. When problems arose within a department, he would often meet with the department players in person, rather than relying upon memos or texts or emails. He also understood that the secret to creativity came from random meetings and discussions. By popping in on different departments and divisions and engaging his personnel in unplanned discussions, Jobs often found new avenues and approaches that he hadn’t previously considered.