Innovation is a state of mind that a company needs to nourish from the beginning. And some companies are famous for that. Each time they launch a new product, they never forget to underline the importance of ‘breakthrough’ innovation. A lot of companies are nurturing innovation (more than what we think), they just don’t talk about it the same way.
Some companies are creating ideas, products, and services from scratch. Not really. This is what they would like consumers to think. This is the way they want to be perceived. This is the example of Tesla for example and some other Musk’s side projects like SpaceX. They want to write the future from a virgin mindset, they insist on the fact that nothing similar was available before. But we have to admit the fact that nothing, really nothing is coming from a blank page – since a long time already. Even if they try to convince us about it. Landing on Mars is a wish but it’s not a concept that was created from scratch. Many scientists thought about it before. A lot of artists even mentioned it in their work. They aim to build an affordable electric car. This is obviously innovative but again, this idea is not new either. A lot of people were and are working in this direction. Actually, all automotive brands make steps towards this mission.
So, should we say that it is not innovation? Absolutely not, this is obviously some great innovation. But the way this word is used is misleading. Innovation is not about starting from the beginning, it’s about making a significant step to improve what we have, and it’s about improving what we have at the ‘middle’ of our evolution. Everything has a base for thinking, has a base for developing and has a base for dreaming.
And some other companies just accepted openly that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time to be perceived innovative. At least, they don’t use the semantics in the same way with the consumers. And that’s why the people get a bit disappointed. They break this romantic feeling of discovering something that seems completely new. They just move forward, they build on something they already have and they don’t pretend to reinvent the world each time they present a new product. This is the case of Apple.
Apple is criticized not to be innovative anymore. After the Keynote 2015, the comments are a bit harsh. What the heck is this iPad Pro (and even more with a stylus that Steve Jobs defined as a failure – looks more like a Surface, right?), what is this iPhone 6s with its Force Touch, what about the Apple TV with apps…Do we really need all that? As usual, in a couple of months, we will agree that we need to own those innovative products. The disappointment of the first glance will disappear.
Apple is still innovative, as much as some companies like Tesla. They just got mature enough to accept that they don’t have to claim it as such to move forward. They decided to admit this is an evolution of their products, but when we will have a look backwards, we will clearly understand it’s pure innovation. As Tim Cook says, Apple conferences are ‘the epicentre of change.’