The Quest for a Great Computer in a Book
Every blog needs a story about Apple and here is one of ours, but it is not your average account. This is a story of a very young man, presenting his crazy idea at the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen, long before he or his company were famous. At the conference, Steve Jobs said: “Apple’s strategy is really simple. We want an incredibly great computer in a book, that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in twenty minutes, and we want to do it this decade.”
Let’s analyse this strategy using the Achieve Remarkable Things or ART framework:
- Did Steve Jobs articulate a clear inspirational destination for his quest? “A great computer in a book” is very clear and inspirational destination, he and his team knew where they had to journey to.
- Was Steve Jobs challenging the impossible? Back in 1983 the idea of a great computer in a book; which you could carry around with no wires attached to it; and learn how to use in twenty-minutes was crazy impossible. Fire this man he must be bonkers – they did.
- Did Steve Jobs deliver meaningful benefits? The immense and meaningful benefits that accrued across the world as a result of the iPhone and iPad, it’s very obvious.
What stands out most from this story, though, is it took over two and a half decades – June 2007 for the iPhone and April 2010 for the iPad – for Steve Jobs to reach his destination, rather than the ‘this decade’ he envisaged. During that time, he was fired by the board at Apple and sent into exile with Next Computers; he then made his way back to Apple via Pixar and Disney. The rest of the story is etched in history.
Here’s the lesson for all of us: Without his quest’s destination Steve Jobs may well have floundered in the wilderness. But by having a clear and inspirational destination he kept sight of and continued to strive towards his overall goal until he achieved it.
Your quest’s destination is an extremely powerful enabler because it:
- Inspires teams to deliver the added commitment required to go the extra mile and deliver meaningful benefits
- Empowers teams allowing them to take different ‘routes’ to the end destination.
- Encourages experimentation, risk-taking and learning from failing fast
- Builds agility, resilience and innovation into team’s culture and DNA
- Enables leaders to manage less and provide more inspired leadership
This Great Computer in a Book story is an excerpt from our white-paper Achieve Remarkable Things