It would be difficult to put together a series of lectures on Innovation and Design Management without the inclusion of the late Steve Jobs and Apple. And it’s hard to think of anyone quite like him in terms of vision and single-mindedness, but if anyone comes close, it must be Elon Musk of Space-X and Tesla. Both men were able to attract the very best designers and developers, as well as funding, for their projects, leading to extraordinary success in unlikely fields. But what singled them out for this success?
Many column inches have been devoted to the search for an answer to this question, and there are unique circumstances that apply in both cases that have played their part. Yet I believe that their understanding of how products work is absolutely key to their success in business. They share an understanding of the mechanics of their products just as much as an understanding of what the public wants, and this has given them a strategic advantage over both their competitors and their employees. Looking ahead, we would do well to place more emphasis on technical competence in education and less focus on academic success.
Dig deeper –