A New Year and a New World Awaits

I woke up New Year’s Day in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in the beautiful home of friends from the U.K.  As I walked into their open, light-filled kitchen, I saw my 5 friends sitting at a large dark wood table surrounded by a wall of windows revealing snow covered trees and mountains.  Each had a coffee mug and a Mac with their iPhones nearby.  Looking over their silver rectangle screens with the Apple logo, they greeted me - “Happy New Year”.  Paul just finished posting slideshows of our trip on YouTube that he created from pictures imported into iPhoto, with background music of “Auld Lang Syne” downloaded to iTunes. Becky looked for baby names on the “Moms Who Think” website while Dale searched on-line for a new home in England for their growing family.  Claire was on Skype with her daughters across the Pond; Tim checked email and Paul moved on to post his first blog of the New Year.  What a scene this was.  How things have changed since people sat around the breakfast table with sections of the NY Times.  Here we were, not far from RIM headquarters with a scene illustrating how iPhones have charged past Blackberries and MacBooks dominate the laptop marketplace. 

 

 

Apple continuously innovates and reinvents itself.  Rather than ask users what they want, it seduces people by proposing new offerings much as Eve did to Adam.   Customers don’t buy Apple products simply because of functionality; in fact, they are willing to trade off some technical limitations in exchange for design, appeal and fun. Apple changed computers from office objects to personal devices, redefined the music industry with the iPod and iTunes and transformed the cell phone from business utility to social connectivity and entertainment.  They gave users features they never would have dreamed of asking for.  And people responded.  A record 1 million+ ordered the latest iPhone during pre-release – in the midst of the greatest global economic turmoil of our time. 

 

While Steve Jobs was certainly an innovative thinker, creating the next best thing takes a culture that is infused with a sense of mission to go beyond the world of computing, to improve people’s lives, be bold and think differently.  Jobs once stated in an interview “The only problem with Microsoft is that they absolutely just have no taste.”  In contrast, he believed that technology should intersect with humanity and society.  Successful companies continuously recreate themselves while changing the rules of the game.  Apple dominates the market through disruptive innovation.  Howard Shultz takes Starbucks through reinvention.  Wal-Mart sends sustainability tremors throughout their global supply chain.  Interface, a $1 billion carpet company, redefines the global building industry. 

 

These companies show how businesses of all sizes and in all sectors redefine the marketplace through innovation, creativity and collaboration.  Smart leaders need to continuously explore how driving forces such as innovation, globalization, societal upheaval, economic uncertainty, environmental degradation and stakeholder influence impact their businesses and how to harness these challenges to create new opportunities for growth and prosperity.   

 

As for how I started 2012 – after pouring myself a cup of coffee, I sat down with my friends and opened up my MacBook to do some research for my book.  Happy New Year! 

Home Page Teaser: 
I woke up New Year’s Day in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in the beautiful home of friends from the U.K. As I walked into their open, light-filled kitchen, I saw my 5 friends sitting at a large dark wood table surrounded by a wall of windows revealing snow covered trees and mountains. Each had a coffee mug and a Mac with their iPhones nearby. Looking over their silver rectangle screens with the Apple logo, they greeted me - “Happy New Year”.

Comments

Paul said:

Sounds like a great way to start the New Year!

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