5 Reasons Not to Use Apple As a Role-Model for Innovation


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I just read a good post on Apple and Jobs by Tom Fishburne on Apple. Well, this is actually one of the few situations where I get to enjoy cartoons at work. They are great and you should check them out!

The many posts on Apple due to Jobs resignation got me to think about the many times, I have heard people argue that Apple is a very innovative company and that other companies should copy their efforts.

I always tell people to cool it, when they start on this. I do believe Apple is a very innovate company, but here you get 5 reasons why I believe you should not use Apple as a role-model for innovation.

1. Apple is a very unique company. Yes, Apple is very innovative, but they are also very unique making it difficult and even dangerous for others to copy. Companies need to build on their own strengths and get inspiration from several companies rather than getting blinded by the way one very successful – and unique – company innovates.

2. The innovation knowledge of Apple is limited. How much do we really know about how Apple innovates? I have a hard time finding good insights on their innovation processes. This secrecy on many levels is perhaps also what makes them so appealing.

3. Apple is a closed company. Building further on the above, Apple do not really seem to open up their innovation efforts which I see as the future for most – if not all – industries and companies.

4. Your company cannot hire the same quality people as Apple. People want to work at cool companies making it easier for Apple to hire people that make a difference. This goes for all of their functions from engineers over marketers to retail employees.

5. Your company does not have a Steve Jobs. No further comments on this.

Learn from Apple. Don’t copy it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


  1. Wise words Stefan!

    I believe that your reason #5 is the true reason #1. All of the other reasons are driven by the unique talents of Steve Jobs and the role model he has been within the organization. As leader, he has defined the corporate culture as one of innovation, the strategic focus on making products that are simple for the end user to adopt quickly – with almost no need to read the instruction manual!

    Essentially, Apple is a stellar example of a customer centric – customer focused company. And, the people who aspire to work there must be dedicated – driven to innovate on the customer’s behalf!


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