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Innovations Related at Apple Inc.

In the current world, there underlies a very competitive and advanced society where the ability to dictate changes adds the utmost value. Increasing competitive advantage in innovation management and creativity is essential to this capability. For this reason, big companies with an effective management team are initiating top priority to design ways and mechanisms for enhanced innovations and creativity. Razavi and Attarnezhad (2013, p. 227) defines innovation as the process in which a substantial amount of input and commitment is directed to an organization's product and service. In simple terms, it is the process of transforming a creative idea into something useful satisfies end user needs and wants. Innovation is one of the core influencers for growth and profitability for any organization.

Innovation is influenced by the creative capability of the people and organizations need to understand what motivates creativity and to help facilitate it through its culture, systems, strategy and leadership (Razavi and Attarnezhad 2013, p.229-230). The constituents of organizational innovations and how the management directs, shapes, and manages innovation has initiated a major research in this area. Organizations now realize that efficiency and increased operational performance are not adequate to create a strong competitive advantage in the modern day competitive global market. Rather both businesses and end users reward innovation. The acknowledgment of innovation as the heart to competitive advantage has been influenced by several factors including high-level knowledge economy upscales no price competition, and increased technological advancement in organizations (Australian Psychological Society 2012, p. 19-21). Companies especially those compelled technologically need to be more innovative and pioneering in order to grow, lead, endure, and compete in the market. This paper will mainly focus on innovation management and creativity at Apple Inc.

Apple Inc. Background

Apple was founded in the mid-1970s by Steve Jobs and two of his colleagues Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne (Apple 2017, p.1).  Initially, the company began as a one-man an idea. However, after collaborating with two other innovative and intelligent minds, the company grew to be the giant and successful company it is today. The founders designed the first Apple computer while working at Hewlett-Packard and introduced the idea to HP but they were not impressed with their invention (Rawlinson 2017, p.1). This did not discourage Jobs and Wozniak from developing and selling their computers. Two years later, Apple II was launched and sales multiplied to almost 80,000 in 1980 (Johnson et.al 2012, p. 1).

Current Innovations at Apple Inc.

As years progressed, Apple Inc. developed new versions of their products including computers and Macintosh, and new markets were established. For more than two decades, Apple Inc. predominantly manufactured personal computers such as Apple I, II and III, Power Mac, and Macintosh products (Rawlinson 2017, p.1). As much as the company experienced growth and increased innovations, they encountered unstable sales and decreased market share for some time. In 1985, Jobs resigned from the company due to power wrangles and rejoined the company later in 1996 to assume the role of a CEO (Apple 2017, p.1). With his return, he brought with him the new organizational philosophy of simple design and distinguishable product and also facilitated the purchase of a new company i.e. NeXT.

He introduced the iPod in the early 2000s which became a great success (Cooper and Edgett 2012, p. 2).And then again Apple became the leader in consumer electronic market which made it drop ‘computer' from its name and went on to release new products inventions like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch (Apple 2017, p.1). Jobs were constantly named as the number one CEO due to the value he impacted to the company by developing and unveiling new products. Today, Apple is considered as one on the largest and best technology companies across the world with revenues translating to $215 billion as at 2016 (Apple 2017, p.1).

Core Products

Since its inception, Apple Inc. mainly provides consumer electronics, software, and servers. The company is a true example when it comes to enhancing creativity and innovation practices. The technology they introduce since they first entered the market up until today have proven to be sophisticated to help them provide high standard products and services for its broad base of consumers.

Apple Inc. strives to offer best quality products to their customers as their goal was to design the best output, expensive, and high profile brands due to their high profit margin strategy and to keep the market stable. The company develops high-quality products and improvises them to incorporate the latest versions to meet the customers' present needs. However, there were cases where customers encountered some problems in some of the company's products that were found to be not user-friendly. Instead, Apple would handle these issues immediately and efficiently e.g. using PowerPoint compared to Apple's keynote sets Microsoft PowerPoint apart and identifies how its files work to make them user-friendly. The company is famous for its wide range of products such as iMac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod which incorporates the best touch sensors. The most suitable example for this case is the iPhone which maintains the market leader in the smartphone technology and uses efficient touch screen system.

Idea for an Innovative Product or Service Based On the Goals and Portfolio Management for Apple Inc.

Apple Inc. has introduced several operating systems for its products such as iPhone, iPod, iPad, Macintosh, PowerBook, etc. Apple develops its own operating system for its products, and one of the most notable operating systems is the iOS which is primarily used on iPhone and the OS X. Presently, Mac OS is perceived as the most innovative operating systems in the market. The operating system is designed on a UNIX foundation and simply developed as one of the essentials of the organization (Pisano 2015, p.6). For this reason, Macs have a strong reputation as the most advanced, highly secure, user-friendly, and compatible product.

Baer  (2012, p. 1102) states that ideas become useless when not put into practice. Creativity is said to be the initial step of an innovation development. It denotes the generation of ideas that are new and valuable in an organization in the temporary or even permanent course (Anderson Poto?nik and Zhou 2014, p.4-5). It is evident that creativity and innovations are the primary drivers of Apple Inc. success. The company has been able to support and manage innovation strategies and practices with calculated, heavy spending in R&D and increased launch of new products and improvements. What lies behind Apple's prosperity may not be considered as luck; rather the company has purposefully focused on generation new ideas faster. 

New technology makes people inquiring, and the smartphone transformation has taken the technology innovation to another level. It is still a reality in the mobile technology and in years to come, this technology will be made available to everyone. The smartphone technology is not just evolving the manner in which we live and experience but also defines it. At Apple, employees are encouraged to be open minded, to effectively communicate and collaborate to allow them to express new ideas and opinions. The most suitable innovative idea that Apple Inc. should take into account today would be to develop the electro-vibration technology to its electronics including iPhones, iPads, and Apple personal computers. This technology is expected to significantly transform the smartphone touchscreen experience.

Electro-vibration technology was accidentally discovered in the 1950s by Edward Mallinckrodt (Rockland 2016, p.1). In collaboration with other researchers, they began exploring the new phenomenon in great detail by running several experiments. More than sixty years later, Mallinckrodt discovery is being developed by Disney experts on touch screen devices to enable 3D textures using haptic technology (Rockland 2016, p.1). In short, this advancement will allow end users to feel different kinds of surfaces. It functions through electrostatic currents where the brain is duped into feeling textures by touching a device's screen. Given that this invention should be a reality as at now, technology researchers are experiencing some challenges in the process (Sednaoui et.al 2016, July, p.2). This serves as a great opportunity for Apple Inc. to grasp this idea.

Android and iOS software could be improvised with unique haptic feedback button press and swipe motions (Neal and Semi 2016, p.1). These functionalities will help to improve all end user interactions with the software. Electro-vibration technology will for sure change the online shopping experience as people will not need to worry about the texture and features of their products. Likewise, it may also contribute to educational and social beneficial trends. Educational textbooks will be made more appealing and user-friendly on touch screen devices like tablets which allow students to explore 3D qualities of an item on a page. New factors will be added to gaming consoles to enhance experience. Also, a blind person can use it for Braille and will be able to access touch screen devices like smartphones and tablets just like everyone else (Buzzi et.al 2015, p.134-135).

When it comes to Apple Inc. thoughts about product development and upgrades, it is no surprise that the company lacks a predetermined process in which to nurture innovation. The company relies on effective teamwork, communication and open-mindedness where people are motivated to come up with new ideas. Apple considers that being the most innovative company, they need to be diverse. The management at the company creates a positive environment and culture which will blend well with the innovation. There is a competent cross-functional team who are actively engaged in the new technology development decision-making process (Cooper and Edgett2012, p.4).

The company takes a complete outlook on the diversity of its employees, tech app designers and developers, vendors, and those that inspires bright future in technology. This is so since they believe that new ideas are generated from a diverse way of doing things. Apple Inc. employee is said to involve and collaborate with other experts in various experts when developing new products in order to design a product that meets the end users current taste and preference. Apple has a robust innovation strategy and a competent team, therefore, introducing electro-vibration technology into the company would be an outstanding fit for the company well recognized for its innovativeness as they are well placed to create a high profile and precise product.

Source: https://www.romanpichler.com/blog/new-product-development-with-lean-startup-and-scrum/

The innovation process represented above begins with an idea generating which is the vision. The diagram utilizes chains of reiterationsin order to convert the idea into a final output that is ready forunveiling. Iterations were involved to help understand the conflicts the product resolves, identify the end users and how the invention works to the advantage of the company.

User involvement has received significant attention in the recent years. Today, organizations are obliged to react to the increased consumer demand as they operate in an increasingly competitive business environment where user involvement in the development, design, and production process of a product is assumed to offer increased competitive edge (Bano and Zowghi 2015, p.2). It is believed that most products and services are developed by users i.e. people and companies because they what they innovate is developed into something they wanted. User involvement in electro-vibration technology process will offer great benefits. Apple Inc. may consider involving customers, partners, vendors, tech experts, etc. in their innovation process to establish an open innovation which implies that ideas stem from both internal and external parties of the company. Most organizations cannot depend on their own innovation thus, in order to grow and prosper; they need to collaborate with other entities outside the firm.

Apple Inc. is regarded as the most innovative technology company in the world, and its growing R&D budget mirrors the cost of the firm's innovations. The company heavily invests their time and money on innovations. As such, the company research and development spending have multiplied over the years. In 2015, the company was estimated to have spent more than $7 billion in just one year (Levy 2015, p.1). Given the size of the budget, it is apparent that electro-vibration technology may be a good bet for the company.

This is the stage in which ideas are put into practice (Sedrakyan, Snoeck and Poelmans 2014, p.4). Apple has the capabilities in terms of time, finances and human capital to undertake prototyping and test on the electro-vibration technology. This can be done by trying things out through carrying out formal pilot testing, randomized control trials, and prototypes. The process of improving and testing ideas is crucial because it is through trial and error, an iteration that the innovation will determine whether it will be accepted by end users and any issues emanating on the new product are resolved immediately. It is through this process that measures of prosperity are agreed upon.

A cross-functional management describes the manner in which people in different specialization work together towards achieving a common objective (Lin, Wang and Kung 2015, p.1). In order to accomplish a specific outcome, different activities must be involved (Kane 2015, p.1). This calls for an employee with different competencies and skills to create a team. Apple Inc. makes use of cross-functional teams as part of the company's new product processes. Cross-functional teams are mainly used for designing and defining a product development in the company.

In today's world, technology is increasingly advancing and before long electro-vibration technology may become a thing of the past. Some of the future innovations that may face out haptic technology include the brain-computer interface where one's thoughts that occur in the brain become commands. This is a hi-tech advancement that will be applied in smartphones. Also, augmented reality (AR) is another futuristic technology that may phase out electro-vibration. AR is an advanced version of what can be seen by the eyestechnology (Billinghurst, Clark and Lee 2015, p.3). In simple terms, the normal eyesight is perceived through smartphones and tablets which are infused with the AR (Triptirai, 2017, p.1). This technology has been the subject of discussion for most app developers.

Conclusion

When it comes to managing innovation, it is perceived that in the modern day business environment it is important to concentrate on every sector of the market in order to develop and innovative product that fulfills customer requirements. Apple Inc. history with innovation provides a lesson on how development and innovation can transform a company into a success and maintain the leader in the competitive market. Jobs introduced the design thinking strategy which is mirrored on the company's products. For this reason, the introduction of electro-vibration technology while applying the design thinking and innovation characteristics will integrate the needs of the consumers and business success.

References

Rawlinson, N. 2017. History of Apple: The story of Steve Jobs and the company he founded. Retrieved from https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/apple/history-of-apple-steve-jobs-mac-3606104/. Accessed on 03 June 2017

Apple. 2017. About Us. Retrieved from https://www.apple.com/. Accessed on 03 June 2017

Johnson, K., Li, Y., Phan, H., Singer, J. and Trinh, H., 2012. The Innovative Success that is Apple, Inc.

Cooper, R. G., and Edgett, S. J. 2012. A Product Innovation Strategy for Your Business. Retrieved from https://www.stage-gate.com/newsletter/downloads/Jan_2012_article.pdf. Accessed on 03 June 2017

Baer, M., 2012. Putting creativity to work: The implementation of creative ideas in organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 55(5), pp.1102-1119.

Anderson, N., Poto?nik, K. and Zhou, J., 2014. Innovation and creativity in organizations: A state-of-the-science review, prospective commentary, and guiding framework. Journal of Management, 40(5), pp.1297-1333.

Rockland, J. 2016. Electro-vibration and Touchscreens: Creating Virtual Textures. Retrieved from https://blog.somaticlabs.io/electro-vibration-electrostatic-vibration-and-touchscreens/. Accessed on 03 June 2017

Levy, A. 2015. 5 Tech Companies Spending More on R&D Than Apple Inc. retrieved from https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/06/14/5-tech-companies-spending-more-on-rd-than-apple-in.aspx. Accessed on 03 June 2017

Lin, Y., Wang, Y. and Kung, L., 2015. Influences of cross-functional collaboration and knowledge creation on technology commercialization: Evidence from high-tech industries. Industrial Marketing Management, 49, pp.128-138.

Sedrakyan, G., Snoeck, M. and Poelmans, S., 2014. Assessing the effectiveness of feedback enabled simulation in teaching conceptual modeling. Computers & Education, 78, pp.367-382.

Bano, M. and Zowghi, D., 2015. A systematic review on the relationship between user involvement and system success. Information and Software Technology, 58, pp.148-169.

Billinghurst, M., Clark, A. and Lee, G., 2015. A survey of augmented reality. Foundations and Trends® Human–Computer Interaction, 8(2-3), pp.73-272.

Triptirai, 2017. 6 Near-future Technologies that Will Affect Mobile App Development in 2017. Retrieved from https://blog.chromeinfotech.net/6-near-future-technologies-will-affect-mobile-app-development-2017/. Accessed on 03 June 2017

Kane, G.C., Palmer, D., Phillips, A.N., Kiron, D. and Buckley, N., 2015. Strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation. MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte University Press, 14.

Neal, A., and Semi, D., 2016. 6 Future Mobile Technologies That Could Arrive in 2017. Retrieved from https://www.machinedesign.com/guest-commentary/6-future-mobile-technologies-could-arrive-2017. Accessed on 03 June 2017

Sednaoui, T., Vezzoli, E., Gueorguiev, D., Amberg, M., Chappaz, C. and Lemaire-Semail, B., 2016, July. Psychophysical Power Optimization of Friction Modulation for Tactile Interfaces. In International Conference on Human Haptic Sensing and Touch Enabled Computer Applications (pp. 354-362). Springer International Publishing.

Buzzi, M.C., Buzzi, M., Leporini, B. and Senette, C., 2015, September. Playing with geometry: a Multimodal Android App for Blind Children. In Proceedings of the 11th Biannual Conference on Italian SIGCHI Chapter (pp. 134-137). ACM.

Pisano, G.P., 2015. You need an innovation strategy. Harvard Business Review, 93(6), pp.44-54.

Razavi, S.H. and Attarnezhad, O., 2013. Management of organizational innovation. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 4(1).

 Australian Psychological Society, 2012.  Innovation in Organizations. Retrieved from https://www.inventium.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Innovation-in-Organisations-APS-Shelley-Logan.pdf. Accessed on 03 June 2017

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