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Steve Jobs Approach to Innovation, Strategy and More: Book Review

I just finished reading “What would Steve Jobs do?” by Peter Sander (published by McGraw Hill) and it got me thinking about many areas of my business.

Since Steve passed away there have been many good books that looked at his life and his accomplishments.

Steve Jobs changed the world.

Aside from the biographies on Steve, most of the books out there look at Innovation at Apple and Steve’s approach to it.

This book takes a different angle. The tagline reads: “How the Steve Jobs Way Can Inspire Anyone to Think Differently and Win.”

Sander starts the book with an overview of Steve’s history.

We quickly learn an important lesson – that good can and does often come out of something bad.

Good from Bad

As consultants we are constantly facing challenges in all aspects of our business. Rather than feeling down and sticking our heads in the sand, the approach we must all take is to look at the downs as part of journey. Expect ups and downs and remember than as long as you continue to get up, work on constantly improving, you will at last out run your competition and finish at the top of the heap.

Next the book gets into Steve’s model of leading and the 5 areas that successful leaders focus on:

  1. Planning
  2. Organizing
  3. Motivating
  4. Controlling
  5. Communicating

One page 59 a powerful picture emerges about the model true leaders use. It is…

“Figure out something that was really important to do…and communicate this vision, provide a solid team environment, and make sure that people share the desire to get it done.”

Power of Simplicity

Sounds simple, yet most companies don’t have all those pieces in place. Do you?

Next we learn how Steve cultivated and promoted a strong and focused vision to gain respect from those around them. Yes, some feared him, but few could deny the feeling of being swept up by the vision he set for the company.

If I asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have told me, “a faster horse.” – Henry Ford

One of the most important chapers in this book is that on Customers.

Here we learn what role customers can and can not play in the development of your products and services. Where they can be of immense value and where they can get in the way of delivering a truly valuable new product or service to the world.

Yes, there are Wrong Customers and the ‘wrong’ type of customer feedback…

One of the key points in this chapter is that Steve Jobs had an amazing ability to “see customers’ pain and understand the customer experience and what about it could be improved.”

The book also offers a quick test that you can do to check on how innovative you and your business are and how strong a grasp you have when it comes to innovation.

Vision in 7 Steps

The chapter on Vision offers a 7 point plan around crafting your vision:

  1. Stay focused on the customer.
  2. Take inventory of what’s out there.
  3. Think how things can combine and evolve.
  4. Articulate the idea.
  5. Try it out on outsiders.
  6. Keep it in front of the organization.
  7. Always be willing to adapt or refine the vision.

The above steps are powerful. Every business, regardless of its size, should consider these 7.

The final three chapters look at Product, Message and Brand.

If you’re an Apple fan, or a student of the world of business, product development or innovation this is a read you’ll definitely enjoy.

You can find What would Steve Jobs do? on Amazon here.


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