Monday, May 09, 2011

Can Apple become Jobsian?

Asymco wonders if Apple is becoming more "Jobsian" (and therefore, better able to succeed in the post-Jobs era) by building Steve U:
According to the article in Fortune and some additional details from another source, Joel Podolny has been building an understanding of how Apple is run. He’s then been asked to codify this understanding into a curriculum that can be taught to Apple employees.

The idea that Apple is trying to capture its institutional processes and knowledge is very compelling. Few companies have self-knowledge. Fewer still try to codify it and teach it to new generations of leaders (Disney, McDonalds and Toyota have in-house training programs but they are mostly aimed at new hires).
Coming from the Product world, I am very skeptical that Apple's process can be institutionalized via any form of academic canonization. The etiology of Apple's success is not rooted in process or institutional knowledge, it's rooted in politics, where the CEO is also the Chief Product Officer. Design is about compromise, and the mindset of the CEO will tell you what will get compromised for what else.

2 Comments:

Blogger Oliver said...

As an architect, I can second your analysis. There is virtually no architecture firm that has managed to save itself (or at least the quality of its output) over more than the lifetime of its founder(s). And you also deliver an elegant answer to why my profession is so in love with apple products. They fit their perception of what to compromise perfectly. Design is the translation of an individual personality into a (new) product. Only when the product is predefined, such as with McDonald's, can canonization / institutionalization help.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Andrew James said...

I think that Apple's values can be taught and taken in board by staff. They must be doing this now. I don't believe that one man is responsible for the innovations that keep coming and as with any company succession planning would be in place.

5:22 PM  

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