Friday, January 27, 2006

Article about Steve Wozniak, co-inventor of the Apple Computer

I read an interview of Steve Wozniak in last fall's issue of the Berkeley Forefront magazine written by David Pescovitz of Here are some things Steve had to say that I liked a lot:

"When we were in Apple, I could accurately predict what would happen a year out becuase we were working on it. But if I tried to predict two years out I was usually wrong. Unexpected things would appear and there would be a better way of doing things."

So it is: innovation is hard to do, even for a guy like Steve Wozniak, the co-inventor of the Apple Computer.

I liked these personal notes about Steve as well:

"I had always envisioned a life with a reasonable engineer's income, a lifestyle similar to that in which I grew up. I had never developed lofty goals of wealth or possessions. I didn't think I'd have enough money to take a vacation in Hawaii or to even own a home. I had grown up shy and didn't have a social group but I fit in with the people interested in computers. I listened, I talked a bit, I designed stuff, and I showed it off. This was for social reasons, not money. I wanted to share my knowledge and educate others about computers and point out some clever deisgn techniques of my own. So when we did achieve some major success, I had a lot of wealth that I had not pursued."

And this one:

"When we were growing up, we built little electronic parts and systms like house-to-house intercoms. Then we could tell the other kids at school about it and we stood out as a little special. If you're shy, that kind of thing gives you something to talk about."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Conference on “Leadership and Innovation in the Emerging Creativity Economy”

I attended an innovation workshop at PARC last December. It was hosted by the South Bay Organizational Development Network (SBODN) and the IP Society (even link). There was a brainstorm about problems in innovation in organizations and this is what I recorded from the audience:

1. Management encouraging innovation but the framework discouraging it.
2. Organizations are optimized for efficiency rather than novelty.
3. Leader of an organization can be entrepreneurial but the rest of the organization has to try to provide balance.
4. Burnout – not believing people are truly empowered; feeling like they’ve done it all before.
5. Low emotional maturity – chaos ensues.
6. Not defining expectations.
7. Not having time, deadlines inhibiting innovation.
8. Organization’s leadership will punish risk taking if things do not work out.
9. A delegating party does not understand the complexity of the work.
1o. Boredom – no passion, no heart.
11. Working on frivolous problems (things that don’t matter to the customers or to the business objectives).
12. No agreement about a meaningful time horizon.
13. What does innovation mean? Lack of agreement about its definition.
14. Swinging for the fences.
15. Getting too clever (“why can my cell phone do everything, including take a picture, but it can’t make a simple phone call, the basics?”)