When we profiled Apple shortly after Jobs passing and on the publication of a beautifully researched biography, our rating placed Apple well above our top level benchmark – the BofB – the Best of Breed. Thus its ratings exceeded a collage of our research into the management practices of 3M, P&G and John Deere. Apple had the highest ratings we have ever encountered.
It is becoming evident that Apple under Jobs may well have been an aberration in the annals of innovation. It may be that the combination of Jobs’ ability to integrate ideas into a business model, his obstinacy, his quirky management practices, and his deep knowledge of the technology in the business, was unique. It is hard to identify any CEO with the same combination of characteristics. Lessons learned; don’t look for just one characteristic when looking for innovation capacity, look at the combination of factors! The same factors are not always in play.