Innovation is a fundamental skill for a PhD, an important part of being a good technician and helping the PhD to design experiments that yield precise results. In order to get a PhD degree, however, one has to have new ideas and new findings in a specific field. Yes, we know how to analyze, and we are innovation leaders, but critical thinking and innovation in industry during this post-recession period may be quite different from the way we have been educated in our academic training.
Along with globalization, critical thinking and innovation will define which companies match (and beat) the most powerful competitors, develop the most revolutionary products, and attract the most loyal customers. It is well known that IBM’s slogan is “Think.” That helps IBM stand strong as a world class company, but one of the greatest companies who have thrived in the most challenging time of the U.S. economy is — Apple. Their slogan is “Think Different.”
Yes, when it comes to innovation, Apple CEO Steve Job is legendary. His company slogan “Think Different” is more than a marketing tool. It is a way of life – a powerful, positive, game –changing Apples approach to innovation so that the company can enter a variety of new markets. A great book written by the bestselling business journalist Carmine Gallo called: “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” is very worth reading. Why? Because Gallo has interviewed hundreds of successful professionals (from CEOs, managers, and entrepreneurs to teachers, consultants, and stay-at-home moms) to get the core of Steve Job’s innovative philosophies. These are the simple, meaningful, and attainable principles that drive us all to “Think Different.” Here are the Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs:
1. Do What You Love – Think differently about your career.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Passions are irresistible. If you’re paying attention to your life at all, the things you are passionate about won’t leave you alone. They’re the ideas, hopes, and possibilities your mind naturally gravitates to, the things you would focus your time and attention on for no other reason than that doing them feels right.”
2. Put a Dent in the Universe – Think different about your vision.
“We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make “me-too” products. For us, it’s always the next dream. Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.”
3. Kick Start Your Brain – Think differently about your thinking.
Creativity is just connecting things. Imagination is more important than knowledge.
4. Sell Dreams, Not Products – Think differently about your customers
“We, too, are going to think differently and serve the people who have been buying our products since the beginning. Because a lot of times people think they’re crazy, but in that craziness we see genius. The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
5. Say No to 1,000 Things – Think differently about design.
“I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do. A great piece of art is composed not just of what is in the final piece, but equally important, what is not.”
6. Create Insanely Great Experiences – Think differently about your brand experience.
“People don’t want to just buy personal computers anymore. They want to know what they can do with them, and we’re going to show people exactly that. Enriching lives, that’s what Apple has been doing for thirty plus years. We’re here to help you grow. If you think about what makes customers and employees happy, in today’s world that ends up being good for business.”
7. Master the Message – Think differently about your story.
“You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog shit for frosting. () Steve Jobs is the world’s greatest corporate storyteller. He is the ultimate showman who keeps the audience excited the whole way leading up to the reveal. Ideas are not really alive if they are confined only to a person’s mind.”
Finally, PhDs, we think we know how to think? Think again. And, think differently. Unlock your creative potential and foster an environment that encourages innovation and allows it to flourish. You will be most valuable to your employers and have a most successful industry career ahead.