I agree with Steve Jobs’ statement on customer feedback driving product development. From a business standpoint, it is a company’s responsibility to be innovative, and create new products that meet needs of their customers. Like many Apple products, new innovations may meet needs the customer didn’t know they had. If the customer were left to choose for themselves, we would most likely see upgrades of products that already exist, and innovation would not occur. Apple in particular has a long history of making industry-wide changes by looking beyond current customer demand and creating products that far exceeded customer expectations.
From an innovation standpoint, progress would be hindered if companies simply built the products customers asked for. Causes for this would be a lack of expertise from the customer base and a lack of innovative vision for the future of the company. For the first, the ability must coincide with the desire to create new things. As Lohr defines the difference between elenctic and entelechy, he states that , “the difference between a process and its results can be quite important, because the conditions of a previous creation and of a later application may be fairly different (p. 38).” A customer can reasonably envision the results, but many would be incapable of understanding the process required to accomplish the end-state.
Lohr suggests that science may appear to be noble and easy but requires education. A company must invest its time and resources in its employees and processes to promote innovation and overcome the challenges of developing a product for market. Additionally, the development process is slow and innovative companies must be looking ahead even before current project is complete. The patent process alone takes the US Patent and Trademark Office on average 23 months in the U.S. from submission to the patent being awarded (National Science Foundation, 2013). This process requires an innovative company to anticipate the future needs of its customers and further supports Jobs’ position.
Lohr, K. (2016). The Science of Innovation: A Comprehensive Approach for Innovation Management (De Gruyter Textbook) (Digital original ed.). Walter de Gruyter.
National Science Foundation. (2013). What is Innovation? – Science of Innovation. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR83B1UuzCY
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