Apple, Tesla, & Disney, among others, what do they have in common? Steve Jobs described it as follows, “… technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”. Bob Iger originally identified it in Pixar—which oddly enough was owned by Steve Jobs, but had their own culture prior to his acquisition—“This yin and yang was the soul of Pixar”. The yin and yang to which Iger was referring was creative pushing engineering and engineering developing tools that enabled greater creativity and more realism. And Tesla is the ultimate grafting of sleekness of design to a modern battery-driven vehicle.
Today’s corporate giants are a balance of creative thinking coupled, and powered by, the most innovative technology. Tomorrow’s leaders will embrace this way of thinking and imbue their business with it making it foundation for how they operate. Bob Iger transformed Disney in his fourteen years by beating the innovator’s dilemma—the Kobayashi Maru, the no-win situation. He took a public company and convinced the board and shareholders that cannibalizing their current income streams to survive was imperative and then made creating quality content and leveraging the best of modern technology two of his three key priorities. The result is that technology and creativity are now infused in the soul of Disney.
It’s not enough to be a good widget manufacturer any longer. Widget manufacturers are too quickly commoditized within the market. Years ago it could take decades for a widget manufacturer to catch up to the leader with their advancements and deliver the so-called “better mousetrap”. Today, with 3-D printing and globalization it takes weeks to deliver a prototype and months to get into production.
If the widgets are not delivered in a way that is digestible by the market, if they aren’t accompanied by a creative packaging, it is likely that the technology alone will not be as widely-adopted as when formulated by a business that has both a strong technology muscle and creative design that push each other to produce the best.
Tomorrow’s products and services need to be true extensions of the human experience. Not an orthogonal component that must be painstakingly integrated. This is where the magic happens. This is where scale occurs. Once you see the pattern at work, it’s difficult to ignore its power.