Can innovative companies survive without their gurus?
Many successful companies have innovative masterminds at the wheel. In order to find out how important they are, we asked people which company they thought was the most innovative: Apple, Amazon, Tesla or others? A mere three percent of voters, only one person, voted for Apple. It’s a far cry from the years when Steve Jobs was named CNBC’s most innovative and transformative business leader of the past 25 years in 2014. Was his death that disruptive to the company?
Jobs died three years before topping the First 25 list and will always be remembered as a true visionary. He single-handedly saved Apple from the brink of bankruptcy and transformed the company into a market leader and innovative powerhouse. Moreover, by launching iconic products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad Jobs changed the world an how we experience it. All that progress seems to have ground to a halt ever since Jobs is no longer with us. Granted, people still camp out at the Apple Store to get their hands on the newest iPhone, but het brand has become a household name, catering to the masses instead of unleashing revolution.
Are cutting-edge companies really that dependent on the driving force of their gurus? The case of Apple painfully illustrates how a single person can make and break a company. Companies should therefore ask themselves how to keep a high level of innovation, even when their creative leaders leave or pass away. In order to do that, innovation has to be an integral part of the company’s DNA. By fostering a culture of innovation, embracing potential failure and thinking big, they will be able to bounce back when they are left on their own.
According to the poll, Tesla is currently considered to be the most innovative company. How would the company deal if Elon Musk were to leave tomorrow?
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