Innovation at Apple

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR396 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500 ;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Innovation / Strategy/ Leadership
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2006-2011
Pub Date : 2011
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Apple, Inc.
Industry : Computers; Consumer Electronics
Countries : Global; US; Europe


This case study is about innovation at Apple Inc. (Apple), one of the most valuable companies in the world in terms of market capitalization. Apple led the global technology market by developing innovative products such as the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad which redefined their respective markets. The case discusses Apple's approach to innovation which was driven by a passion for creating breakthrough products. Innovation was part of Apple's corporate DNA. Experts said that Apple was innovative because of its ability to iterate designs, devices, and functionality and create products that became a benchmark for customer experience.The case discusses Apple's founder Steve Jobs (Jobs) role as the chief innovator of the company.

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Jobs fostered a culture of secrecy at Apple and inspired employees to come out with path-breaking products by thinking differently. According to experts, it was Jobs's vision of developing 'insanely great' products that had made Apple an icon of innovation. However, his death led to speculations whether Apple would continue to innovate and lead the industry. One of the biggest challenges facing Apple was to launch some ground-breaking products in the future and exceed customer expectations. This case is designed for MBA/MS level students, and is intended to be a part of their General Management/ Strategic Management curriculum.


Study Apple's innovation strategy
Analyze the key factors which have contributed to the creation of a unique culture focused on innovation and creativity at Apple
Evaluate the strategies adopted by Jobs to foster a culture of innovation at Apple
Understand the relationship between culture and innovation
Discuss and debate whether Apple can continue to innovate and stay ahead of the competition without its founder Steve Jobs
Explore strategies that the company can follow to maintain its focus on innovation.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 1
Apple's Approach to Innovation 4
Product Innovation 5
Innovation in Customer Experience 6
Innovation Leadership 7
Where's Apple Headed 8
Exhibits 10


Innovation, Innovation strategy, Disruptive innovation, Game-changing innovations, Creativity, Culture of innovation, Leadership, Product innovation, Customer experience, Customer centric, Steve Jobs, Strategic inflexion points, design and functionality, Apple, Master Innovator, Mater Marketer, Succession Planning, Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad

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