Admittedly, what comes to mind when I think of Apple is the former head honcho, Steve Jobs. But then again, who doesn’t? As creative and innovative as Jobs was, there are many powerful brains that contribute to the success that Apple has had over the years. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy contributors is Scott Forstall: Senior Vice President, iOS Software.
Before joining Apple, the Stanford grad worked at an American computer company called NeXT, Inc. where he developed core technologies. In 1997, Forstall joined the Apple team when Apple purchased NeXT. Today, Scott Forstall is the Senior Vice President of iPhone software at Apple. Bloomberg Businessweek, in an article published in October 2011, named Forstall as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice at Apple. Undoubtedly, Forstall has transitioned from once being a behind the scenes computer science genius to a much more visible member of Apple’s leadership team, particularly after the death of CEO Steve Jobs. Not only is Forstall responsible for Apple’s mobile software division, which accounts for 70% of Apple’s revenues, but he is also the youngest senior executive at Apple. Pretty remarkable, don’t you think?
Fast Company certainly seemed to agree, as they listed Scott Forstall as number two on their 2011 list of “The 100 most creative people in business.” In today’s world, Apple is known for their cutting edge innovations. The company’s slogan, “think different” certainly describes the business model well. Without a doubt, Apple’s success can be attributed to the company’s ability to innovate products that are not demanded by consumers. This is not saying that these consumers don’t want Apple’s technologies, but rather that they don’t know they want them…yet. According to an Outside Innovation article, Jonathan Seybold praises both Apple’s ability to look at where technology is going and the ability to innovate a new product that is not only better than an existing product, but one that is much different. Not to mention, Apple is always a step or two ahead of the competition.
Over the past few weeks we’ve spoken a lot about the stakeholder theory and what responsibility a company has to its stakeholders. It’s clear Apple’s identifies its stakeholders as Edward Freeman believes a company should. Freeman believes that business must figure out how to create value for their customers, rather than solely focus on maximizing profits. Apple operates by constantly innovating and creating value for their customers. Although customers cannot imagine all of the new possibilities of products, Apple nevertheless spends each day finding ways to make their existing products better. Steve Jobs once said, “we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and ask: What do we want?”
Undoubtedly, Apple has created a powerful brand by never being complacent and always working to improve their existing products. By putting themselves in the customer’s shoes, Apple has innovated products consumers never even imagined they could want. Companies who struggle to create value should look up to Apple. While not everyone on the Apple team can be recognized for their pivotal role in value creation, I’m very pleased that Scott Forstall had the opportunity to gain recognition for all of his hard work and dedication to the company.