Think Different like Steve Jobs

by Innovation Excellence

What can you learn from Steve Jobs? How could you change your world? … Peter Fisk explores how to think different about leadership and innovation inspired by Apple and its founder.

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  1. There are a great deal of misunderstandings between what constitutes great intelligent minds and great creative minds. For apparently if one understates in-depth research, high intelligence appears to block great creativity actually happening and where the two are on two distinct and different plains. In this respect and although I have known for many years, it is only through recent research that is now on a scientific footing that great intelligence does not lead or equate to great discoveries being made. Indeed the opposite is the case according to the history of S&T. In this respect intelligence and creativity are two separate entities and both are completely different. In this respect someone can have high intelligence but will never come up with something that will revolutionise the world in technological terms. Indeed the best scholastic people at university with their ivy league degrees do not generally produce through their fundamental thinking, the technologies of the future; far from it. Therefore we have to start and think differently about people and to put them into different classifications of high intelligence and high creativity. If we did this we would soon start to realise that the intelligent people are secondary to advance the world’s long-term sustainability outcomes. Unfortunately those running the show are in the main highly intelligent beings and the reason why the world is failing in providing the right economic systems to guarantee the human experience being preserved past this current century. For it is highly debateable that this will be the case with the present mindsets who run government and global business. Considering that our very existence is on the line here things simply have to change for all our good, as intelligence will not do this and where great creativity, insight and intuition are the vital factors in individuals that we need to drive humanity’s future global system forward. We can see the failures of our present mechanisms with the collapse of the global financial systems as just one example, where these bankers were considered to be of the highest intelligence possible with their Ivy League education. What they totally lacked was creativity in developing new financial systems that enhanced the status quo at the time and prevented the catastrophic failure of global monetary system. This was something that they clearly were not capable of doing, as they have little in the way of creative thinking, only high intelligence. Indeed things have not changed as the high intelligent people still run our financial systems and where eventually because they have not the right thinking, the system will collapse again. The question is, are we so stupid to allow these intelligent bankers to do this again. Apparently we are.

    There is an old adage also that is applicable with creativity, keep it simple. Therefore the dire problem may very well lie at the feet of people trying too hard and being too complex in their thinking – being too intelligent?

    In this respect many of the world’s leading inventions were created from no more than their basic knowledge, intuition and bits of stuff near to hand. Baird with the TV and Kilby with the ‘chip’ are prime examples. The latter invention now underpinning a global industry turning over around $2 trillion a year that did not exist 50 years ago. Another is the modern invention of the Finite Element Method (The FEM) invented by the late Prof. John Argyris and ceded to him by the US’s most eminent structural engineer Prof. Ray Clough in his 1960 publication where he ‘coined’ the phrase the ‘Finite Element Method’ and stated that it was the ‘Argyris Method’. When Argyris first came up with the FEM no-one believed him because it was so simple and only had a limited number of nodes to calculate a solution from. Everyone said that it could not possibly be correct as it was so simple. It took a PhD mathematics thesis to prove that Argyris was right.

    The FEM is now the world’s most advanced mathematical engineering design tool and no engineering practice or engineer worth their salt would be without it.

    So the answer to many of our future problems and technologies may very well be there but where people are looking at things in a far too complex way. Indeed a new mind on the subject is usually what counts and where they can see further than all others that have gone before them. Unfortunately the US and all western economies have not learnt as yet what the golden key is to unleash the next phase of economic dynamism when it is constantly looking at them in the face. But where it has to be said that the first nation that realises this will be astounded like people were about Argryis’s world-changing invention and would over a relatively short period of time, become the richest nation per capita in the world. For great fundamental thinking according to history if in-depth research is undertaken, does not come from our universities or advanced centres of corporate R&D but from other sources. A prime example of this is in modern times is the WWW where Berners-Lee created this phenomenon by himself and where CERN had no part in the unleashing of the WWW on the world-at-large whatsoever. In this respect Berners-Lee was as a ‘freelancer’ at the time working for CERN on a 6 month employment contract and could have been working for anyone at the time when he launched the WWW after years of private creative thinking and life-changing research. But strangely it has to be stated, when you ask people they seem to think that CERN invented the WWW. Indeed if Berners-Lee had made it all his own as he could have done and charged every person on the planet every time they used the WWW at a rate of 5cents a time, his wealth would dwarf the richest person in the word by at least a factor of ten – and even possible where he could have become the world’s first Trillionaire. Good for him I say and a pointer to all others that the accumulation of personal vast wealth is not the main thing that humans were born for. More important I would say to create a great deal of good in the world that Berners-Lee has done, dispensing with of course what a few have spawned with the bad things on the web.

    I just wish that people would research into the ‘real’ basis of technologies at times and where especially governments could do with a dose of this for their own long-term good. In this respect things will not happen that can change the world for the better with the current thinking I am afraid to say – and so-called high intelligent thinking at that.

    Dr David Hill
    World Innovation Foundation

  2. When I received a technical recruiter’s call asking for “Steve Jobs,” and my then correcting the caller by telling him that he reached the wrong person or number, it made me then think: Was he mocking me or paying me a compliment for my innate and learned talents? Dare to be different [but remain yourself in doing so]!

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