Many years ago at Procter & Gamble I convinced the senior management to allow me to have the first personal computer ever brought into the P&G Headquarters on a Brand Group. It was an Apple II running VisiCalc on my desk. A senior executive told me at the time "who knows we might have one of these on every floor one day."
I replied, "Maybe on every desk."
"Keep dreaming he said."
Dreaming about a better future is the whole ideas behind Innovation Engineering. But dreaming can be hard. So I thought I'd let Steve Jobs explain his motivation for change. It comes from his Stanford Commencement Speech. It's the motivation that drives true entrepreneurs. It's the motivation that drives the Innovation Engineering Community of 6 Universities and over 3,000 business people.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything " all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Steve Jobs – Stanford Commencement Address
Your homework this week is to think deeply about what is the right thing for you and your organization to do. THEN GET STARTED! NOW!
"¢ What would be WICKED COOL?
"¢ What would get you so excited to work on that you could hardly sleep?
"¢ To ensure a 20 year future what must you do NOW!
"¢ To change the world of your industry – what needs to be done?
- If not you? Who?
Thinking about the future DOES NOT mean being REACTIVE. It means being PROACTIVE. It means LEADING. As Dr. Deming said.
"Did customers ask for the electric light? No. They never asked for it, the producer produced it. No one asked for a car, nor a telephone. No one asked for a copy machine or a fax machine.
Innovation does not come from the customers. Innovation comes from the producer, from people who are responsible for themselves and have only themselves to satisfy."
Steve Jobs felt the same way. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: "None. It's not the consumers' job to know what they want."
In memory of Steve Jobs and the Steve Jobs everywhere I'll end with the closing from his Stanford address:
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960′s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute returns to MAINE!
We are in Freeport October 17 to 19. It's going to be a HUGE Crowd. There are a few – very few seats left. It's within a week or so of selling out. If you want to see the latest (It improves every month) visit www.InnovationEngineering.info