Perspectives

Insight Led Innovation at Apple

When an innovation superstar releases the eighth iteration of it’s flagship product, with only incremental improvements, you have to ask if they are still really innovative. This month, Apple proved that they are still the masters of innovation, with a launch that you may not have even noticed.
When an innovation superstar releases the eighth iteration of it’s flagship product, with only incremental improvements, you have to ask if they are still really innovative. This month, Apple proved that they are still the masters of innovation, with a launch that you may not have even noticed.
This is an article about Apple and innovation. But we won’t be talking about new hardware or software. Innovations are not just about applying new technology, but also about responding to changing consumer trends. For over a decade, Apple has not just been ahead of the consumer curve, but drawing it! This month, we think the company is re-drawing the curve yet again.

In May 2017, Apple launched a new innovation called Today at Apple. This is an ongoing series, in every Apple Store, of events as diverse as coding workshops and live music.

This programme seems, at first glance, like nothing more than a tweak to the bricks and mortar retail stores that have helped Apple to become an iconic brand. However, dig a little deeper into the company’s motivations for the change, and we think it’s a brilliant innovation.

Sparking possibility and opportunity

We at The Innovation Beehive are obsessed with insight. Insight is the foundation of our Consulting projects. Deep insight into the needs of the end-user is what transforms mere creativity into ground-breaking innovation. Today at Apple is rooted in insight. Angela Ahrendts, SVP Retail at Apple explains in a recent LinkedIn post:

At Apple, we believe that people with passion can change the world. In an era of social everything, we want to spark possibility and opportunity in the creative arts, in real life, person to person.

What are the insights here?

  1. Apple has recognised that a big chunk of it’s target audience, Millennials and Generation Zers, are purpose driven, so would buy-in to initiatives that ‘can change the world’
  2. Apple has also caught the trend that, increasingly, people are looking for ways to interact on a more human level, (e.g. ‘switch off social media‘ movements). Today at Apple brings people together physical around technology
  3. Also, Apple have identified increasing trends towards self-employment and gig economics, which it hopes to tap into by becoming the go-to place for digital training and inspiration
A clear innovation value proposition

Innovation is creativity that brings value.

A number of tech-watch sites (e.g. CNet and Forbes) have hailed this new innovation from Apple, and tried to understand how it might be monetised. Our best guess is that the value will come from integration into their existing customer value proposition.

The three insights we’ve identified make the case for Today at Apple a compelling one. However, couple this with their growing subscription business models (Apple Music, iCloud etc), which have seen an 18% rise in revenue this year, and the idea makes enormous sense. Subscription locks people into the Apple ecosystem (even more so than connectivity between devices). The added learning and experiential value offered by Today at Apple is sure to increase the attractiveness of the Apple proposition.

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