MNGT3016 Innovation And Entrepreneurial Strategy

MNGT3016 Innovation And Entrepreneurial Strategy

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MNGT3016 Innovation And Entrepreneurial Strategy

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MNGT3016 Innovation And Entrepreneurial Strategy

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Course Code: MNGT3016
University: The University Of Newcastle is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia


Evaluate different dimentions and features of the product/ service and provide an assessment of the innovation and its impact on business and society.


In the present day and age, it is of utmost importance for organizations to devise innovative strategies that would offer them a competitive edge in the industry. As such, it can be said that Apple, which had been founded by Steve Jobs, is one of the most innovative companies in the world today (Pisano, 2015). The company’s signature product, the iPhone, remains one of the most prominent innovations even today since it completely revolutionized the way people communicate with each other (Abraham, 2013). A few years ago, Apple incorporated a brand new innovation into its business strategy, that of design thinking (Kolko, 2015). Apple and its innovative design thinking was chosen as the subject for this case study because without design thinking, the company would have failed to reach the heights it has today (Nylén & Holmström, 2015).
Detailed overview of chosen innovation
The innovation chosen for the report is design thinking, which has been implemented by Apple. This is a solution and goal oriented innovative business process that pays due attention to customer demands and needs (Johansson?Sköldberg, Woodilla & Çetinkaya, 2013). It can also be defined as a human centered approach which integrates consumer needs, the myriad opportunities that technological advancement offers and the requirements of the business itself (Seidel & Fixson, 2013). Certain concepts of innovation must be applied here, for instance the type of innovation. This innovation is an example of process innovation. Process innovations like design thinking mostly focus on the internal aspects of the business and strive to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the internal organization structure and operations. Such innovative processes would further facilitate the process of production and the delivery of the end product to the customers, thus increasing customer satisfaction (Serrat, 2017). Design thinking may also be defined as one of the most important radical innovations in the field of technology (Dalsgaard, 2014). Radical innovation refers to a completely new or novel idea that would alter the infrastructure of the market. This particular innovation can be defined as a combination of technology push and demand pull. This is largely because design thinking does not simply foster in technological advancements, it also caters to the evolving needs and demands of the customers.
Design thinking is essentially a technique used by developers which would facilitate ideation and consequent development of a product or service. It is an iterative design which consists of five basic steps, namely empathize, define, ideate, prototype and finally test (Calgren et al., 2016). The main purpose of this process is to gain insight into what customers want or expect from the brand (Calgren, 2013). The first step in the design thinking process of Apple is understanding customer needs and designing products accordingly (Liedtka, 2014). For instance, the application of design thinking has made Apple products all the more interactive in nature. They emphasize on the minutest of details, which ensures that their designs are not only simple, but also have an emotional appeal.
Evaluation of innovative design thinking process by Apple
Analysis of the steps involved in the process
There are five steps as part of the design thinking process as used by Apple (Fischer, 2015). They can be explained as the following:

Empathize – The innovation leaders at Apple attempt to gain an understanding of the consumer needs by empathizing with their situation. They shed light on a problem that requires a solution and this can be done through market research (Stephens & Boland, 2015).
Define – In this stage, the data and information that has been gathered from user and market research will have to be combined to define the need of the customer. The core problems of the customer will have to be identified and synthesized with the observations made in the first step.
Ideate – In this step, the innovative leaders begin to brainstorm and generate ideas which would present a solution to the customer needs. During this stage, the innovators are encouraged to think out of the mainstream and the traditional and come up with ideas and concepts that are novel and have not been thought of before (Chen & Venkatesh, 2013).
Prototype – As the name suggests, in this phase an inexpensive and a much more toned down version of the idea will have to be manufactured and presented to the public. This would give an idea of the features of the product and how exactly it would solve the problems of the target audience or why they need it (Lammi & Becker, 2013).
Test – In the final step, the product manufactured would have to be tested and evaluated. Its effectiveness and efficiency would have to be analyzed and strengths and weaknesses would have to be highlighted. Room for improvement will also have to be identified so that product designers can work on them.

Strengths and weaknesses of the innovative process

User desirability is one of the major benefits of this innovative process. Application of design thinking would enable Apple to come up with minimalistic, sophisticated, simple yet innovative products which cater to solve some of the everyday problems faced by the Apple customers.
Market viability is another benefit of design thinking. Apple, as mentioned earlier, faces tough competition from other international brands like Samsung or Sony. These brands too offer similar products using state of the art technology. However, the fact that Apple designs its products based on customer needs gives them a competitive advantage over other brands.
Apple’s innovative team is based on diversity and people belonging to different backgrounds and cultures are a part of it. This ensures that a plethora of ideas are brought to the table (Leinonen & Durall-Gazulla, 2014).
Design thinking is entirely based on a principle of testing and evaluation. Apple has a dedicated team of individuals who are responsible for testing and assessing the performance of the Apple products before it reaches the customer. At every step of the manufacturing process, the products are tested to reveal any weaknesses and highlight room for improvement.
The process of design thinking is not simply for the sake of creativity and innovation. It also adds value and simultaneously solves the problems of the customers (Collins, 2013).


When the process of design thinking was first introduced to the general public, it lacked a clear and well defined vision. As is the case with most innovations, it was accompanied by an inefficient and badly structured process which hindered the process of growth and also evolution of business.
The process of design thinking is entirely based on innovation and hence to a certain extent on ideology. This makes it potentially difficult to convert to reality. It can be quite challenging to convert the customer centric design process into concrete reality that would be efficient and appealing to the target audience.
Another major challenge that Apple faces is the process of perfecting the prototype. It is expected that the prototype is going to be imperfect with a number of flaws. However, it can be quite complicated to incorporate new changes and technologies to the prototype to perfect the final product.

Impact of design thinking as an innovative strategy
One of the most important impacts that design thinking has had on Apple is with respect to business development. According to Charles, Schmidheiny and Watts (2017), business development refers to the way businesses and companies like Apple grow and flourish in the market. The innovative new process of design thinking is one that helps in building companies and also creating products. This is because design thinking as a concept is not restricted to one methodology or principle. It has broad horizons and extends over numerous disciplines within the organization.
Moreover, design thinking as an innovative strategy can be called a competency enhancing strategy. Design thinking would enable Apple to come up with unique products which cater to the exact demands of the customer. This would set the brand apart from other companies in the same industry. Apple has successfully been able to devise products and services which have enhanced customer satisfaction rates, resulting in retention of loyal customers. This can be considered as a success factor of the innovative strategy. It can be called a component innovation because it alters parts of the business operations while simultaneously preserving the overall operation or structure of the business.
The implementation of design thinking had a tremendous impact on the revenue outcome and overall operations of the company. Since its implementation, the company registered a growth of more than 20 %. Gruber et al., (2015) claimed that implementation of design thinking would have an impact on the overall economy and the society it caters to. In the case of Apple, it has increased team efficiency, return on investment and has also improved the speed of delivery to market. Apple has also been able to meet the demands of the modern customers and has enlarged the scale on which it operates. It does not simply deliver products to the customers, but also alters and enhances the lives of the customers they cater to. It can be said that the design thinking strategy had a discontinuous impact on the business. discontinuous effect may be explained as the greater degree of competitiveness that can be achieved over a shorter period of time. The concept was so revolutionary in nature that it altered the market and reshaped the competition that Apple faces. Yet, the effect lasted for a period of a few years and affected a major portion of the market. Market diffusion refers to the speed at which an innovation strategy is adopted by an organization (Stummer et al., 2015). Design thinking was adopted by Apple in the late 1990s and was quickly implemented as part of its strategy. The market diffusion rate of design thinking at Apple was quite high, given the urgency of the situation. The factors affecting its success were the perceived benefits, the convenience it offered to the clients and the company, the immediacy of the benefits, the costs involved and the return on investment.
Recommendations for Apple’s design thinking

Apple needs to clearly define its mission and vision with respect to innovation. All the members of the innovative team need to be aware of and aligned to the vision, which would help them in developing the product in the long run.
Apple needs to make full use of user experience maps while implementing design thinking. The whole purpose of design thinking in the first place is to get better insights into consumer needs. That can be made possible through user experience maps. These maps would chalk out the journey of the customer experience at every step. This would help Apple understand how the customer views of feels before, during and after the purchase of an Apple product.
Divergent thinking is another aspect of design thinking which ensures that every internal stakeholder in the organization is involved in the project (Lewis & Lovatt, 2013). Apple certainly has a team of creative programmers and designers. However, other members of the organization might have some groundbreaking ideas which need to be explored. During such brainstorming sessions, time limits should be set. For instance, short intervals of ten minutes should be decided upon. This is because the more time people get, the more polished and less creative their ideas will be.
Rapid prototyping is another concept that Apple should try while using design thinking. It is obvious that when the company first conceives of an innovative new product, there are bound to be flaws and glitches. The key is to develop prototypes and do so rapidly. Each prototype should be an improved version of the previous model and should be one step closer to solving the problem of the customer. For example, 3D printing is one of the most common ways of implementing rapid prototyping since it is comparatively cheaper than developing the actual product (Macdonald et al., 2014)
Apart from design thinking, creative intelligence or CQ is another new concept that Apple should consider. The concept is still in the initial and is expected to be the future of design thinking, or even a substitute for it in the future. Creative intelligence refers to the ability of individuals to step beyond the existing or the conventional and adopt novel means of solving problems or addressing issues (Ambrose & Sternberg, 2016).

To conclude, it can be said that Apple is undoubtedly one of the most innovative companies in the world today. It has attained this position on accounts of innovation strategies and effective management of innovation. One of the most important innovative strategies implemented by Apple would be that of design thinking, which is a structured and customer centric process. This is an intuitive process that gains insight into the minds of the customer and incorporates the same into the business operations. The report is a case study of the innovative process of Apple and presents a brief overview of the same. A critical analysis and evaluation of the design thinking process has also been presented with adequate recommendations for its betterment in the future.
Abraham, S. (2013). Will business model innovation replace strategic analysis?. Strategy & Leadership, 41(2), 31-38.
Ambrose, D., & Sternberg, R. J. (Eds.). (2016). Creative intelligence in the 21st century: Grappling with enormous problems and huge opportunities (Vol. 11). Springer.
Carlgren, L. (2013). Design thinking as an enabler of innovation: Exploring the concept and its relation to building innovation capabilities. Chalmers University of Technology.
Carlgren, L., Rauth, I., & Elmquist, M. (2016). Framing design thinking: The concept in idea and enactment. Creativity and Innovation Management, 25(1), 38-57.
Charles Jr, O. H., Schmidheiny, S., & Watts, P. (2017). Walking the talk: The business case for sustainable development. Routledge.
Chen, S., & Venkatesh, A. (2013). An investigation of how design-oriented organisations implement design thinking. Journal of Marketing Management, 29(15-16), 1680-1700.
Collins, H. (2013). Can design thinking still add value?. Design Management Review, 24(2), 35-39.
Dalsgaard, P. (2014). Pragmatism and Design Thinking. International Journal of design, 8(1).
Fischer, M. (2015). Design it! Solving sustainability problems by applying design thinking. GAIA-Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 24(3), 174-178.
Gruber, M., De Leon, N., George, G. & Thompson, P., (2015). Managing by design. Academy of Management Journal, 58(1), pp.1-7.
Johansson?Sköldberg, U., Woodilla, J., & Çetinkaya, M. (2013). Design thinking: past, present and possible futures. Creativity and innovation management, 22(2), 121-146.
Kolko, J. (2015). Design thinking comes of age.
Lammi, M., & Becker, K. (2013). Engineering Design Thinking. Journal of Technology Education, 24(2), 55-77.
Leinonen, T., & Durall-Gazulla, E. (2014). Design thinking and collaborative learning. Comunicar, 21(42).
Lewis, C., & Lovatt, P. J. (2013). Breaking away from set patterns of thinking: Improvisation and divergent thinking. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 9, 46-58.
Liedtka, J. (2014). Innovative ways companies are using design thinking. Strategy & Leadership, 42(2), 40-45.
Macdonald, E., Salas, R., Espalin, D., Perez, M., Aguilera, E., Muse, D., & Wicker, R. B. (2014). 3D printing for the rapid prototyping of structural electronics. IEEE access, 2, 234-242.
Nylén, D., & Holmström, J. (2015). Digital innovation strategy: A framework for diagnosing and improving digital product and service innovation. Business Horizons, 58(1), 57-67.
Pisano, G. P. (2015). You need an innovation strategy. Harvard Business Review, 93(6), 44-54.
Seidel, V. P., & Fixson, S. K. (2013). Adopting design thinking in novice multidisciplinary teams: The application and limits of design methods and reflexive practices. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30, 19-33.
Serrat, O. (2017). Design thinking. In Knowledge Solutions(pp. 129-134). Springer, Singapore.
Stephens, J. P., & Boland, B. J. (2015). The aesthetic knowledge problem of problem-solving with design thinking. Journal of Management Inquiry, 24(3), 219-232.
Stummer, C., Kiesling, E., Günther, M., & Vetschera, R. (2015). Innovation diffusion of repeat purchase products in a competitive market: an agent-based simulation approach. European Journal of Operational Research, 245(1), 157-167.

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