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Analyzing Innovation Capabilities

Executive summary

The report is focused towards identifying the aspects of innovation, the characteristics and the general ways through which innovation and creativity might be exercised. In this connection, the report analyzed the innovation based capabili8ties of Apple Inc while conducting an audit on the innovation based operations of the same. On the other hand, the report also identified different challenges that are being encountered by the organization and thereby suggested a list of recommended activities that might be implemented for ensuring the continuous growth and sustenance.


Innovation based practices are specifically adopted by the businesses with the purpose of retaining their competitive edge over the existing market players. It has been observed that most businesses face a significant challenge in developing innovation based capabilities which limits their scope of retaining their relevance and growth in the global competitive markets. The identification of the innovation based characteristics of an organization and the several concerns that are encountered by the same while implementing innovative practices helps in determining the recommended course of actions. According to Gojny-Zbierowska and Zbierowski (2021), the corporate culture and the innovation based risk taking capability of the business leaders influence a continuous innovation based activity in the businesses. In this connection, the current discussion would take the initiative of developing a clear assessment on the innovation based characteristics and capabilities of Apple Inc while suggesting different recommended activities in order to improve the line of innovativeness and creativity.


The case of Apple Inc

The chosen organization, Apple Inc, is an American multinational technology business which is headquartered in Cupertino, California. The organization was established in the year 1976 and mostly specializes in designing, developing, and selling consumer electronics goods and software development services. The continuous innovation related culture in the business has extensively contributed towards its growth and sustenance in the global markets while competing efficiently with the existing market players. The continuous development of thee business was also reliant on the customer oriented approach. The extensive customer oriented approach that led the activities of the business supported the continuous growth and development of the business while offering premium valued products and services to the customers.

The innovation audit framework on Apple

Innovation strategy: The innovation strategy of the concerned organization is specifically based on radical methods where the organization takes the initiative of developing the existing technologies and rebranding the same as new propositions in the new markets through changes in the features, design and utility of the propositions. The business also takes the initiative of devising broad differentiation as a strategic intervention towards empowering their innovativeness and growth while attracting the attention of the potential customers. The broad differentiation strategy specifically deals with the capability of the organization in improving the quality or features of their existing propositions and thereby addresses the changing needs of the customers through the positioning of new versions of the same original products. The continuous innovation related culture of the business is mostly subtle and is guided by the corporate culture. Liedtka, Salzman and Azer (2017) stated that the continuous innovation based culture in an organization with radical innovation strategies being implemented supports in improving the scope for the venture in retaining relevance in the markets. In this context, Apple Inc’s leaders have taken the initiative of inducing an innovative culture among the workforce which has significantly supported the goal of maintaining creativity standards and innovation while addressing the shifting preferences and priorities of the customers.

Idea generation: Idea Generation for every innovation is an integral part in the innovation process followed by an organization. Apple’s former leader, Steve Jobs, mostly made decisions and generated ideas on his own rather than encouraging the engagement of the stakeholders in the brainstorming processes. The organization specifically focuses towards the implementation of Abernathy and Utterback Model (1975) in order to ensure the efficiency of their innovation based process. In this connection, the business performs product innovation in the fluid stage or the introductory stage, develops services or software for the transitional phase and reduces their costs of operations for the specific phase. The attributes of Abernathy and Utterback Model (1975) being implemented in the organizational cycle enabled the business to grow and sustain in the competitive markets (Richtnér et al. 2017). As per some of the employees, who worked with the organization at the time of Jobs, they were not allowed to provide their own insights or ideas and they were expected to follow whatever Jobs decided for the business. Sharmelly (2017) stated that maximized engagement of stakeholders in the idea generation or brainstorming sessions doe not only improves their commitment to the business but also reduces the risks that might be faced by the same through the decision made by a single person. It was observed that Jobs failed to devise such an organizational culture which would actively encourage the involvement of the stakeholders in the brainstorming or idea generation sessions (Richtnér et al. 2017). However, it has been observed that Tim Cook brought about significant changes in the innovation based culture in the business model. Cook influenced and encouraged the active participation of the different stakeholders of the business sin idea generation and brain storming sessions in order to improve the quality of the ideas and the innovativeness of the business (Arocha 2017). Therefore, in the recent Apple’s scenario the active engagement of the stakeholders in the brainstorming sessions supported the business in ensuring efficiency in innovation based practices.

Selection: Selection of an idea is one of the major attributes that might be considered by the businesses and the leaders with the purpose of improving the scope of achieving sustainable edge. Mori (2017) stated that selection of the idea contemplates the innovation based capabilities of an organization while ensuring the efficiency and growth. In this connection, t6he ideas that the generated in the earlier stage are evaluated before selection. The organizational management has encouraged the stakeholders and the experts to elect ideas while providing their justifications. The election system is essential towards ensuring the providence of equal voting rights to the employees. The analysis of the castings is done in meetings while ensuring communication of the stakeholders and thereby selects the best alternative for the organizational innovation processes. The aspects are crucial towards the effective participation of the stakeholders in the different organizational processes which is believed to be supportive towards Apple Inc’s continuous growth and expansion in the field of innovation.

Implementation: The implementation of the innovation process is based on the level of collaboration and coordination between the different departments in an organization. The sustainable implementation of any innovative activity in an organization is mostly reliant on the proact6ive collaboration and coordination between the stakeholders (Sartori et al. 2018). In this connection, it has been observed that the organizational leaders successfully developed a change adapting culture within the stakeholders of the business which has contributed towards ensuring the degree of collaboration and coordination between the employees and staffs while implementing the innovation. Again, a culture of change readiness among the stakeholders is an important point of consideration that might be made by the business with the purpose of ensuring the business goals (Zhao et al. 2020). The stakeholders of Apple Inc are mostly change ready and collaborate with the other departments or stakeholders while implementing an innovation based process. Therefore, the collaborative functioning of the Apple Inc’s stakeholders, employees, staffs and suppliers has empowered the innovation based capacity of the business while encouraging continuous implementation of innovative practices.

Organization: Organization of the innovations are integral towards driving the efficiency and growth of a business while addressing the changing needs and requirements of the customers. According to Wang and Zatzick (2019), businesses take the initiative of organizing their operations while implementing the innovation based processes and later monitor and control the activities for better outcomes. In this connection, Apple Inc’s leaders have taken the initiative of devising a sustainable organizing framework with the purpose of ensuring the continuous growth and development of the innovation based practices. Sustainable reporting, inventory management and different other strategic interventions are used by the business in order to improve the context of continuous growth in the business prospects. Therefore, it has been observed that the organization devised systematic methods with the purpose of ensuring the continuous growth and development of the innovation capability while operating as per the shifting needs and preferences of the target customers.

Capability of the organization for innovation

The organization, Apple Inc, holds a positive change ready work culture in the workplace which has allowed the business in ensuring the active engagement of the stakeholders in the different transitions. According to Dolata (2017), the active participation of the stakeholders in different organizational processes supports a business in improving their scope of achieving the success factors through the transition. The organization empowers the employees and influences the same towards making considerable contributions towards idea generation and decision making aspects which has improved the commitment and participation of the stakeholders. On the other hand, it has been observed that the organization encourages the employees to think and create while providing the same with the required space and time. Tou et al. (2019) opined that businesses developing an innovation based culture among the workforce through continuous learning and development ensures the continuity of innovativeness and creativity of the business.

Therefore, in this connection, it was observed that Apple Inc provides its stakeholders specifically the employees and staffs with well coordinated learning and development programs with the purpose of upgrading their skills and knowledge on the different emerging concepts in the markets. The L&D programs that are offered by the business do not only influence knowledge in the minds of the employees but also instils a need for continuous learning in order to stand unique within the crowd. According to Prud'homme van Reine (2017), innovation capability of a business is mostly reliant on the knowledge and skills of the individuals while operating as per the strategic goals and objectives. In this connection, the objective of keeping the employees and other stakeholders updated and focused towards continuous learning has supported the agenda of the organization in improving their creativity and innovativeness.

Concerns that are being encountered by Apple

Introduction of 5G and concerns with investors: The organization has been encountering a stringent competition from that of Huawei and Samsung with their adoption of 5G networks since the year 2019. The early adoption of 5G networking services by Huawei and Samsung reduced the number of iPhone sales till the first half of the year 2020 (Tou et al. 2019). Moreover, it has been observed that the organization changed a regime of reporting to the investors stating that reports on iPhone sales would not be provided and only data on the software based services or the sales on the same would be provided. It has again created sceptical aspects in the minds of the investors while making investments on both the development of iPhones and the software services. The breach in the trust related aspects between the organization and the investors might limit the course of innovativeness and growth of the organization while addressing the shifting needs and priorities of the customers.

Trade uncertainties and the limitations: The international trade of the organization is greatly affected through the US- China trade war. It has been observed that the heavy taxations being imposed on the assembling activities in and out of China while operating with Foxconn, has significantly reduced the capability of the business in reducing the costs of the propositions (Arena et al. 2017). The trade uncertainties and increased imposition of taxation has significantly affected the sale of the Apple iPhones in the global markets. On the other hand, it has been observed that the increase in the taxations has led the business to limit their outsourcing activities to China, which has again increased cost of assembling and the development of the final propositions.

Recommended solutions

Developing and integrating efficient 5G capability in all of the devices: Developing and integrating 5G networking capability with all the existing and new models of iPhones, iPads or the like would allow the organization in gaining a competitive edge over Samsung and Huawei. Moreover, the organization must ensure continuous learning practices in order to ensure the first adaptation of the new technologies in their range of offerings. The integration of 5G services would also empower the sales volume of the propositions.

Developing alternative assembling institutions: The organization is solely reliant on the assembling their propositions from a China based enterprise named Foxconn. However, the US-China trade conflict increased the rates of taxation and excises which limited the scope of the business in reducing the cost of the propositions. Therefore, the concerned organization must take the initiative of developing collaboration with alternative assembling institutions from the emerging economies like India which would create new prospects for growth and development of the business in the global markets while avoiding the tax wars.

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Therefore, from the above assessment it might be stated that Apple has extensive innovative capabilities which has contributed towards the success factors of the business. However, there are certain concerns that are being faced by the business while being innovative in their operations. The report conducted an innovation based audit of the concerned organization, identified the concerns that are being encountered by the same and devises recommended interventions in order to support the organization in overcoming the challenges.


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Arocha, J.B., 2017. Getting to the Core: A Case Study on the Company Culture of Apple Inc

Doğru, Ç., 2021. Fostering Innovation in Organizations with the Help of Novel Management Strategies. In Strategic Outlook in Business and Finance Innovation: Multidimensional Policies for Emerging Economies. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Dolata, U., 2017. Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft: Market concentration-competition-innovation strategies (No. 2017-01). SOI Discussion Paper.

Gojny-Zbierowska, M. and Zbierowski, P., 2021. Improvisation as Responsible Innovation in Organizations. Sustainability, 13(4), p.1597.

Liedtka, J., Salzman, R. and Azer, D., 2017. Democratizing innovation in organizations: teaching design thinking to non‐designers. Design Management Review, 28(3), pp.49-55.

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Prud'homme van Reine, P., 2017. The culture of design thinking for innovation. Journal of Innovation Management, 5(2), pp.56-80.

Richtnér, A., Brattström, A., Frishammar, J., Björk, J. and Magnusson, M., 2017. Creating better innovation measurement practices. MIT Sloan Management Review, 59(1), p.45.

Sartori, R., Costantini, A., Ceschi, A. and Tommasi, F., 2018. How do you manage change in organizations? Training, development, innovation, and their relationships. Frontiers in psychology, 9, p.313.

Sharmelly, R., 2017. Crafting a winning innovation strategy. Strategic Direction.

Tou, Y., Watanabe, C., Moriya, K., Vurpillat, V. and Neittaanmäki, P., 2019. A new concept of R&D in neo open innovation: transformation of R&D triggered by Amazon. International Journal of Managing Information Technology, 11(1).

Wang, T. and Zatzick, C.D., 2019. Human capital acquisition and organizational innovation: A temporal perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 62(1), pp.99-116.

Zhao, S., Jiang, Y., Peng, X. and Hong, J., 2020. Knowledge sharing direction and innovation performance in organizations. European Journal of Innovation Management.

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