My Favorite Steve Jobs Quotes on Innovation and Creativity

In my continuing homage to the life and impact of Steve Jobs, here are my favorite quotes on the subject of innovation and creativity. If you missed part one of my favorite quotes on life and work, click here. Enjoy!

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

“Part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, and poets, and artists, and zoologists, and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”

“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do.”

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“Picasso had a saying: ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

“The system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient.
But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.”

“Look at the design of a lot of consumer products—they’re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.”

“Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.”

In light of what you just read, what will you do differently today?

To your accelerated success!

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