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Psychologists Pamela Smith, Ap Dijksterhuis and Daniël Wigboldus of Radboud University Nijmegen stimulated feelings of powerlessness or power in a group of volunteers by having some volunteers recall a situation when other people had power over them and other volunteers recall a situation when they had power over other people. Then they were given a complicated problem to solve (they had to pick among four cars, each varying on 12 different attributes).
The experiment was designed so that there was a "correct" solution—that is, one of the cars had the most positive and least negative attributes, although the optimal choice was not obvious. Both the "powerful" and the "powerless" volunteers chose among the cars, but some spent time consciously thinking about the problem, while others were distracted with a word puzzle.
Previous research has shown that most people can solve complex problems better if they engage in unconscious thinking, rather than try to deliberately examine and weigh each factor. The conscious mind is not able to consider every possibility—attempts to do so bog the mind down in too much detail. Unconscious thinkers are better at solving complicated problems because they are able to think abstractly and very quickly get to the gist of the problem—they do not spend a lot of time focusing on insignificant details of the problem.
The results showed that the "powerless" volunteers performed better when they were distracted—that is, when they unconsciously thought about the problem. More interestingly, the "powerful" participants performed equally well regardless of whether they were in the conscious thinking or unconscious thinking group.
These findings indicate that powerful people's conscious deliberation is very much like the unconscious processing of the rest of us—more abstract and better when it comes to complex decisions."
A creative interpretation of the solar system. (Not at all to scale.)
Artwork made by artist "John Doe," from London, UK. He says the material is created using stencil, brush and spatter technique. You can support his artwork and buy high quality prints here: http://www.behance.net/gallery/miss-universe-screen-prints/2055340
This is the response I sent him:
I don't hate Apple, Kyle,
Until this summer, I primarily used Apple products and had done so for years.
I expect more from Apple, and the leadership fails to meet those expectations.
Why do you ignore Apple's shortcomings, fail to see that the company works against innovation by trying to stop competition? Apple is a chronic copier -- taking the ideas of others and trying (and often succeeding) to make them better. Apple didn't invent the smartphone. Nokia did. Apple didn't invent the technologies essential to cellular communications -- these came from companies like Motorola (which invented the cell phone, not Apple) and Samsung.
If Samsung is so bad, by the way, why did Apple choose the electronics manufacturer to produce so many iPhone components (about one quarter of those in iPhone 4S)? What does that say about Apple if it does so much business with a copycat? Either Apple viewed Samsung differently before it became a big iPhone competitor or Apple's business ethics aren't what the company publicly professes.
Copying is the root innovation. In a 1990s interview Apple Steve Jobs remarked: "Picasso had a saying, he said: 'Good artists copy, great artists steal'. We have, you know, always, ah, been shameless about stealing great ideas". Good designers, and Jony Ive comes to mind, learn from their forebears, show tribute by imitating their work and extend their legacy by building something better.
"Apple is itself a consummate imitator", Oded Shenkar writes in book Copycats: How Smart Companies use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge", which you should read. Apple has long practiced what he calls imovation -- imitative innovation. But now it's a one-way street. Apple seeks to prevent other companies from doing what it does.
Now let's talk Google. What is that prototype photo you sent? Where is it from? Surely not from Google. The first Android phone, the G1, released about four years ago on T-Mobile -- with touchscreen and slide-out keyboard. You can't possibly consider that an iPhone knock-off. Google bought Android three years earlier, and about 18 months before Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone prototype in January 2007. Android released after at least four years of development, which started well ahead of iPhone's launch.
Other Google criticisms you make are different matters. As a journalist, my livelihood is less today because of the Google economy. I did stop using Google products for a time because of it. But since had a change of heart; Google has proved itself an innovator. New Chrome version comes out every six weeks, for example, and there are continual, user-improving updates to most products. Google has its faults, as does Apple. But Google hasn't declared war on competitors, using the courts as weapons rather than really innovating.
In 2007, iPhone was truly innovative. Can you say the same about iPhone 4S four-and-a-half years later? What's so tragic is how little iPhone changed while competing products made leaps and bounds. Apple is a follower in fast data (3G on the original iPhone, LTE on 4 and 4S) and cloud computing (MobileMe and iCloud trailed competitors), for example. While innovator in others -- mobile app store and retail, for example.
If you look closely at the history of Apple, there is a consistent pattern: Great innovation in a new product category followed by iteration over a long period of time, but few great new innovations. iPod, iPhone and iPad all are examples. iPod innovation really stopped with the nano in 2005. iPhone isn't much changed since the 3GS -- think about it in context of iOS 5 running on a device released in 2009. iPad already peaked. What is there really different now other than a high-resolution display? Meanwhile, Samsung is on its second-generation pen-based tablet, with features ideal for Apple designer customers.
iPhone 5 likely debuts tomorrow, and perhaps Apple will move the platform forward. But based on what the company has disclosed about iOS 6, that's unlikely. The original iPhone changed the way people interact with cellular handsets, by making them more human, more responsive. iPad evoked something more: Intimacy with the device and content. But what followed the original inspiration? Iteration along the same design principles.
Iteration has its place. iPhone 4S offers many benefits over 3GS -- better display, higher-resolution camera and longer battery life, for example. But nothing like what made the original so special and stand apart from everything else.
For a company that innovates into new categories, but iterates thereafter, there are two obvious paths: New innovation to stay ahead of competitors or litigation seeking to crush them. Apple follows the latter way too much, trying to slow down competitors while it iterates along.
From that perspective, Apple is the anti-innovator. Anyone who thinks all great tech ideas come from the one company is delusional. Cooperation and competition enable innovation. I would use Apple products today, if the company chose to do both rather than intimidate and litigate.
- DePaul UniversityInteractive Media, 2012
- University of Arizona
- Scottsdale Culinary Institute
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