It’s rare to see Apple make a mistake, and while the press is having a field day with the current iPhone 4 issues, it’s unlikely this will be any more than a tiny little bump in the road for Mr. Jobs and company.
But for the rest of us, the most interesting part could be identifying what mistakes Apple made and what their experience can teach us about managing innovation and the development of new products.
As a recent WSJ article details, there’s still some he-said she-said around what really happened, but it’s clear that the problem could have been avoided. Here are a few of the mistakes they made:
Mistake #1 – Falling in love with our own solutions
Also referred to as drinking your own Kool-aid. Reportedly, Mr. Jobs liked the new design so much that the message around reception problems was either not received or was ignored as much as a year earlier.
Mistake #2 – Not getting into the customers’ environment
Evidently, for secrecy reasons, Apple kept the iPhone 4 out of the hands of its network partners (AT&T etc.) until late in the development cycle. They kept it secret until pretty late in the process, but at what cost.
Mistake #3 – Taking bad risks
If you never fail, you’re not taking enough risks. True on the surface, but in Apple’s case this was a problem that could have been tested early on and in that way avoided with some design changes vs. the after the fact solution they are now offering. Why take the risks that you can predict will fail? Here’s another article on avoiding predictable risks.
Mistake #4 – That’s up to you
Let us know how you view it and what other lessons you think we can learn from Apple’s experience.