Apple’s penchant for secrecy nearly stifled its innovation
Over the past decade or so, we’ve been exposed to some of Apple’s deepest secrets. Whether it’s small tidbits, leaked images of parts, or devices – we’ve seen it all. At one point the issue became so rampant, that Apple created a task force of sorts to combat the problem. But because of this, Apple faced a tipping point, requiring it to reevaluate and change some of its internal practices.
Chris Deaver, who was once Senior HR Business Partner and “Culture & People Leader” at Apple, gives us a rare look inside his time there. Deaver joined Apple in 2015 and was immediately impressed. On the surface, he saw some of the greatest minds, delivering some of the best hardware and software in the industry. But under its shiny exterior, there was a problem. A problem that spawned from the company’s penchant for secrecy.
““I started to wonder what this all meant. I’d hear one new employee after another, brilliant people, asking the essential question: “How do I operate like this? If I can only share information with certain people, how do I know who and when? I don’t want to end up fired or in jail.”””
Apple had long been known for its secrecy, with the development of products and services accomplished in small teams. But, as the firm expanded, this model created frustration – stifling innovation. Deaver saw the development process of the original AirPods as a perfect case study. As usual, teams worked independently, only converging at the last minute. The result was a trainwreck, wrought with frustration and tension. Despite this, Apple’s AirPods would come to market and prove to be a big success, giving the company another product line and revenue stream. While this development process worked, the real question was what could be done to make things better?
The result was a trainwreck, wrought with frustration
Source: Fast Company