While playing with my iPad (it's still a toy to me until it supports Google Docs) I realized that Apple is very good at eliminating three obstacles that hamper innovation.
1. They remove unnecessary layers.
2. They question the status quo.
3. They don't second guess their decisions.
As a Windows administrator you can use the same approach to provide the best service to your organization.
Remove Unnecessary layers.
Let's consider martial arts. One of the benefits of using an actual instructor (versus videos or books) is that he or she can observe you directly and then help you see where you are making unnecessary movements which drain your energy and can otherwise hamper your ability to master a form.
Apple did this very well with the iPod. They set out to offer a product that would provide an excellent listening experience. Everything else (the unecesary movements) got cut. The result was a product which boasted far fewer features than its competitors, but which succeeded in providing a great listening experience.
Your practical application of reducing layers could be cutting the little activities in your daily routine that get in your way. They may seem like good routines to have, but are they getting in the way of your end goal of providing excellent support to your customers?
Question the status quo
With all of the breakthroughs in computing over the last thirty years, one area has seen very little in enhancements. Communication between a human and a computer. It's been pretty much limited to keyboard and mouse.
Apple changed that.
Multi-touch gesture, introduced in the iPhone, is nearly as revolutional as the graphical user interface. (Anything so simple that you don't need to be taught to do it is truly an amazing accomplishment.)
Questioning the status quo isn't about playing devil's advocate just for the sake of argument. It's simply an extension of number one. Isolate each move and determine if A) it is necessary, and B) it can be improved.
Don't second guess yourself
In January 2010 the world was screaming that Apple should allow Adobe Flash onto the iPad. This wasn't new, either. Since the launch of the iPhone customers have been begging for Adobe Flash support.
Apple said no.
(I feel a sports analogy coming on.)
A good basketball coach doesn't change the game plan simply because his homecourt fans are setting arena noise records after he substitutes his star player for a second string nobody.
Noise levels... negative reviews... sports announcers flying off the handle... yet through all of this the coach remains unphased. He knows the strengths of his players AS WELL as the those of the opposing team. His strategy is set and the fans can like it or not (with the obvious exception being World Cup fans, in which case the coach's life my well hinge on complete capitulation).
When it comes to Adobe Flash, Apple didn't want to compromise user experience with technology that they consider unstable and buggy. Doing so would jeopardize their ultimate goal.
Follow me on Twitter @ShawnAnderson
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