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Yash Gupta
Business School Dean

Yash Gupta

Yash Gupta is Professor and Dean of The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Right brain, left brain

The secret of Apple is its culture of innovation. Success doesn't come simply from spending a lot of money on research and development; Apple's competitors have spent more on R&D, like IBM in the 1980s, but Apple has been able to capture a large segment of the market - building a devout following, in fact - because the leadership has carefully constructed this phenomenal culture of innovation within the company.

To achieve that, the leadership has brought together two types of people to work for them. First are the creative people, the ones who generate the ideas for the amazing products we've come to expect from Apple. The other group are the analytical people, the hard-nosed business types who put the creative ideas through a sifter and determine whether they make sense from a business perspective.

At Apple, Chairman Steve Jobs and Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook represent the top tiers of these respective approaches. They've been a great team, much like Howard Schultz and Orrin Smith at Starbucks. If you're aiming for the level of accomplishment that Apple has enjoyed, you need the kind of synergy that its leaders have created between the creative and business sides of the company - its right brain and its left brain, so to speak.

Take the case of the iPod. It was originally the idea of a guy at Apple named Tony Fadell. By the time his idea had gone through the designers and the engineers and the business analysts and the marketing people, he was ready to sell it to the top management at Apple. He said, "Here's this great creative idea, and here's the great business plan to go with it." That's an example of successfully bringing together all the elements of a company's production process. That's how Apple works, and that's why it's one of the world's leading companies.

By Yash Gupta

 |  January 29, 2010; 1:32 PM ET
Category:  Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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This "whole brain" approach is wonderful for Apple and other companies, but what's a solo entrepreneur to do? The fact is that BOTH the linear, logical, left-brain AND the free-flowing, creative, right-brain exist in each of us.

Given cultural conditioning and societal demands of our fast-paced, high-tech, fiercely-competitive, information age, our creative nature has been given short shrift, but can be developed.

Athletes and other peak performers who frequent "the zone" know that thinking gets in the way of flowing in the current of the present moment. By doing "conscious breathing" and other simple exercises we can strengthen our right-brain capacities and more easily access our individual creativity.

Posted by: neilteppercreativitydoctor | January 30, 2010 2:57 PM
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