Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs was truly one of this generation’s greatest entrepreneurs and innovators, creating two cutting edge companies (Apple andPixar) and changing how we interact with media. In the biography “Steve Jobs” byWalter Isaacson, themes of Jobs’ life are explored (check out a list of his top ten career achievements for a crash course). What dictated Job’s life and work was a passion for what he did, as can be seen in this commencement address he gave to Stanford’s class of 2005 or his iconic product launches.
But what does a techie from Silicon Valley have to teach economic developers? The article “Canada, like Steve Jobs, should zero in on innovation” in the Globe and Mail layouts out two particular lessons for Canadian economic policy; firstly, we need to start investing in innovation rather than invention. Money for research and development has increased, but training and skills development around thinking differently need to be fostered. Secondly, policies that are unique must be considered. While best practices can be valuable, developing unique approaches and policies, although risky, can allow communities to lead the way in economic development. In this line of work, it’s worth asking “What would Steve Jobs Do?“.
In “Steve Jobs”, Isaacson’s chronicle of Jobs’ life and work provides not only an absorbing read, but allows us to better understand what it takes to think differently and develop innovative solutions that resonate with those we serve, whether clients or community members. It’s an inspiring read full of valuable lessons on passion, creativity and innovation that we can put into action to propel our communities forward.