Accelerate - June 2013

Innovation lessons from disruptors

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Richard Branson


“Over the years we’ve started many Virgin businesses out of frustration at the way things were done in established sectors. Whether it was airlines, mobile telephones or financial services, we’ve stood out by focusing on ways to improve people’s lives through better service, innovation and value.

There is little point in entering a new market unless it provides the opportunity to really shake up an industry. If our entry has the potential to make waves, we’re going to look at it very closely. But we always protect the downside and make sure that we have a way out if things go wrong. If a new business has the potential to damage your brand in any way, you should not invest in it.”

Richard Branson: Tips for growing your small business,

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Steve Jobs


When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was producing a random array of computers and peripherals, including a dozen different versions of the Macintosh. After a few weeks of product review sessions, he’d finally had enough. “Stop!” he shouted. “This is crazy.” He grabbed a Magic Marker, padded in his bare feet to a whiteboard, and drew a two-by-two grid. “Here’s what we need,” he declared. Atop the two columns, he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro”. He labelled the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable”. Their job, he told his team members, was to focus on four great products, one for each quadrant. All other products should be cancelled. There was a stunned silence. But by getting Apple to focus on making just four computers, he saved the company. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” he told me. “That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”

Walter Isaacson: The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs, Harvard Business Review.

Updated: 4 September 2015