The Corporate Visionary: WTF?
A number of announcements this month got me pondering the role of the corporate visionary, that rare individual that can look at a new product and just knows consumers will want it before they do.
The original technology visionary of modern times was Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony Corporation, who combined innovations like the Walkman with music and movie content, creating a media empire. Akido led Sony to become the most sought after consumer electronics brand and an icon of quality.
The current technology visionary is Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. Steve is such a part of Apple and the Cult of Mac branding success that the announcement earlier this month of another medical leave caused Apple stock to decline 5%. Beyond his eye for fine design and business opportunities, Steve has grown up with the technology. Little know outside tech circles, Steve is listed on dozens of patents filed by Apple. Try typing “Steve Jobs” into Google Patent Search to get a different view of what makes the man tick.
The new generation of technology visionary is now emerging, being led by… Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga was hired by Polaroid in 2010 as a Creative Director and spokeswoman. The first fruits of the collaboration between Polaroid and Lady Gaga were introduced earlier this month as the Grey Line of products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. You can read an overview of the Polaroid CES announcements with Lady Gaga here or watch the video here.
Not to be left out of the technology visionary biz, this week we have an official announcement from Intel, the technology powerhouse. Intel has hired Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas as Director of Creative Innovation and spokesman.
Both Akio Morita and Steve Jobs based their visions of the future on experience, an intuitive understanding of technology and the culture of their company. There is a quite a contrast to the two most recently announced technology visionaries, Lady Gaga and Will.i.am.
So sit a spell. Take your shoes off. The visions are about to begin. Enjoy the show.