Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Other Steve Comes to Nigeria

The story of the Apple Corporation can never really be fully told without acknowledging the role of its co-founder, “the other Steve”, Steve Wozniak. Even though the company is best associated with marketing, strategic and design wizardry of Steve Jobs, the other co-founder, the truth is that Apple and indeed the PC industry would not be what it is today, but for the genius of Steve Wozniak. Wozniak was the main designer of Apple I and its sequel, Apple II.

The Apple organization which the two Steves founded is credited with revolutionizing the personal computer industry. In a remarkable shift from the status quo, Apple II was designed to be usable by just about anybody. Continue...
It incorporated a central processing unit, a keyboard, a floppy disc drive and very importantly, colour graphics. No longer did you need to have knowledge of programming language to use a computer. The combination of the colour graphics and the user-friendliness actually made the act of using a computer, “cool”. Little wonder, therefore, that Apple II quickly became the first commercially successful line of personal computers.

The disposition of Woz towards invention and innovation is apparently the motivation behind his invitation to Nigeria by MTN to deliver this year’s edition of its annual innovation lectures. And it may appear like a departure of sorts from the past when the company invited such management icons as Michael Porter, Les Brown, David Plouffe (Barrack Obama’s campaign manager) and most recently, Ram Charan. As an inventor and innovator, Wozniak is skilled at identifying a problem and converting it into an opportunity. Management consultants, on the other hand have a genius for observing, discerning critical trends and patterns that ordinary people miss, and recommending solutions. Obviously, the company realizes that there is a need for a blend of both approaches: the theoretical and the practical.

Wozniak’s profile as an inventor has been long recognized by his peers and the technology industry. In 1985 he was awarded the National Medal of Technology by the US President. This is the highest honour that the US bestows on the country’s leading innovators. And in 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and awarded the Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for “single handedly designing the first personal computer and directing his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in students and their teachers.” 

Wozniak’s first coming to Nigeria is sure to inspire lots of Nigeria’s technology aficionados but also management experts as well as policy makers in the public sector.  
Join the conversation using the hashtag, #MTNLeadershipSeminar.

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