Founder’s DNA or Company’s DNA making Innovations

There’s Steve Jobs’ condition making a headline of TV news and Internet portals in these days.    Apple announced that he would devote himself to curing for six months from now on, which means he seems so badly ill.

Previously when I was working for a venture capital firm, some colleagues said unanimously,

“The founding parent of the company is not always the foster parent of that.”

That means, founders of start-up ventures are sometimes daring guys, they had better hand over to foster parents having profession which may have the ventures growing up more.   Generally speaking, I believe that idea is relatively acceptable for the investors who are mostly conservative.

But the real world is strange and interesting.   MBA holders (of course, meaning not “married but available” but Master of Business Administration) may bankrupt his/her company.  On the other hand, there are some companies led by the management who cannot understand B/S and P/L, but those keep growing up difinitely.   I cannot find which idea is correct.   Honestly.

When I take a look at Sony without its co-founder Mr. Ibuka and Mr. Morita, Panasonic which removed its founder’s surname “Matsushita” from its brand, and Honda withdrawing from F1 championship of the founder’s dream, I see all they take options apart from the founders’ ideas.

Managements from giant enterprises are asked at new year’s party of Keidanren or Japan Business federation, what the card to overcome the recession, and almost they answered “creating something innovative to overcome”.

In order to make innovation happen in the company, we need some sort of daring atmosphere there.   If no daring employee working in the company, do you think any innovation comes up there?

I don’t intend to criticize Japanese consumer goods manufacturers, and I apologize for your discomfort if you feel.   By the way, I’m interested in how Apple can keep innovating something like iPhone if Steve resign his current position.

Apple’s headquarter is located at 1 Infinite Loop.   And, Google’s buildings have the names like Pi and e=mc².   Needless to say it, these facts show you the similarity of the two companies.

And now, people are rumoring about Apple’s acquisition by Google, extremely sounds like a real story, but if it would so, what’s the most important is whether Apple can keep innovating.

In terms of profit-seeking as one of raison d’être of the company, it is very important to think how the company can keep its DNA, which encourages the employees to innovate something, after the company founder disappeared from the company.

P.S.   I heard that Toyota Motor would appoint to make Mr. Akio Toyoda as the next president of the company, who is a direct descendant of the company’s founder.   It reflects the company’s relief that Toyota wants to overcome such a bad economic downturn with the founder’s DNA.   Will he or his leading company can create something new after Prius?

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Masaru IKEDA

Masaru IKEDA has co-founded several system integration companies and consulting firms in Tokyo. Now he has been contributing serial columns to nationwide newspapers and IT periodicals, also he's currently serving as tech consultant for several web companies. See this for more bio.