Creative Insights From Steve Jobs


(By Randy Lane) Employees at Apple often talked about Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field.” Jobs frequently had insights and ideas that had never been done before, and on many occasions, his team said the ideas were impossible.

He dismissed naysayers and commanded the invention to be completed on a rigid timetable.

One of his epiphanies was “1000 Songs in Your Pocket.” In 2001, he unveiled the iPod at Macworld, which forever changed the music industry and how we experience music.

In 2007, Jobs revealed another impossible insight: the iPhone. Forbes described his presentation in San Francisco as “a presentation classic,” during which he demonstrated how three products were bundled into one to “revolutionize the phone.” You can see it here.

Jobs debuted another magical device in 2010, the iPad. How does Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field” relate to you as a talent, manager, or entrepreneur?

The internet and prep services have leveled the playing field for radio and podcast shows. We all have access to the same information and ideas. Now, what makes your brand and position stand out is how you differentiate or treat ideas, stories, and information with your distinct perspective.

Innovation comes from moving beyond what is known and what has been done. Jobs said “magical thinking” leads you to something new and groundbreaking.

Here are three primary questions and techniques to propel you from the known world of what’s been done to the unknown quantum world:

The Randy Lane Company coaches radio and podcast shows to ask, “What else” could we do to make an idea bigger, better, more impactful, and different?

Author, inventor, and speaker Roger von Oech suggests that having something at stake, like a deadline, ratings, a job, or money, increases motivation. He reminds us that if you’re not failing occasionally, you’re not being innovative.

Award-winning Global Peak Performance Educator to Fortune 500 companies Shadé Zahrai highlights “one skill that will propel your career,” Quantum Questioning:

  • Embrace the “How could it be better mindset.” Sara Blakely created Spanx by asking, “How could I create an undergarment that was comfortable, invisible, and did what it was supposed to do?”
  • “The Power of Why Not” to uncover hidden opportunities. 3 M’s Spencer Silver tried to invent a strong adhesive but ended up with a weaker one. He and the people at 3M said why not find a use for this one. They invented Post-it Notes.
  • Harness “How Might We.” When Airbnb struggled early on, its founders asked, “How might we create a more trust-building and personal experience for our users?” It paid off big time.
  • Ask unasked questions. Steve Jobs asked, “What if your phone could also be a music player, camera, and internet device?”

Randy Lane is the owner of the Randy Lane Company, which coaches and brands radio and television personalities, business professionals, sports personalities, entrepreneurs, and pop culture artists, helping them master communication skills to have an impact on their audiences. Read Randy’s Radio Ink archives here.


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