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第二十二讲:创造力与创新

《财富》(中文版) 2011年04月13日

能够把创新、执行力、创造力和约束力结合在一起,这是非同一般的能力。每个人天生都是富有创造力的,创造力不是外部添加的。我们所面临的共同问题就是创造力被扼杀了。

高德思你说过卓越的公司在发展的同时还能保留自己的核心价值。我的问题是关于他们如何能够成功做到这一点,如何在保留公司核心元素的同时营造出一个创新的环境?

吉姆·柯林斯让我们首先来看看一个在价值观上持之以恒,始终坚持一个目标,同时大力推进产品升级和创新的范例。我认为这就是苹果公司(Apple)。我认为苹果真的是这方面的典范,因为当乔布斯重回苹果时,他真的重新找回了苹果最初的价值观。那时他让公司初创时的价值观重获生机。他的想法从未仅限于建立一家电脑公司,而是要创造出很棒的产品。早在80年代,他曾经谈到过(计算机是)“头脑自行车”(bicycles for the mind)这一观点。他也谈到电子产品和摩尔定律推动下的软件的未来。但是最酷的还是来源于自行车是最有效代步工具(这一类比观点。)如果你好好想想,就会发现骑上自行车可以去很多地方,真是一个奇妙的发明。认为,我们就像在做“头脑自行车”的生意,而不是电脑生意。电脑恰好就是一种大脑自行车。他对此很清楚,一直以来他就是想给人们一些能力放大器,让他们无论做什么都能感到兴奋和自由。公司创始之初,这种想法就深深根植于企业精神当中,大家都认为这样做很酷。后来苹果在没有乔布斯掌舵的情况下运营了一段时间,接着他又回来了。他干了什么呢?他重新带回了那个想法,看看从那时起,他们创造了多少成功的产品。这些就是头脑的自行车。苹果机到今天还在往这个方面努力。但是,你再看看iPhone、iPod、iPad,看看他们所开发的各种各样的产品。他们总是不停地更新换代,而非一步到位后就止步不前。

首先拥有一个核心想法,然后围绕这个想法不断进步,这就是一个经典案例。当然我认为这也是一段他的人生旅程,他在个人旅程中保留了这种不断进步的动力。所以在他的产品和商业模式中,你也能看到这些特点。这其中的关键就是:有些事物是恒久不变的,而在这个框架下,你可以充分发挥创造力。

我知道你在创造鼓励创新的环境,但我不知道中国文化在这方面发挥了哪些影响和作用。因此,首先请向我简单介绍一下中国人是怎样看待创新的,之后我就可以在此基础上来分享一下我的想法。

高德思:这是一个很不错的问题。通常人们认为中国的教育方式在鼓励创新方面并不强。主要就是靠死记硬背。这是大家最经常提出的一个问题,至于这说的对不对,我们可以就此进行辩论,但这确实是大家最常提出的问题。关于企业创新,你会发现许多观察者会认为这是中国公司面临的最大挑战:往产业链或创新价值链的上端移动,扭转低成本供应、劳动力密集型、出口导向型、低附加值、缺乏品牌的局面。但是在过去五到十年的时间里,我们已经看到了许多创新的证据,特别是在商业模式方面。在中国可以看到许多创新,但这仍是一个热点话题。就像我刚刚说的,一些人会说这是中国公司面临的最大挑战。

另一方面,我知道你最近说过,就美国而言,或者说就你的研究而言,创新这一点被高估了。这些是核心的基础原则,换句话说,就是要一种平衡。

吉姆·柯林斯我简单就这个问题说两句,之后再谈谈关于创造力的几点看法,这在我看来是需要强调的。首先,能够把创新、执行力、创造力和约束力结合在一起,这是非同一般的能力。你并不一定要比别人更有创造力或是更有自我约束力,但是重要的是你能够把两者结合起来。即便你创造力无穷,但是如果缺乏约束力,那你也走不远。如果你自律能力很强而却没有创造力,那你也不会成功

高德思是的。 

   

Thomas D. Gorman: One of your observations is great companies can preserve core values while stimulating progress. And I have some questions relating to how they do that successfully,... how do they foster an atmosphere of innovation while preserving the key elements of the core business?

Jim Collins: Let's first of all use a current example of a kind of consistency about values, and purpose and yet tremendous evolution and creativity around the products, and I think that is Apple. I think Apple is a really great example of this because what was very interesting when Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he really grabbed back onto the original founding values of Apple. He was the instigator of the original founding values at that point. And the idea, it was never about a computer company, the idea had to do with doing some very, creating some great products out of ultimately... he used to, way back in the '80's he used to talk about this idea of "bicycles for the mind." And the idea of electronics and ultimately what would happen through Moore's Law and software, but really cool products, the idea that a bicycle is the most efficient form of human movement. You get on a bicycle and you can really go places and it's a really amazing invention, when you think about it. And he thought, we're ultimately kind of like in the bicycles of the mind business; we're not in the computer business. Computers just happen to be one of those. And he understood this very much and it was always about giving these amplifiers to people and these things that would give people a sense of excitement and freedom around what they were doing. This was very deep in the ethos of the company from very early on and the idea of how cool it would be to do that. So, then Apple kind of goes on a journey without him for a period of a time, and then later he comes back. What does he do? He brings back that same idea and then all the products, just look at all of what's happened since then. They're bicycles for the mind. The Mac is still doing that. But, you think about the iPhone, you think about the iPod, you think about the iPad, you think about all the different things that they've been doing and lots of pieces. And there's lots of generations upon them, it's never just one, it's a lot of steps.

That is a classic example of there's a kind of a core idea, and tremendous progress around that idea. And that is, of course I think that's his journey as well, his own journey has been to preserve something -- constant progress. So yes, you can see it play out in products and you can see it also play out in business models.

And the whole idea is that by having something that you hang onto over time, it provides the context within which you do a lot of very creative things. So, now in terms of fostering environments of creativity and innovation and I know that you have, this is a question, and I don't know what the cultural aspects are about this with China. So, first maybe just fill me in a little bit on that from a Chinese perspective on a question of creativity, the question of innovation. And then I'd like to share a couple of thoughts on this based on that.

Thomas D. Gorman: And that's a very good question. I think to focus on commonly held views that Chinese education isn't particularly strong in promoting creativity. It's based on a lot more traditional rote learning. That's a common complaint that one hears, whether it's fair or not, we can debate that, but that's a common complaint. With regards to innovation in the corporate sense, you'll find a fair number of observers will say, that's the biggest challenge Chinese companies face: moving up the chain, or the value chain on innovation, moving away from being a low cost supplier, large pool of labor, export oriented, low value added, not many brands, but now, we've seen a lot of evidence of innovation, particularly in the business model area, in the past five to ten years. So, there's a lot of innovation going on, but it's still a very hot topic over there and as I say, some would say, it's the biggest challenge Chinese companies face.

On the other hand, I know that you've said, in recent times, that it may be somewhat over- rated in the American context or in the context of your research. These are the core fundamental disciplines, in other words, there's a balance there.

Jim Collins: Just a brief comment on that and then I want to come to a couple perspectives on creativity that I would at least like to highlight because I, but first of all, it's really the capacity to blend innovation and execution, creativity and discipline, that is a very special thing. It's not necessarily that you are, have to be more creative or disciplined, it that you have to find a way to put both of those together, and that's, so if you just have a lot of creativity, but you don't have any discipline, you won't go very far. But, if you have a lot of discipline and have no creativity, you also aren't going to go very far.

Thomas D. Gorman: Right.

 

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