Innovation Lessons for Event Planners from Steve Jobs

Apple ComputersThis week, the world lost one of its greatest innovators. I've learned a few things about Steve Jobs that I didn't know before he died:

  • He was adopted.
  • He never met his biological father.
  • At 21, he dropped out of college and started Apple with a friend that one report described as a "hacker."

One thing is certain. Long before he died at 56, Steve Jobs was recognized as a visionary trailblazer and pioneer.

What can event and meeting planners learn about the face of innovation from Steve Jobs? Innovators don't always fit the mold. If a 21-year-old Steve Jobs had applied for a job at your company, would he have been hired? In the corporate world, being different is often viewed a negative. People are hired for "fit." Sameness is rewarded and mavericks who engage in original thinking are passed over for promotion.

Another lesson is that innovation requires resilience and bouncing back. After Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple at 30, he re-vitalized Pixar before returning to Apple.

Finally, under Steve Job's leadership, Apple really embraced events. From the Mac World Expo to developers conferences and blockbuster events to unveil new products, Apple has been a role model of how special events can have bottom line impact and corporate event planners can play a strategically significant role.

As event planners and their clients, let's not discount the team member who has ideas that are "outside the box." Let's give that talented 21-year-old (or any-year-old) a break, even if the resume doesn't precisely fit the job posting. It may be just the spark of genius that will re-vitalize your corporate events and your organization.

Steve Jobs, you will be missed.

Photo Credit: Ombrelle

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