Working Wisdom: quote about innovation and technology

Working Wisdom

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

A quote from Steve Jobs (1955-2011), an American entrepreneur and business magnate. He was the chairman, CEO and a co-founder of Apple Inc., as well as chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar and became a member of The Walt Disney Company’s board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar. He also co-founded NeXT, a computer platform development company, which was later bought by Apple. Jobs is regarded as a pioneer of the home computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and of the market for mobile phones.

Steve Jobs actually ‘borrowed’ this quote from the artist Pablo Picasso, before going on to say “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”. There is much debate about the rise of Apple and the extent to which its successful and revolutionary products were actually inspired by, copied from or stolen from Xerox. Looking at the key difference between the two words, ‘to copy’ is simply to imitate. But ‘to steal’ involves actually taking possession of the stolen item and, in an artistic context, that means using one’s own creativity to transform it into something new. In fact, as the definition in the Oxford Dictionary underlines (“Innovate – to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”), that is precisely how innovation works.

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Working Wisdom