When company executives talk strategy, the question, whether spoken or implicit, invariably is, How can we be more like Apple? How do we develop those radical products that disrupt what people thought was possible?
In looking for answers, the best place to start is Steve Jobs himself, whose passing this year imparted a personal sense of loss even among those who hadn’t met him. Never before had pieces of technology become inextricably connected to one person’s singular vision; his groundbreaking products—which revolutionized music, smartphones, and personal computing—seem to embody Jobs, the ultimate tech user.
But you don’t have to be Jobs to hit on the next big thing. Taken together, these essays provide a roadmap for tackling the barriers to innovation and for investing the time and space necessary to fostering disruptive ideas. A big theme this year: Embracing failure as a necessary part of the process. So in 2012, go forth and fail—just don’t put all your creative eggs in one basket. We’ll keep you company along the way.