Innovation, Change and Reactance

Humans are complex beings. Often we react to an idea in a negative or agressive way, when actually, the idea is quite good.

Why? We’re all logical beings, right? This is reactance at work.

Innovation, change and reactance

Psychologist Jack Brehm coined the term reactance in 1966. It covers the human behavours around resistance to new ideas or persuasion that results in hostility and flouting of authority. Fundamentally, we do not like to be told what to do, think or like, and this results in negative behaviour that is not always appropriate. Reactance is a great stifler of innovation and change.

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1977 Apple Marketing Philosophy

In 1977 Mark Markkula wrote a one page marketing and strategy position statement for Apple Computers. It was written as part of the company incorporation on January 3, 1977.

Apple was less than a year old and had only released the hobbyist Apple I. It was yet to really make an impact. Mark Markkula wrote:

The Apple Marketing Philosophy

1. Empathy

We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.

2. Focus

In order to do a good job of those things we decide to do we must eliminate all other unimportant opportunities.

3. Impute

People DO judge a book by its cover. We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be percieved as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.

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