Apple Building at Mariani Ave. 20525, Cupertino
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Apple 2.0 – a brand of social innovation as well as tech innovation?

Apple Building at Mariani Ave. 20525, Cupertino

Apple Building at Mariani Ave. 20525, Cupertino (By Francesco Meschia, used under Creative Commons License)

What if Apple brand, under the new leadership of CEO Tim Cook, was known equally well for its different thinking in the social change space, as well as the technology innovation space?

I was just reading this NY Times article: The mystery of Steve Jobs’ public giving, and the comments there. It’s about the enigma of The Possible Philanthroper Steve Jobs. It’s a great collection of public information available about his social involvement, financial and otherwise, and it also makes the inevitable comparisons to the more public giving of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, even Mark Zuckerberg.

Heroes are people too

Now I know that this article was published before the tragic passing of Steve Jobs, but there were two things that struck me. Firstly, the assumption we tend to have that we can have some sort of ownership over public figures. We look up to people like Steve Jobs as role models, we aspire to their characteristics, and we build up a model in our minds about who they are and what they stand for. But when there are gaps in that model, we sometimes feel we have a right to know what fills them.

Leander Kahney, author of Inside Steve’s Brain, speaking of Steve Jobs is quoted (via Wired commentary): “Yes, he has great charisma and his presentations are good theater. But his absence from public discourse makes him a cipher. People project their values onto him, and he skates away from the responsibilities that come with great wealth and power.”

Surely that’s his prerogative? He was known so much for his vision, innovation and leadership; surely there’s room for respecting those ‘gaps’ that aren’t served up to us as well? Yes, it’s a great argument that he has ‘responsibilities’, but not every great leader has aggressive debilitating cancer. In other words, we have to consider the whole person and their situation.

The changing of the guard, and a renewed opportunity

Which brings me to the second thing. The opportunity before Apple to make a big — and I mean, a BIG difference. I know that we (rightly or wrongly) basically regard Apple Inc. and its corporate policies as being Steve Job’s policies. So his own personal philanthropic efforts seem to mirror those of Apple Inc. Private, undisclosed. Not a part of his public persona, not a part of the Apple brand.

But with tragic loss comes the opportunity for enormous good. The tragic loss of Steve Jobs could be a positive catalyst for change for Apple as a brand, under the new leadership of CEO Tim Cook. Whatever happens, Apple will become, if you like Apple 2.0 under his stewardship. He has an incredible opportunity to re-chart Apple’s destiny as a brand that speaks of social responsibility as well as of innovation and all the familiar hallmarks. Others are wondering this too.

The campaign to ask Apple to support cancer research

I’m actually trying to raise this with Apple at the moment, through an email campaign: Dear Apple: Please donate $1 to cancer research for every iPhone sold.

I’m sure that there’s thousands of avid Apple devotees out there — and loyal they are — that would be gratified to know that Apple 2.0 includes extending the ‘Think Different’ maxim to supporting pancreatic cancer research efforts for early detection, treatment and cure. And no, it doesn’t necessarily need to be by skimming of $1 per iPhone sale to fund charities; there are loads of ways this could happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, Apple fans and non-fans alike, we can ask Apple to make this change. Please consider going to the link above and sending an email? Thanks.

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iSad… iSalute… iRespect… how about iDonate?

Something’s been bothering me since the tragic passing of Steve Jobs, and today I put my finger on it. And I think there is an amazing unique opportunity before Apple to do something really worthwhile. Something maybe Steve’s family would really appreciate. And something we can all be a part of.

Odes, quotes and dress-ups?

There’s been terabits of memorial pieces — and comments on those pieces — written about Steve Jobs, and the Twitters have been groaning under the weight of sorrowful, pithy and wise statements about his passing. And of course Facebook probably has to buy another server farm to house the memorial groups in his honour; there were over 100 pages dedicated to him that I counted before getting sick of clicking that See more results link.

And people are suggesting things like wearing black polo neck sweaters and jeans in homage to Mr Jobs. But what really got me was reading news articles like this one that claim “Apple fans are paying their respects to Steve Jobs by snapping up the iPhone 4S in record numbers”.

Dear Apple: please donate $1 for every new iPhone sold to pancreatic cancer research

Is playing dress-ups and consumerism the best we can do? I hope – no, I know – we can do better than that. We can donate our money or volunteer our time and energies to those organisations who are raising awareness and funds for earlier detection of pancreatic cancer, as well as treatment and cure, and care for victims and loved ones.

But we can also do something together as a much larger group: we can ask Apple to support those organisations. What if Apple saw this is a unique and timely opportunity to do that? Wouldn’t it be awesome if Steve Jobs’ legacy of ‘Think Different’ was applied to raising funds for detecting and curing pancreatic cancer?

The Donate Different campaign

Apple are inviting anyone and everyone to email in their thoughts, memories, and condolences for the loss of Steve Jobs. So let’s ask Apple to donate $1 for every new iPhone sold worldwide, to nominated charities in each country or region.

If that’s something you’d like to do:

What would Steve Jobs have come up with next, were it not for pancreatic cancer?

As Steve Jobs wrote when he announced his decision to step down as CEO: “I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it”. I think corporate sponsorship and support for this cause would be an amazing step in the continued successful journey of Apple. What a tremendous example that would set for other companies. What a lasting tribute that would be to Steve Jobs and his family.