The Worm in the Apple – Does Apple Deserve to be Considered a Conscious Business ?
Apple Inc just completed a major public launch in September 2014 of its latest products and innovations. The launch was much anticipated as Apple has been slipping in recent years when measured against market share in key markets for its signature smartphone and tablet products.
Samsung and the new wave of Asian manufacturers such as Xiamoi, LG, Motorola, and others have driven innovation and feature rich devices to price points that Apple has been unwilling or unable to match. Instead Apple has sought to energise its large fan base with new products which are a mix of new innovations (Apple Pay and the Apple Watch), and catch-up devices (larger screen iPhone 6 plus).
Apple tried an old Steve Jobs emotional launch by having U2 launch its new album and give it away on iTunes to fans. Apple CEO Tim Cook tried to find the magic of his charismatic predecessor by staging the launch as the same venue launched the iPad back in 2010.
Apple was trying to find its way back into the hearts and minds of the public in its ongoing brand wars with Samsung and everyone else. Apple believe that they still warrant to be held on a pedestal of higher aspirations, values and attainment. But is this still true in 2014?
In the theory of Conscious Capitalism or Conscious Business as it is also known, several writers have flagged some major household brands as being worthy of being called conscious business role models. One of those household brands is Apple who are consistently ranked as one of the world’s most recognised brands and who are often considered a “love brand” by Saatchi and Saatchi.
A Conscious Capitalism or Conscious Business is so called as its reason for living or its business purpose transcends the mere making of profit. A Conscious Business has a clear set of values which are conscious throughout the workforce and there is a clear objective to improve the lot of all stakeholders to that business.
In this regard a Conscious Business is not just focussed on the shareholder as the only stakeholder to the business. Classical business theory from the Industrial Era makes CEO and Board concerns centric to shareholders but the effects of this has been to rob many publicly listed companies of any real ability to plan and execute a long term strategy.
Instead business energy has focussed on short term concerns with share price and any share market price volatility and fluctuations which occur in any economy. The ability of companies to properly execute long term business value strategies then suffers as CEO and Boards watch their backs and dance to the tune of business commentators, stock analysts, demanding shareholders and investment analysts.
A Conscious Business has a clear day to day mindfulness of what it does and why. It also is mindful of its stakeholder’s needs and concerns but understands that all stakeholders such as the local community, the workforce, the country they operate in, and the environment, must also be respected and accommodated within a framework of ethical business practice.
In many ways the term Conscious Capitalism or Conscious Business can be a little limiting as just as in individuals. There are many people who are conscious of what they do yet still choose to do the wrong thing.
Being conscious is a foundational state that one ideally has in moment to moment consciousness as from here we can make decisions and behave in accordance to our values. It is no different for a Conscious Business through the collective consciousness and actions of the CEO, he Board and employees of such aware-consciousness companies.
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I will shortly publish an e-book for charity on the very subject of wealth inequity in society. All income derived from e-book sales will go towards a charity who embody social enterprise through conscious business principles.