Innovative Scandinavian born companies, like Linux and Skype, are inspired by a series of guiding ideals. They build products and services for the benefit of Society, not for their own individual gain.
From the FastCoExist arcticle:
The Nordic countries hold to an unwritten but deeply felt and practiced code called Janteloven or, in English, Jante law. This code, regardless of an individual citizen’s conscious adherence or acceptance of it, comprises a deep, omnipresent undercurrent of Nordic culture. The code prescribes egalitarianism, collectivism, homogeneity, and conformity as values to be protected and practiced by citizens. To subscribe to the notion of individual gain or individuality over the collective ethos; to consider oneself superior in any way; or to display any shard of elitism is abhorrent, undesirable, and unacceptable. You might say it’s pretty much the exact opposite of how we think as Americans.
Compare that to the West where individualism is encouraged (no wait, required) and only the strong survive to the detriment of others. Apple has famously stated that it builds products it’s employees will want to use, not it’s users. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as fashion designer, musicians and any kind of artist operates this way.
These are two different motivational vectors.
I read somewhere (can’t find the link) that if the purpose is to help people (create for others/help them create), we end up with better ideas. Not surprised, to a great degree we are all motivated to helping others. And to a certain degree, creating things for ourselves is also about helping others.
It begs to question (and the researchers in the room are going to salivate at the opportunity to get some data on this), which approach works bets? Should we create products that we want to use?
Instinctively I’m more about creating stuff I would like to see exist in the world. Not because I want it for me, but because I believe it will also make everyone else better off. What about you?