Steve Jobs and our Innovation Nation

Last week we lost one of America’s great geniuses of innovation, Apple’s founder and CEO, Steve Jobs.

I can remember each time I first used one of Apple’s products. While working for IBM as a systems engineer right out of college and working with both mainframe systems and some not-always-so-friendly early PC operating systems (remember DOS?), I got to use a friend’s Macintosh and was blown away by how easy it was to use. Fast forward through the introduction of the iPod; iTunes online music and apps store; the iPhone—the first touchscreen smartphone; and now the iPad, first touchscreen tablet; and we now have a world that couldn’t conceive of life without Steve Jobs’ innovations.

One of Jobs’ secret to success was treating Apple as an idea and business incubator to continually research and fund what could possibly be the “next great thing” in the future, but was still only a germ of an idea from some engineer or scientist.

The Federal Government as an Incubator of Innovation

Like Apple, one of the key roles of the US Federal Government is to serve as an incubator of innovation.

Here at GPO, for example, we are embracing innovation by producing eBooks, digital downloads, information portals and databases in response to the changing needs of our increasingly digital society, which have been driven in part by Apple inventions introduced by Steve Jobs.

Most of the work products from the Federal Government can be and are used freely by private industry or other areas of Government to spur their own innovations. From statistics to research, processes to products, the Government has provided the seeds to innovation for American industry throughout the years.

Looking through our recent catalog on the US Government Bookstore website, I came across these publications which provide examples of innovation both within the Federal Government and in partnership with the private sector:

  • Spinoff Innovative Partnerships Program 2009, provides an in-depth look at how NASA’s initiatives in aeronautics and space exploration have resulted in beneficial commercial technologies in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental protection, computer technology and industrial productivity.  Some innovation spinoffs over the years include:
    • lightweight breathing system adapted for firefighters;
    • Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric for astronaut spacesuits is now used as a permanent roofing material for buildings and stadiums;
    • remote-controlled robotic arms are now being used for robotic surgical operations; and
    • artificial heart pump based on the design of NASA’s space shuttle main engine fuel pumps.
    • You can get a print copy of this book now at the US Government Bookstore or find it in a library.

About the Author:  I am Michele Bartram, Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division.  My duties include marketing for the US Government Online Bookstore ( and promoting Federal government content to the public. Due to the retirement of Jim Cameron, my duties now also include taking the helm as Blogger for Government Book Talk. I have been in the Internet marketing and ecommerce field for over 15 years.

We at GPO wish Jim all the best in his retirement, and will continue to do our best to spotlight the amazing variety of Government publications and their impact on ourselves and our world – and have fun while doing it.


34 Responses to Steve Jobs and our Innovation Nation

  1. raja m says:

    He was my inspiration, bookmarked i love it

  2. Lizz Tayler says:

    Very nice write-up. I certainly love this site.

  3. Rick Noel says:

    Excellent post Michelle. Innovation is what makes America great and defined it’s place as the global economic leader of the last century. Steve jobs is the poster child for American innovation and has left an indelible mark on a number of industries. First computing (Mac), then music (iPod, iTunes) and entertainment (Pixar), then communications (iPhone) then back to revolutionizing computing once again with the iPad, creating a new category of personal computing devices and redefining and igniting another industry. It is clear that Steve Jobs understood that design was more than how something looked, but deeply embedded in the way that something is used and how it integrates into the broader context of peoples lives. Government’s role has to be to foster a business environment that fosters innovation, hopefully leading to a new generation of Jobs-like innovators. Thanks for sharing!

  4. odoritour says:

    A genius has gone … work remains timeless

  5. Zaki says:

    He was an inspiration and he will be missed by millions. RIP Steve Jobs.

  6. Art contemporain says:

    Steve Jobs was a genius! I liked and appreciated your article post.

  7. Ripon says:

    Were Steve alive, I would humbly beg him for an idea – how to get rid of repeated emails from GPO; carrying the same web page link. For long it has been continuing again & again, seems I’d done a serious offense by posting comment on GPO’s blogpost page! And I can not find out any link/option on the page to get unsubscribed from emails on this specific issue of Steve.

    That’s why I commented much ago – whether I should get subscribed or get unsubscribed much before getting subscribed to this email shooting (solo-race)! And a person from GPO replied s/he feared s/he couldn’t make out what I meant! Hopefully, by now the GPO along with s/he, can make out what I wanted to say much ago: and will prove kindness by salvaging me from this solo-race of email shooting! I, without hesitation, declare the GPO the winner of that solo race and would like to urge – please be kind in ceasing the shooting. I’ll further urge for a ceasefire between the GPO & me! How can I dare to survive by making a giant monster my foe! I’m tiny, indeed! Please be kind. Mew! Mew! Mew!

    Ripon #

    • GPOBookstore says:


      You’ve uncovered one of WordPress’s quirks… To unsubscribe from receiving emails about a particular comment, look for the link at the bottom of the WordPress email you receive about the comment that says: “Want less email? Modify your Subscription Options.” Click on the “Subscription Options” link and then unsubscribe to a particular comment. I tried it out and it works, but I agree with you WordPress’ usability could use some improvement!

      Here’s the link to the WordPress Following Comments page:

      According to WordPress’ Comments tutorial this plugin called Subscribe to Comments is “one of the most popular WordPress plugins out there” and “allows commentators on your blog to check a box before commenting and get e-mail notification of further comments.” WordPress goes on to say:

      One of the best features of this plugin is that it does not spam your users, and they are in full control. Users who are not subscribed to the post comments sees a checkbox which they can select to subscribe to the post whereas users who are subscribed to the post’s comment, sees a link to manage subscription in which it shows all the posts they are subscribed to. They can easily unsubscribe to any post from there which is a great way to allow your users to manage their subscription without having them register.

      I hope this helps! And don’t let this discourage you from commenting… We enjoy hearing from you!

  8. idsdesign1 says:

    Steve Jobs was a genius at Internet Marketing, a brilliant businessman and incredible individual who left his mark on this world. I think we need to empower anyone chasing excellence and it starts with our children and their education.

  9. Earl Sonny Alvarado says:

    I really like and appreciate your article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  10. Iam SoCute says:

    wow great site.. great info

  11. kiosk says:

    Michele Bartram thanks for sharing about apple innovator. really this is great, keep up the good work.

  12. OnlineMarketing says:

    Even if Steve Jobs was not one your of your favorite people (which I could see why he wouldn’t be) there is no denying his impact and the fact that his legacy touched us all.

  13. johnmuseo says:

    That’s a great title. I was delighted by it. Not just the title, I also love the content. It really does make sense.

  14. California Blogger says:

    Steve Jobs is not only a California legend, he was an unusual mind which affected the world. Governments everywhere enjoy the benefits of his legacy, but the US government appreciates it most.

  15. internet marketing says:

    printing from iPad solution is much easier to implement today than it was even one year ago. Nowadays, you could

  16. Tania says:

    no doubt man of the millennium
    Miss you

  17. amna says:

    He was an inspiration and he will be missed by millions. RIP Steve Jobs.

  18. hunt says:

    Steve Jobs will be missed. He has done so much for the US.

  19. Kathy Kline says:

    I’m so sorry that Jim is retiring. His posts were a nice break from work. He brought so much varied experience and interest into his blogs. Thank you Jim. Enjoy your retirement, but maybe you should keep up the writing thing.

    • GPOBookstore says:

      We at GPO echo your feelings, Kathy! Jim will be sorely missed by all. Fortunately, he tells us he’ll still be doing freelance writing, so his unique voice will continue to be heard.

      • Ripon says:

        Smart indeed! Bravo Jim! How time does fly! Yet keep this view ever afresh. I’ll love to die while I’m working. Through work we serve mankind in the best way & then work by getting a vital degree of “service” turns into prayer, worship! A man of achievement never perishes.
        Bravo Jim, I really feel proud of you when I’ve heard that you like to continue work as a freelancer.
        Enjoy the rhythm of life.

        Ripon #

  20. crozzzlinx says:

    everyone grieved to hear news of the Innovator, goodbye Steve

  21. farouk benaissa says:

    que dieu te garde en paradis father’s of the data process
    how we wish if…………………………………………………….
    que diau te protege en hote paradi steve jobs
    thanks for you and your’ fammilly and usa
    the kouks

    • Ripon says:

      Which language is it? So nice to read & more nice to say that I understood nothing except a few English words!
      Maybe it’s the new version of English that late Steve also didn’t dare to blend in such a succulent manner!
      Fantastic evolution!

      Ripon #

      • GPOBookstore says:

        Steve Jobs certainly had an impact on the entire world, so it seemed fitting to post French comments to his honor that roughly translate to “May God keep you in heaven, Father of Data Processing.”

  22. Innovation in government is definitely worth studying and discussing. Thanks for the titles to add to my reading list.


    the US lost a genius, i think that the USA have lost more than one genius.

    • Ripon says:

      I think the USA know how to honor and adore genius; and that’s why the USA are now in the culmination point in leading the world. And more obviously, the USA won’t lack in genius in future also. But Steve! Yes he’ll be remembered with due honor; no doubt – today’s global village is grateful to this genius to a great extent.

      Ripon #

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