If you missed Malcolm Gladwell's article, Creation Myth: Xerox PARC, Apple, and the Truth about Innovation, in the May 16 issue of The New Yorker, then you should tune into a recent episode of NPR's All Things Considered. In this seven-minute interview, Gladwell talks about Steve Jobs and his now legendary visit to Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center in the late 70s.
As the story goes, Jobs visited the research center and saw a demonstration of Xerox's $300 three-button computer mouse. Inspired by what he saw, Jobs brought the concept to industrial designer Dean Hovey. Hovey improved upon the concept and developed a single-button mouse that cost a mere $15 to build. This mouse became the center point of a new graphical user interface similar to one demoed at Xerox. This hardware and software eventually evolved into the now iconic Macintosh.
Unlike many who accuse Jobs of stealing the idea from Xerox, Gladwell distinguishes between invention and innovation. Xerox may have been the inventor, but Apple was the innovator and ran with the concept.