Before Steve Jobs: 5 Corporate Innovators who Shaped Our World

The former head of Apple comes from a long line of American innovators who changed society

In 1912, as the HMS Titanic was going down, Sarnoff was involved with using early radio equipment to transmit information about the ship’s demise. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis)

Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca
(Bettmann / Corbis)
Iacocca is one of few innovators that match Jobs’ penchant for inspiring consumer desire through original design. At Ford, he led the creation of the legendary Mustang, redefining the concept of a muscle car for a generation of Americans.

“It wasn't such a great car in terms of technology, but it really was a great car in terms of capturing the imagination in design,” Allison says. Iacocca’s greatest talent was anticipating the next big thing and selling it to the mainstream. “He captured the pulse of America at the time, and rode that in much the same way that the iPod did,” says Allison.

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