Experientia: “Why you cannot innovate like Apple.”

apple logo, apple

apple logo, apple

You might consider not reading another article about this company, but be aware! This one is fundamentally different. You will gain insights into the true spirit of apple design processes to innovate.What else does Apple do differently?

If you read the various interviews that Jobs and Jonathan Ive (Senior Vice President, Industrial Design at Apple) have given over the last few years, you’ll find a few specific trends:

1. Apple does not do market research. This is straight from Jobs’ mouth: We do no market research. They scoff at the notion of target markets, and they don’t conduct focus groups. Why? Because everything Apple designs is based on Jobs’ and his team’s perceptions of what they think is cool. He elaborates:

“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. An>Yd I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do. So you can’t go out and ask people, you know, what’s the next big [thing.] There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.’’’

Said another way, Jobs hires really smart people, and he lets them loose—but on a leash, since he overlooks it all with an extremely demanding eye. If you’re seeing visions of the “Great Eye” from J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, then you probably wouldn’t be too far off. Here’s the way their simple process works:

Start with a gut sense of an opportunity, and the conversations start rolling.

What do we hate?

A: Our cell phones.

What do we have the technology to make?

A: A cell phone with a Mac inside.

What would we like to own?

A: An iPhone, what else?

But Jobs also explained that in this specific conversation, there were big debates across the organization about whether or not they could and should do it. Ultimately, he looked around and said, “Let’s do it.”

I think it’s clear they also benefit from the inauspicious “leak” to the market. By that I mean this overly tight-lipped organization occasionally leaks early ideas to the market to see what kind of response they might generate. Again, what other company benefits from having thousands of adoring designers come up with beautifully rendered concepts of what they think the next great product should look like?

2. Apple has a very small team who designs their major products. Look at Ive and his team of a dozen to 20 designers who are the brains behind the genius products that Apple has delivered to the market since the iMac back in 1998. New product development is not farmed out across the organization, but instead is creatively driven by this select group of world-class designers.

Jobs himself has delegated away many of his day-to-day operational responsibilities to enable himself to focus half of his week on the high- and very low-level development efforts for specific products.

3. Apple owns their entire system. They are completely independent of reliance on anyone else to provide inputs to the design and development of their products. They own the OS, they own the software, and they own the hardware. No other consumer electronics organization can easily do what Apple does because they own all of the technology and control the intimate interactions that ultimately become the total user experience. There is no other way to ensure such a seamless experience—a single executive calls the final shots for every single component.

4. Apple focuses on a select group of products. Apple acts like a small boutique and develops beautiful, artistic products in a manner that makes it very difficult to scale up to broad and extensive product lines. Part of this is due to the level of attention to detail provided by their small teams of designers and engineers. To think that a multi-billion dollar company only has 30 major products is astounding, because their neighbors at that level of revenues have thousands of products in hundreds of different SKUs.

As Jobs explains, this is the focus that enables them to bring such an extensive level of attention to excellence. But it is also an inherently risky enterprise, because they are limited in what new product areas they can invest in if one fails.

5. Apple has a maniacal focus on perfection. They say Jobs had the marble for the floor at the New York Apple store shipped to California first so he could examine the veins. He also complained about the chamfer radius on the plastic case of an early prototype of the Macintosh. You had better believe, given the 10 to 3 to 1 approach for design, that every shadow, every pixel is scrutinized. It’s in their DNA.

They are willing to spend the money to make sure everything is perfect, because that is their mission.

Link to full article:
“You can´t innovate like Apple does”.

 

First seen on putting people first (http://www.experientia.com/blog) original from pragmatic marketing mag ( http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com)
Some bites from the article “You can´t innovate like Apple does”.