Friday, 25 May 2012
Design as a Mission
Another Jonathan, Mr Ive, the british design guru at Apple HQ, received a knighthood this week. Like many people, I heard him interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. In answer to one question, Sir Jonathan was talking about the importance of design and the culture of purpose at Apple, essentially saying it was the driver to making money rather than subsidiary to it. For most organisations, especially tech companies, such a business 'mission' statement would sound implausible.
However in Apple, it is not just a sentence on a piece of paper. Nor is it even just about the products they make, although these are the most visible examples of it. It is actually demonstrated in many more ways. Their retail stores are another example, where designs are incredible including glass domes, glass staircases and other distinctive architectural features. Corporate design finesse is also represented by the new campus they are building, and even their huge data centres. Together with their internal 'university' re-enforcing the corporate culture, their mantra of 'start by designing the best - the customers will buy it - the company will make money' - is not only plausible but highly successful.