February 23, 2015 - Comments Off on Creativity is key to success and it doesn’t come easy or quick
If you haven't read The New Yorker's "The Shape of Things to Come", a profile on Jony Ives, it's a fascinating read. There are some great stories in there and some very rare accounts by designers who work for Jony. But what fascinates me, as a Creative Director, is going through the timeline from when the iMac was released in 1998, when Jony had been in charge for almost 2 years, to when the iPhone was released in 2007. It took over 10 years and 3 amazing products (iMac, iPod, and iPhone) for the design team to become "the hub of the wheel," according to Bob Mansfield.
Typically, Robert Brunner explained, design had been “a vertical stripe in the chain of events” in a product’s delivery; at Apple, it became “a long horizontal stripe, where design is part of every conversation.”
So, this idea of design as a central component to a company didn't come easy or quick, even for Apple, and even with a figure like Steve Jobs as CEO. There's something very comforting in knowing that it was struggle, even for Apple.
But using the word "design" is partially misleading, because what really is the hub of Apple is creativity. And putting creativity at the core of the company is really what makes the difference.
Jon Stewart has been in the headlines recently for his announcement that he's leaving The Daily Show after 17 years. But did you know he almost quit many times in the first few years? After Jon took the job, it seems no one told the senior writing staff about his change in vision and they were a little ticked off with the new host's ideas.
“I walk in the door, into a room with the writers and producers, and the first thing they say is ‘this isn’t some MTV bullshit’…. And then I was told not to change the jokes or improvise,”
It took Jon almost 2 and half years for the “natural winnowing process” to leave him with a staff that shared his creative vision, and thus for The Daily Show to become what we all know and love 1.
Stories like this give me great hope on the most frustrating of days. So the next time you feel like the company simply doesn't "get it", remember how even some of the legends of creativity took years to build the foundations of strong design and creativity in their respective fields. And if that doesn't help, at least you don't work for Samsung.