Rare interview with Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, rarely gives interviews, and so it’s exciting to discover that he recently spoke to the London Evening Standard about his design work at Apple.

Here is my favourite highlight from his interview:

… most of our competitors are interesting in doing something different, or want to appear new – I think those are completely the wrong goals.  A product has to be genuinely better.  This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us – a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better.  Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different – they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.

I also love his thoughts about the creative process:

The nature of having ideas and creativity is incredibly inspiring.  There is an idea which is solitary, fragile and tentative and doesn’t have form.

What we’ve found here is that it then becomes a conversation, although remains very fragile.  When you see the most dramatic shift is when you transition from an abstract idea to a slightly more material conversation.

But when you made a 3D model, however crude, you bring form to a nebulous idea, and everything changes – the entire process shifts.  It galvanises and brings focus from a broad group of people.  It’s a remarkable process.

I’m reminded of this comment he made in his eulogy to Steve Jobs:

… while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.

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