updated 12:20 pm EDT, Fri July 10, 2009
Jonathan Ive talks success
Jonathan Ive, the often quiet and reserved head of Apple's design team, discussed the company's drive for success with a group of about 700 Londoners including a BusinessWeek writer. He suggested other companies should not attempt to copy Apple's success, and instead believes companies should define their own "raison d'ętre" -- the French saying, which means "reason for being". He went on to say the reason for Apple's strong following is a testament to the company's belief that a business should focus on the quality of its products.
"'Different' and 'new' is relatively easy. Doing something that's genuinely better is very hard," said Ive.
Although he did not specify any companies, Ive did say that many companies only focus on releasing new products instead of genuinely improving products and, in doing so, waste large quantities of time and resources. The well-known Apple designer additionally believes a company needs a support system of employees with the same core values in order to become successful.
"We don't have identity manuals reminding us of points of philosophy for why our company exists," he said of Apple's internal culture. He went on to say that without employee commitment to innovation or heartfelt design, it will be impossible for a business to build an innovation-led culture such as Apple's.
"There's a list of reasons it was somebody else's fault other than the designer's." He said of flawed competitor's products. "If you really do care about the quality of what ends up getting made, wouldn't you find an answer, some sort of alternative, and somehow figure out a way to take your idea and do something with it?"