Lessons On Designing Innovation

From an interview with Apple's Jonathan Ive at the Radical Craft Conference, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, March 25, 2006

"I think one of the things we are good at as a team is gently moving these fragile ideas along a bit so they become just a little more robust and you can actually start to see what they are. So we go from those sorts of discussions and then we just make lots and lots of prototypes. Then we spend a lot of time at the manufacturing sites. We'll be there right to the end when we're in production."

"If you are going to design something that's going to be truly innovative, my experience has been that this will require the company that's going to make it to change -- often to change fundamentally -- in its approach to how it develops products, how it evaluates them, how it makes them, and how it markets them."

"We try very genuinely to design products that solve problems. They are not about self-expression. What we are trying to do is design something that when you see it you really wonder if it's been designed at all because it seems so obvious and so inevitable and so simple."

"We don't make very much stuff. That's a very important part of our approach to what we do, which is to not do a lot of unnecessary stuff but just to focus and really try very sincerely to care so much about the few things that we do."

"We love taking things to pieces and understanding how they are made. We will figure something out that seems relatively interesting and we'll spend some time in Northern Japan talking to the master about how we can form metal in a certain way. As you truly understand that, that obviously informs your design rather than it just being an arbitrary shape."

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