Sunday, January 31, 2010

Auteur Design

 Today, a link to an article from the New York Times about Apple and design that, at least to me, has words that ring true. While I think the author is misrepresenting wisdom of the crowd and he completely ignores customers and users—the only ones we design for, after all—he shines a light on the very idiosyncratic, weird, personal parts of creativity that I think are very important. The  strange combination of data and instinct. The power of one person to make an impact. The thoughtfulness and deliberation. And to some extent, the loneliness.

For me, during the process of design, there is constant tension. It's a three way tug of war between what I learn and hear from others, what I know exists, and what I want to be. All three change my mind, change the thing I'm designing. That's not just when I'm working on the website or catalog. It's during any act of creativity. Writing, cooking, even, I daresay, designing a training program. After all, when it's done well, I firmly believe business is an act of creativity.


The fashionable recipe for nurturing new ideas these days emphasizes a kind of Internet-era egalitarianism that celebrates the “wisdom of the crowd” and “open innovation.”

In the auteur model there is a tight connection between the personality of the project leader and what is created.

Mr. Jobs, of course, is one member of a large team at Apple, even if he is the leader.

Great products, according to Mr. Jobs, are triumphs of “taste.” And taste, he explains, is a byproduct of study, observation and being steeped in the culture of the past and present, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then bring those things into what you are doing.”

The Jobs formula, say colleagues, relies heavily on tenacity, patience, belief and instinct.

He is also a skilled listener to the technology to judge when an intriguing innovation is ready for the marketplace.

1 comment:

Michael Herbst said...

Hi Mo,

You might resonate with this one:

Robert Quinn (Ross Professor) is behind it, has lots of good links to positive organizational growth, bigger-hearted and more intuitive/creative than most of the stuff I've run across regarding the necessary and already-present connections between management/business and creativity.

Keep up the good work - ZMO is an inspiration,