McKinsey Quarterly’s Editorial Director Rick Tetzeli discussed the creative process with Jony Ive, the former design head of Apple, in a recent instalment of The Quarterly Interview: Provocations to Ponder (a series by McKinsey & Company). This interview was written and edited by Tracy Francis, a senior partner with McKinsey.
In the interview, Tetzeli and Ive talk about the importance of good relationships between CEOs and designers, acknowledging the challenges that can sometimes come with this dynamic. Ive notes,
The most effective relationship you can have is when you work with somebody who has a practical—not academic—understanding of creating.
He goes on to say:
Founders are creatives by definition—they had the idea behind a company.
Some of the most creative people I’ve worked with have been in engineering and in marketing, not just design. And some of the most dogmatic people I’ve met have been in marketing, design, and engineering [laughs]. The most important thing is that there is a true appetite to create—and with that, consequently, a motivation to really try to understand the nature of the process, to understand what curiosity looks like, and to understand what the impediments to creating can be.
The pair also recognise the nuances of creating in a corporate environment. Ive says:
For many people, the creative process can be an unfamiliar one. So people often try to institutionalize the process, as if, like many activities, you can just review it on a spreadsheet.
Ive also talks about a feeling that all creatives know well: being unable to predict when your next idea will come to you.
I find the nature of creating both terrifying and wonderful. And I am the luckiest guy in the world to be able to participate in that process with others. I love the idea that there is, on one day, no idea. On Tuesday, there’s no idea. But on Thursday, there’s an idea. And the terrifying thing is, which Thursday?
Once an idea has been conceived, there is a long way to go before it is realised. Ive says, ‘The difference between an idea and a product is that you’ve solved the problems.’ The challenge, therefore, is in navigating the space between the idea and the product.
Towards the end of the article, Ive says something that we relate to here at Novagram: ‘I love working with people who are curious. I can work very closely and very effectively with anyone who’s curious.’
With that being said, if you’re a curious person, with an idea that needs to be brought to life, we’d love to hear from you.
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