By Ed Roberts
A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
I respect Steve Jobs’ and what he was able to accomplish in 56 years. It takes nothing less than a visionary with an open and questioning mind to change the way billions of people live. With the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984 and all the subsequent innovative breakthroughs and launches, Steve Jobs’ vision, creativity and general badassness has made living our lives—especially designers—easier and with a greater degree of global connectedness. That’s pretty damn cool.
But what if Steve Jobs chose to live his life void of those diverse experiences? Might the very concept of Apple and all the innovations that followed be imprisoned or even lost in the crevices of a mind simply not willing to expand beyond its familiar? I’m certain of one thing, if Steve Jobs lived closed to all the diverse experiences he encountered, his life would not be as revered today.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed collaborating with some incredibly talented and diverse people. I’ve learned a great deal from their contributions and respected the level of energy and passion they brought to our collaborations. My passion for design—even in-house—comes from the opportunity it affords me in researching, exploring and interpreting fresh solutions to a problem. I personally value the education I receive from designing something that was once unfamiliar to me.
Steve Jobs is a great example of a visionary, in-house design manager. Let’s follow his lead and embrace diversity. It will not only make us smarter designers, but also better human beings.