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Steve Jobs Organized Apple to Give Jony Ive Complete Operational Freedom

Yesterday, we highlighted an Associated Press report on Walter Isaacson's forthcoming Steve Jobs biography addressing Jobs' views on Android being a "stolen product" and his commitment to "destroy" the platform at all costs.

The report contains a number of other tidbits from the book, but one other interesting one that has been gaining some attention is Jobs' disclosure that Apple design chief Jony Ive has nearly complete freedom to do as he sees fit, an organizational structure purposely set up by Jobs.
He called Jonathan Ive, Apple's design chief, his "spiritual partner" at Apple. He told Isaacson that Ive had "more operation power" at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself -- that there's no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, says Jobs, is "the way I set it up."
Ive, Apple's Senior Vice President for Industrial Design, has been at Apple for nearly twenty years, the last fifteen of those as design chief. In his role, he has been responsible for essentially all of the iconic product designs that have come out of the company over that time. At the end of Jobs' tenure as CEO earlier this year, Ive was one of seven senior vice presidents at Apple to report directly to Jobs.

Ive's team is said to operate out of a secretive high-tech lab on Apple's campus where he is given ultimate flexibility in his work, a standing earned through his team's creation of numerous iconic products and a plethora of design awards. And while Ive's design work ultimately must mesh with the hardware requirements coming out of Apple's engineering groups under Bob Mansfield, it's clear from Jobs' comments that Ive is free to pursue his own design solutions for Apple products. That freedom ultimately helps to guard against a watering-down effect that could occur if his designs were subject to the approval of and revision by others in the company.



Top Rated Comments

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99 months ago
Well, the man's track record speaks for itself.
Rating: 75 Votes
99 months ago
Sometimes the best way to lead is to hire smart people and just let them do their… er, jobs.
Rating: 53 Votes
99 months ago
Let's hope Jony Ive stays at Apple for a very long time. That would be another sad departure.
Rating: 47 Votes
99 months ago
Good, 'cause I like that fellow
Rating: 44 Votes
99 months ago
Best job in the universe...

design cool stuff, no one tells you what to do, get paid millions to do it.

nice.
Rating: 42 Votes
99 months ago
Jobs clearly understands the evils of 'design-by-committee.'
Rating: 32 Votes
99 months ago
Not surpring for a creative function

In well run organizations, the creative types are often separated from the other types as they need the autonomy to do their work. Also, the creatives often don't fit in with the more business focused/operations people -- both types can be an inhibition to each others work
Rating: 26 Votes
99 months ago
As someone who has personally witnessed enough 'design by committee' to last a lifetime, this is very refreshing to hear.

I'm not saying that all designers should just have carte blanche to do whatever they see fit (as that too can lead to just as many problems), but it kills me every time I see a great design changed (or even scrapped entirely) because it doesn't meet some arbitrary demand insisted upon by a dick from Marketing.
Rating: 24 Votes
99 months ago
This is how all design should be. Products catered to please the people at the top are always watered down and never achieve the designers intended look. Give a designer ultimate freedom and you get art.
Rating: 21 Votes
99 months ago
Always liked Ive. It's nice for a Brit to have contributed so much to the world around us today.
Rating: 21 Votes

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