Make It Like Apple
There is no one in the auto industry who doesn’t, at some level, have respect for Apple.
This is particularly true among the design community, which often shakes its collective head in wonder at how well the company executes its design-centric products. After all, Apple is addressing the mass market just like they are, and while there is an entirely different set of parameters that the automotive designs must address, and while the stakes are considerably higher not only from a career standpoint, but from an investment position, as well (it takes a whole lot more to tool a car than an iPhone), it is event that Apple goes above and beyond the work that most of its competitors are doing.
A piece on Fast Company’s Co.Design site provides some important insight for those who are interested in how Apple does what it does, as it is based on an interview with a former Apple designer, Mark Kawano.
And this, I think, is key to the secret of Apple’s success:
“It's actually the engineering culture, and the way the organization is structured to appreciate and support design. Everybody there is thinking about UX and design, not just the designers. And that’s what makes everything about the product so much better...much more than any individual designer or design team.”
Yes, there are talented designers on staff in Cupertino. But there is that engineering culture that is the basis of the cleverly wonderful products, a team of people who are all dedicated to the mission of excellence in execution.
Having a designer like Jony Ive is certainly valuable.
Having an entire organization that is appreciative of the importance of design is priceless.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
By James Gaffney, Product Engineer, Precision Grinding and Patrick D. Redington, Manager, Precision Grinding Business Unit, Norton Company (Worcester, MA)
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.