A couple of weeks ago, three of my colleagues and I from Digital & Wise attended the iStrategy conference at the home of English rugby, Twickenham. It was a truly brilliant two days, the venue, the speakers, the brands and the amount of people there made it a unique experience and something worthwhile for all those who attended. I could sit here and type all day about how much I learnt, the people I met and what I plan to do as a result, but for your own sanity, I won’t.
I have decided to talk about just one thing I took from the conference, something that I think covers everything that was put across over the two days.
The word simplicity, was prominent from the word go at iStrategy. It began with Ken Segall (@ksegall), the former creative director of Apple and the man who put the i in iMac, iPod, iPad. Throughout his opening keynote speech he spoke passionately of simplicity whilst bashing simplicities mortal enemy complexity. “Being simple is not simple, simple is brains and common sense.” In business if you’re able to portray your message to your customers then it’s because you have set something out for them that is easy to understand and grasp.
In the industry we are in though, one of the biggest challenges we face is being different to the norm. Thinking outside the box is key but, thinking outside the box does not necessarily mean that you have to lose sight of your message. “One should use common words to explain uncommon things” The words of Da Vinci, old they may be, but this is a message that resonates today. Engaging with our audience is vital, talking to them and realising what they want will help build your strategy and product.
If you look at a big business, the process behind developing a project encourages every department to put their ideas on the table and discuss the design. The people who sit on the top of hierarchy are the ones who see the bigger picture and assign the project down the ladder. Is it a coincidence that the biggest consumer product development company on the planet, Apple, was run by a man who had an incredible eye for detail. Steve Jobs was the man who told everyone what their role was, whether you are the creative director or the toilet cleaner Steve was the man who gave you your orders. In most big businesses the CEO passes the details through the layers of the business to a manager who runs around trying to keep all parties happy. With this method the true essence of what you’re trying to achieve is lost.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple after his exile, he scrapped their entire product list and focused on 4 products, 3 were ready to go and the fourth was, coming soon (the iMac)…
If you compare Apple’s laptop range to that of their competitors you will see why they are where they are in the market. Apple currently have 6 laptops in the stores, compared to the 42 Dell have and the 49 HP have. Apple concentrates on making the best products without strangling their resources.
One thing we all must remember is that if you do simplicity well, people will appreciate it more. Simplicity is not a trend, it is a universal preference. The best products are so simple they can be used by two year olds. If you do more, it means your customer has to do less.
At Digital & Wise we pride ourselves on our motto, “No tacky gimmicks, just great advice”. We are passionate about giving expert advice in the digital world and we are constantly trying to improve our knowledge and service. If you want to find out more about D&W please visit our contact page or alternatively you can call us on 0161 946 3851.