Last week saw the shock announcement that Sir Jony Ive is to leave Apple to fly solo in the form of a new standalone design studio, LoveFrom. We wait with bated breath for further news. Meanwhile, we can relax and reminisce on how Ive has fundamentally changed our relationships with technology.
His design portfolio for Apple is as vast as it is enviable. A catalogue of products (and packaging) demonstrating a consistent pared-back beauty, yet more so, an awe-inspiring, delivery of intuitive pleasure in their use. We’re all intimately familiar with his work, but what could we, in professional services, learn from Sir Jony?
'Different’ and ‘new’ is relatively easy. Doing something that’s genuinely better is very hard.
I believe the answer to this question lies in the way Ive approached all of his projects, with ambitions of the outcome seemingly “inevitable, obvious, uncontrived, and natural”.
If only professional services firms applied the same ambition to the way in which they design and deliver services that are more than just “different” or “new”. This is the next brand battleground for firms. Those that can demonstrate a relentless pursuit and create “genuinely better” experiences for clients, prospects and employees will be more successful.
Professional services industries face many challenges, including commoditisation, technology transformation and integration, and the ever-present battle for talent. But perhaps one of the most underestimated is that of homogenisation. Firms either don’t believe they can, or don’t want to be different. “Client–centricity” and “employer brands” are two ubiquitous corporate programmes under board discussion, but they are often considered more in terms of a minimum viable outcome.
Interactions between an organisation or individual can be simpler, they can be more useful, and as a result, they can be more distinctive. Be to do this, firms have to move beyond platitudes and embrace new ways of doing things. It’s time to ‘Think Different’.