The Godfather Of Experience (Design)

Apple had it right from the beginning, and Steve Jobs is the godfather of experience design.

Looking at his accomplishments not only did he set the tone and bar for digital transformation but more importantly innovation. We went from annual (or longer) movements in innovation to quarterly expectations dictated by the street and of course people’s appetite (for products, services, entertainment, etc).

Before Steve transformative innovation was left to large organizations (IBM, GE, etc) before that…government.

Innovation has nothing to do with how many R & D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R & D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.
— steve jobs

“…it’s about people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it” <- simple but powerful.

Steve understood people didn’t want to be told, they want to feel, and the impact of a well articulated story had marrit. But that meant everything around the product or service that was being sold had to be aligned to a vision. Every aspect of the organization was clear in its destined goal and every aspect of the journey was an expectation.

Today leadership across industries understands the evolution of technology changed relationships between people and brands, but more importantly the role of the customer. Customers are in control but the ability to move with the times is in the Brand’s control. So how we build products, market, and establish a clear role with customers many times depends on the ability for the business to answer the basics,

  • Who is your customer

  • What problem are you solving

  • What is your solution

  • What do you want people to do?

  • Do your teams understand the above to act?

Apple forced people to rethink technologies’ role. It wasn’t about the technology but the impact of the technology as it solved a problem. In Steve’s vision it was about helping people surface the stuff that made life a little sweeter. Connecting and capturing life’s moments while sharing them.

It was Apple’s iphone launch that forced corporate culture to look at their own experiences from product design, delivery, how it worked etc., - apple’s brand resonated with all people .

The message was a demo and it was magical…It felt like he was bringing the future forward…

If you’re gonna make connections which are innovative... you have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does.
— steve jobs

Steve Jobs changed how siloed organizations functioned to rally around a vision that put customers at center of their digital life. That’s the key to Brand success in today’s market. Many captains of industry talk about the 4th Industrial Revolution for example. This isn’t a fairytale or marketing speak its a reality. The Evolution of Technology has changed relationships, how we do business and the state of the customer. Innovation is a catch-all term in how businesses are willing to rethink, change their models in response to this new customer.

— tim cook

A very emotional keynote for anyone that remembers this launch.


Here is the problem…Success means growth, to grow you have to adopt change, if you want to move at the speed of today’s market you have to build a culture that is flexible enough to absorb data and act on it (aka change!). Now, Innovation is a by-product of your brand’s ability to absorb change and make incremental changes daily (and evolve), or revolutionary changes to disrupt (with big ideas). @Meaningful Place we have distilled what matters most into to key functional elements.

  1. Start with your brand and clarify your story.

  2. Take the story and brand pillars and infuse them into your go to market, how you interact with customers, your ability to connect with your audience, interact with them and get them to understand the value of your solution.

  3. Staff are People too and at the heart of your continued growth, to grow they need to understand and act on the brands promise.

For the above to be effective you have to think about the impact of tactics on the people as a total experience. Now experiences can feel complicated and intangible unless you anchor them into simple pillars.

authenticy, clarity, effectiveness.

and there are three experiences that matter to growth.

  • brand experience

  • customer experience

  • corporate experience

Each is dependent on the other, but together they will help you grow.

Coming up next…

“The Augmented Customer”