Yesterday I wrote about a key question that every business should ask, inspired by a post on Medium discussing the approach Steve Jobs took to product development at Apple. When I was done with the post, my brain continued on that path for a while. As I thought about it more, Apple's latest ad campaign came to mind.
Despite the campaign being dinged a bit, I liked it. Particularly the opening video from WWDC 2013. I felt it gave us a look behind the curtain that we were blocked off from before. It shows us the ethos of Apple in plain terms. While this might not be doing much for viewers, I think it is important in that it states very clearly what Apple's intentions are for their products and through this statement, it holds them more accountable to these intentions. Especially with having said them so publicly.
In the tv spot, Apple shares three questions they consider when designing a new product:
How will it make someone feel?
Will it make life better?
Does it deserve to exist?
The print version asks similar questions.
As I considered these questions further, I couldn't help but wonder what the world would be like if every company more seriously asked these questions about their own products. Would the world look the same as it does today if we thought harder about what we're making and how it would effect people in both the immediate and long term?
Apple asks these questions because their solitary focus is on what the experience of the product is for the user and then honing that product experience until it enhances every life it touches. That's no small task, but it is absolutely one worth pursuing. Beyond their products, I hope they also ask these same questions and have this same intention for everything they do, from their production process to their employee policies to their marketing materials and beyond.
With that, I think Apple's intention is one more companies should pursue in earnest. What if every company sought to enhance every life they touched above and before any other goal of the business? What if when they couldn't answer yes to these questions, they went back to the drawing board until they could?
While this might seem like an impossible ideal, I think it's one worth all of us working towards more diligently. Let's work harder to start making things better. Let's start asking bigger questions.
The next time you get briefed on a new project for a client, instead of asking what the ad or the Facebook content should be, start by asking what actions the brand could take to make people's lives better. Then let the content produced by those actions become the ads.
If you're lucky enough to be a part of new product and service design, let's start asking bigger, better, longer-thinking questions before the product gets produced. Let's stop thinking moment by moment and start thinking about the future and what kind of impact we're having on the world through what we create today for the generations that will come after us.
I know it's a lot to ask, but again, I think it's absolutely worth the effort. And while seemingly impossible, I don't think we should let that stand in our way. To a large degree, the standards and ideals that many of the world's major religions hold their followers accountable to are also pretty impossible, yet billions of people have chosen to purse them anyway.
If billions of people are willing to pursue impossible to achieve religious ideals, I say let's give this ideal for businesses our best shot. What do we have to lose?