A few weeks ago, Businessweek published an article that caught my eye: Where MBAs Learn The Art Of Blue-Skying. For the longest time, high-tech has produced entrepreneurs and CEOs who are, for the most part, nerds. Fairly unidimensional, Silicon Valley is not known for its taste. It is known for its amazing talent in figuring out physics and electronics. BUT.
The but factor is Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs has taste. Exquisite taste. The staircase at the office of NeXT Computer (that salvaged Apple, eventually) was designed by I.M. Pei, one of the most fundamental thinkers in the history of architecture. And hence, it is no surprise that Steve Jobs is the one who comes up with the iPod, or, for that matter, the NeXT computer. (When I was in college, there was a “shrine” for a single NeXT machine in the computer science department at Smith College.) NeXT was a slick black animal, panther-like, precise, crisp. All those words that evoke imagery of salivating women. To me, the design of NeXT was like Pugliese, one of the greatest maestros of Argentine tango music.
According to Businessweek, “If you are looking for a business school that teaches you how to think creatively, design new products and services, manage your innovations through a corporate bureaucracy, or present them to outside angel investors, Fontainebleau, France-based INSEAD, the leading European business-school just outside Paris, may be just the place. INSEAD has joined with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California to offer a joint program that teaches the role of creativity in business decisions, how innovation really works, and why design may be as important to corporate management today as Six Sigma was in the 1990s. A Swiss trustee who sits on both boards brought them together.”
I am delighted. The marriage of business savvy with design and creativity is essential. For example, I am frustrated that the Toyota Prius has not been able to come up with a better design. The world’s top-selling hybrid car is an ugly piece of industrial design.
Of course, it would be great if the fashion business learned some business, too! It would at least help them in staying . . . well . . . alive?