Last night I heard a story on NPR about the creative partnership of Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive.

Some excerpts I found noteworthy:

The two men seemed to agree on a basic philosophy about design and products.

This is critical to any partnership.  In fact, you can’t have an effective partnership without this.  It may work in the short term but partnerships that last need to be aligned philosophically.

Ive says when he thinks about design he thinks about details that matter to users.

I believe this has a lot to do with Apple’s success.  Most companies view product development from the developer’s point of view and don’t give enough consideration to users.  All you have to do is look to where the innovation is coming from to see evidence for this.  Who is creating the “hot” products?  Where is the buzz coming from?  Who is thriving in this economy?  How does this happen?  Being hip and creating buzz is not the point of Apple’s approach but it helps get your ideas to market and ultimately improves sales.  In the story Ive is quoted that a lack of consideration for users shows that designers don’t care.

Both Ive and Jobs believe that the hardware must work together seamlessly with the software.  The iPod and the iPhone are part of a system that includes a music store, a video store, and a book store.

In retrospect this may not seem as revolutionary as it really was.  Apple was simultaneously creating a device that would completely change the way consumers enjoy music, television, and movies and creating a mechanism that enabled users to seamlessly purchase media for this device.  The device was not created separately from the store.  They were developed at the same time.  This is a great example of design thinking.  Continuing to ask questions.  Continuing to challenge assumptions.  Continuing to recognize and create new opportunities.

In case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of this kind of thinking.