Updated: May 21, 2020
The departure of Apple's legendary chief design officer Johnny Ive from the technology behemoth has sparked renewed interest in not only Apple's future, but how Ive arrived at the company in the first place.
Ive, then a London-based independent design consultant, was hired by Steve Jobs in 1997. His specialty was in designing home appliances, which was a strange background for someone to start designing computers. When faced with the challenge of hiring a design role today, hiring managers tend to look for previous experience in the same field.
That hiring philosophy was not the one used by Jobs; instead, he looked to the future. As an innovator, Jobs knew that to be different from the other computer manufacturers, Apple had to be designed differently. In other words: "The lesson: When choosing an innovator, look to the future, not the past." In retrospect, hiring Ive was fundamental to Apple's success.
When looking to the future of your company, do you decide based on history, or on possibility? Elements of both perspectives will come into play, but it is important to be driven by the future, not determined by the past.
Look at your business today and its key components:
Now consider each of these in terms of their present condition, and reflect on how they came to be that way. That's the first part, and will be instructive for you to move forward.
Now look to the future of each of these components. What will they look like in two years onwards? Are you building your team for success in those conditions? If the answer is yes, then congratulations! Keep doing this exercise and you're well on your way.
If you are not building capabilities in your team today to succeed in future conditions, you will be swept by more agile and future-oriented businesses. As Jobs did when he hired Ive, look to where your business is going, and hire the people who will take you there, TODAY.