Quote from Steve Jobs: There is a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That is crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they are doing, you say Wow and soon you are cooking up all sorts of ideas. Unquote
Walter Isaacson in his insightful book about this amazing and mercurial man, says that despite Jobs being a denizen of the digital world he knew all too well its isolating potential. While Job’s way of creating innovation may have been more in-your-face than most of us would subscribe to, Apple’s amazing innovations came from these face-to-face encounters.
Isaacson said that Jobs designed his buildings for both Apple and Pixar so that employees would bump into each other, that when they stepped out of their office they would be right in a common atrium. Jobs even tried to have only two washrooms in the Pixar building (Hey, another meeting place!) The head of Pixar studios, John Lasseter said, “Steve’s theory worked from day one…I kept running into people I hadn’t seen in months. I’ve never seen a building that promoted collaboration and creativity as well as this one.”
We were at Davos, sitting next to Larry Paige and he told us about ‘the Google Walk.’ An alert pops up on people’s computer, devices, that simply says “Google walk” and people get up from their seats and go to a designated meeting place on the Google campus. Whoever shows up goes for a walk, and it’s how ideas bump into one and other.
So it’s interesting that people like Jobs and Paige are “denizens of the digital world”, or maybe because he knew all too well the isolating potential.
Photo from: http://www.dpr.com/projects/corporate-office/detail.cfm?ProjectID=34