Quick review: Creative Selection, by Ken Kocienda
A book on Apple history, interwoven with insights on creative process and outcomes? Sign me up.
Ken Kocienda’s Creative Selection combines an examination of successful software design with Apple history. He’s the right person for the job: as a software engineer and designer at Apple, Kocienda was part of the team that created Apple’s original Safari browser and later, the innovate iPhone and iPad software keyboards.
Unless you count my work on an Apple IIe in 8th grade computer class, I’m not a developer. But I found the book interesting, insightful, and useful. Whatever you create, you can learn something from Kocienda’s framework for why he believed Apple was uniquely positioned to create great software. He shares seven elements he believes set Apple apart:
Inspiration: Thinking big ideas and imagining what might be possible
Collaboration: Working together well with other people and seeking to combine your complementary strengths
Craft: Applying skill to achieve high-quality results and always striving to do better
Diligence: Doing the necessary grunt work and never resorting to shortcuts or half measures
Decisiveness: Making tough choices and refusing to delay or procrastinate
Taste: Developing a refined sense of judgment and finding the balance that produces a pleasing and integrated whole
Empathy: Trying to see the world from other people’s perspectives and creating work that fits into their lives and adapts to their needs
Creative Selection is a worthwhile read whether your interested in Apple history, software design, or fostering an effective creative team environment. (Or all three!) Kocienda speaks from experience and authority as someone who not only had a front row seat to, but a large impact on, some of Apple’s most important software innovations.