When it comes to innovation, perspective is all-important. That’s the most vivid lesson former Apple CEO John Sculley learned from Steve Jobs when the two worked closely together in the early 1980s.
“We would walk around the Apple campus,” Sculley recalls. “Steve loved to walk and talk.” During one of these strolls, Jobs outlined a theory he had developed for Sculley, one he’d affectionately named "zooming."
First, you approach any given problem with as wide a lens as possible, a technique that ideally “stretched the boundaries, that even went into totally different domains,” Sculley says. Such over-the-top big-picture thinking, Jobs found, encouraged novel connections and unearthed innovative solutions.
Next came zooming in, i.e. laser-focusing on how to implement these new solutions in as minimal and elegant a fashion as possible. For Jobs, simplification was just as important, if not more so, than finding the solution in the first place.
“If you look at everything Apple does, it’s constantly reducing the steps,” Sculley says. “Steve used to say, technology can either be beautiful – and he was a fanatic about making products that could be as beautiful as possible – or technology should be invisible, which means simplifying.”
Watch this video to hear Sculley explain how Jobs’ zooming technique transformed desktop publishing.