I wonder if you have noticed something about the world of business? You may have not noticed it as this feature of business life is pervasive, so enduring, that lies in the background. I found myself reawakened to this feature recently.
Some consultants and sales folks were carrying around and using the standard issue company owned laptops made by the likes of Dell, IBM, HP, Toshiba…. Others were carrying around and using Apple MacBook laptops (Air, Pro) – they had purchased these themselves out of their own money.
What is it that I observed? I noticed that the consultants and sales people using Apple MacBook laptops handled their laptops as if these were sacred objects. I noticed these folks look, actually look, at their MacBooks as I look at landscapes that catch my eye and take my breath away. I noticed that these folks displayed their MacBooks so that all could see. And I noticed that these folks carried their MacBooks with a certain kind of pride. Most importantly, I noticed a certain kind of affection, even reverence, between the consultants and their MacBooks.
What about the consultants and sales people carrying around the corporate issue laptops made by the likes of Dell, IBM, HP, Toshiba..? I noticed these folks showed no pride, no reverence, no affection for their laptops. They treated them as functional machines – mere tools to do a job. They dragged them out of their cases. They plonked them on the table. When not using them them ‘hid’ them by putting papers on top of them….
Have you figured out what feature of the business world I am talking about? I am talking about the lack of beauty in the world of business! I am talking about:
- conversations devoid of the beauty of genuine human warmth-friendliness;
- products that function yet are devoid of beauty;
- offices that are devoid of colour, fragrance, plants, flowers and have the feel of a factory in many ways;
- call-centres in run down parts of the country where the human spirit sinks as the body arrives for work;
- retail stores that have the look and feel of hospitals….
I notice that some folks have been putting Apple down due to the lack of innovative industry making, coffer filling-overflowing, products. This may be the case.
I notice that the same folks that put down Apple for its lack of innovation point towards Samsung for its innovation especially in the area of smartphones. What I have not yet experienced is an Apple customer handing in their iPhone for a Samsung Galaxy. Why not? It occurs to me that Samsung products lack that which pervades the Apple products: beauty that calls forth awe, affection, even reverence.
How can you and your organisation cater for and meet one of the most fundamental human needs: beauty? If you have got around to designing customer experiences then ask yourself if you have even considered this need for beauty?