Harmut Esslinger, the man who made more of an impact on Apple’s design philosophy than anyone who isn’t named Jobs, is releasing a book called Keep it Simple later this month. In this book, Esslinger gives an inside look at the development of the iconic Apple brand. He shares the story of how he convinced Steve Jobs to let him build and head-up the first design department within Apple. Not only that, Esslinger convinced Jobs that he and the other designers should report solely to those at the top, namely Jobs himself.
“…bottom-up design never succeeds, because even good efforts by departments within such systems remain insulated within the layers of the company’s organizational structure and everything really new, courageous and potentially game-changing is destroyed by its passage through ‘the gates of rejection.’” (excerpt from Quartz.com)
The lesson that Jobs took to heart was that if you are serious about something like design, not only should it have a seat at the table, it should be driving the conversation at the highest level. The strata of organizational hierarchy serves to standardize and align thinking, not necessarily to bring new ideas to the surface.
So if you are serious about internal communication, about getting your company to align to a strategy or goal, maybe you should be thinking about elevating it, not just with words, but within the organization itself.