One surprising thing about Ive’s approach is that conversation, rather than sketches, is how he often begins a project. Thinking—and then speaking about that thinking—is the raw material he works with. “Language is so powerful,” Ive says. “If [I say] I’m going to design a chair, think how dangerous that is. Because you’ve just said chair, you’ve just said no to a thousand ideas.
“This is where it gets exciting,” he says. “You have an idea—which is unproven and isn’t resolved, since a resolved idea is a product—and the only tangible thing about the idea are the problems. When someone says it’s not possible, and all you are being shown is why it’s not possible, you have to think and behave in a different way. [You have to say], from a place of courage, I believe it is possible.
“I love making things that are profoundly useful,” he adds. “I’m a very practical craftsperson.”
[I apologize for the paywall… but this particular bit registers so tightly with me. Thinking and discussing are so important to my design of anything. And not just the “saying no” part by using certain words and making choices. But the malleable, mutable nature of ideas as words is profound.]