Designer David Kelley Discusses “Design Thinking” And Relationship With Steve Jobs

Yesterday, 60 Minutes profiled designer and founder of IDEO David Kelley. In the segment, Kelley discussed a number of high profile projects, including Apple’s first mouse. He also touched on his relationship with Steve Jobs and explained what “design thinking” is all about.

During the interview, Kelley explained that “design thinking” incorporates human behavior into product design. It primarily involves empathy for the consumer, which means figuring out what people want by observing their behavior when using a piece of software or technology. Important to the process of “design thinking” is collaboration and brainstorming between a bunch of people with different backgrounds, including software engineers, journalists, doctors, opera singers, and more.

In 1978, Kelley’s firm IDEO was contracted by Apple’s cofounder Steve Jobs to develop the company’s first mouse, a single-button trackball design that was unique and easy to use. Kelley’s company collaborated on dozens of Apple products, including the Apple III and the Lisa.

Although Jobs wasn’t the focus of the interview, he was mentioned a number of times. Kelley and Jobs worked closely together for 30 years and became close friends. At one point the discussion turned to Kelley’s battle with throat cancer, which coincided with Jobs’ own battle with pancreatic cancer. When Kelley was diagnosed and given a 40 percent chance of survival, Jobs advised Kelley to go right to Western medicine and not bother with holistic treatments. Jobs was known to have tried herbal remedies before moving to more conventional cancer treatments.

The full interview is embedded above, where you can hear more about Kelley’s innovative design products and his relationship with Steve Jobs.

Kaylie lives in Ottawa and got her first Mac in 2007 and is now a fan for life.