Tim Kobe is a design leader, author and founder of the globally recognized strategic and experience design firm Eight Inc. We tracked him down for a quick interview ahead of our Bravest Conference in Singapore on 30 October.
What’s your golden rule?
Focus on human outcomes. Successful human outcomes lead to successful business outcomes.
Who has been your biggest inﬂuence?
Besides my parents, I would say the people I have been fortunate to be with. Clients and colleagues, those who believe design deﬁnes human progress.
What is your most hated business expression?
When accountants ask about anything that beneﬁts the experience of the user and if it is a “frill”.
How can marketers be braver?
I am not sure where fear comes from with respect to marketers. If you behave with honesty and integrity, you never have anything to fear. Marketers who trade in deception are working in a bygone era in my view and do not understand we don’t live in that era any longer. Marketers who trade in human experience have nothing to fear.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
To send my white paper for Apple retail to Steve Jobs.
Which leader do you admire most and why?
Steve Jobs. To say he was an extraordinary person in an ordinary world is an understatement. He was loved and hated because of his view of how technology should inform progress. This was unique. Sadly we are slowly slipping back to the typical way of thinking about technology. To a pre-Steve Jobs mentality. Today we live 51% of our lives in space (cyberspace), where everyone is connected and no one is in charge.
Thomas Friedman describes this condition as our age of acceleration, “today we have the tools where one of us can kill all of us and at the same time all of us can actually ﬁx everything.” He says we have never been here as a species. This point in history was only made possible by what Steve inherently knew and fought for. This is what I admire. What we choose to do in this context is heightened in importance if we are to continue to progress as a species.
What’s your favourite word?
Tell us a secret?
This may not be a secret but an observation. Other than natural elements there are very few things in the world today that we touch that are not designed. In some cases, even natural things are being reformed – redesigned. Design shapes not just our products but our lives. The behaviors, the environments we live in, services, as well as our forms and means of communication are created by design. If successful living is important, then the design is essential.