Picasso’s Bull and Apple University – How are the two Connected?

By Published July 11, 2017
Training and Development

Employee training and development programs form an essential part of the corporate world. While some do not care to adhere to it, some take it very seriously to develop their employees.

Training and Development

Needless to say, time and again the benefits of employee training and development programs have been vouched by various sources. Some of the ways an organization benefits from investing in training and development programs include the following:

i. Increased employee satisfaction
ii. Greater productivity
iii. Increased employee morale
iv. Uniformity if workplace processes
v. Less supervision

In present times, while most corporate organization around the globe are seriously considering investments about training and development programs, some are only cracking it – that too in their unique ways.

Let’s focus on one such ‘clandestine’ employee training program that currently one of the worlds’ leading IT company Apple is just excelling in.

Apple University: Where Geniuses are Made

That’s what Apple University strictly abides by. Its dean Joel Podolny who has been associated with universities like Yale and Harvard, claims that Apple’s University is more elite than both the universities.

Courses are conducted by invitation only and mostly aimed at the company’s senior management – particularly at the director level and above. If someone is a junior manager, he or she may be invited to attend one class a session. As you rise through the ranks, you get more opportunity to participate in classes at the Apple University. While it is not sure how they are selected, but it is speculated that Podolny himself sends the invitations.

Picasso’s Bull and Apple’s Product Design – What’s the Connection?

Well, one of the unique aspects of the employee training and development program at Apple University is teaching the concept of product design through Pablo Picasso’s The Bull.

Picasso produced ‘Bull’ around the Christmas of 1945 -46. ‘Bull’ is a series of eleven lithographs that have become a master class in how to develop an artwork from the academic to the abstract.

The first drawing is a horned, hoofed, muscled life-like representation of the animal.

The last is just a few lines, though a bull.

That’s the Apple way—drawing heavily on the concept of abstraction.

The idea conceived, is to go through more recapitulations until you can just deliver your message in a very succinct way, and that goes to the brand Apple and everything they do.

The word for the process is – abstraction

The mechanism of abstraction is that it’s ridiculously difficult since it demands that you have an understanding of the fundamental principles of what’s going on. In this way, scientific theories that have made Stephen Hawkins and Albert Einstein famous, all happen to be abstractions.

Robert S. Root-Bernstein and Michele M. “Abstracting, by simplifying, yields the standard links, the nexuses, in the fabric of perception and nature…”

It must be observed that Picasso began his famous Bull series with a realistic image of a bull. Then what began to interest him was the planes defining the bull’s form. But, gradually as he began experimenting with the various planes, he went on to realize that what defined them were the edges. It is then that he reduced the edges to simple outlines. Finally, as a finishing tough, he eliminated most of the lines, leaving behind a simple and pure outline that went on to convey the very essence of “Bullness.”

To arrive at abstraction, it is always a necessity, to begin with, a reality that is concrete. One must start with something that is realistically concrete. While afterward the traces of reality can be removed. There remains no sign of danger because the very idea of the object would have already left behind an indelible impression. That would be very simple.

It is this very drive toward simplicity that animates Apple. It is the company’s very attitude towards simplicity, which has acted as an aspect to make technology more attractive to people.

It is Apple’s idea of “aesthetic originality” that in a way forms the basis of the training and development program. Apple focuses heavily on this concept and has been able to reshape the way we live in the modern world.

Apparently, it is the emphasis on “aesthetic originality” that has helped Apple become revolutionary.

To quote Steve Jobs on the importance of simplicity

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

And that’s no bull.


Source: NYTimes

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