A recently published feature in The New York Times discusses Apple’s internal training program and provides more detail on the methods the Cupertino California company uses to teach its new employees. The program was established by both the former CEO, Steve Jobs and Apple’s Vice President of Human Resources, Joel Podolny. Dubbed the “Apple Universty,” the in-house program offers new employees the option to enroll in several classes with instructors from universities like Yale, Harvard, Stanford, MIT and more. The classes are all taught at the Cupertino, California campus in unique designed rooms with elevated seats for a good learning environment.

Typically, individuals who are interested can sign up on an internal Apple website, as classes are taught to employees based on their positions at the company and work backgrounds. Some of the courses teach employees about vital business decisions in the history of Apple while another is aimed at teaching founders of recently acquired companies how to blend resources and talents into Apple.

There was another course detailed, titled “Communicating at Apple.” This course focused on the ability to convey products and ideas to others and is taught by the former Dean of Pixar University, Randy Nelson, along with others. A detailed overview of the course given by an employee shares how Apple used the works of Picasso to explain the company’s vision:

In a version of the class taught last year, Mr. Nelson showed a slide of "The Bull," a series of 11 lithographs of a bull that Picasso created over about a month, starting in late 1945. In the early stages, the bull has a snout, shoulder shanks and hooves, but over the iterations, those details vanish. The last image is a curvy stick figure that is still unmistakably a bull.

"You go through more iterations until you can simply deliver your message in a very concise way, and that is true to the Apple brand and everything we do," recalled one person who took the course.
Another class that was detailed was titled “What Makes Apple, Apple.” This course is centered around giving lessons to new employees on how the company comes up with and executes its design principles. To convey that idea to employees, Nelson showed a comparison of the Apple TV remote, which has 3 buttons, to the Google TV remote, which had 68. He went on to explain how Apple’s design included just what was needed while the Google TV remote ended up being complicated because its designers wanted everything to be included.

Last but not least, the article describes a course known as “The Best Things,” which teaches employees to be proactive in a high-caliber work environment. The purpose of the course is to encourage employees to perform their beset work. The publication went on to note Stanford professor Joshua Cohen, who sometimes taught the course and mentioned New York’s Central Park as part of the class. He noted that the park’s designers changed what was once swampland into a green space that made residents and visitors feel comfortable with nature. This philosophy was similar to that of Apple’s and more specifically Jobs’ goals of making technology feel natural to consumers.

Source: The New York Times