Mark Anthony, editor of the CEA’s Construction WorX magazine, has published a new book.
Called “Renaissance: Why JCB is the Apple of the Digger World” – the new book explores the striking similarity in the approach to innovation and product development of the two companies; innovation that brought us the iPhone and iPad and the Hydradig and the Teleskid.
“Apple did not invent the smartphone or the tablet computer. But it took those ideas and made them better; made them desirable,” Anthony says. “Having charted the development and launch of machines like the Hydradig, the Teleskid and the Hi Viz dumper, I was struck by JCB’s seemingly unerring knack for taking a proven machine type and turning that design on its head to create something new and aspirational.”
Although the traditional and formal British values of JCB are seemingly at odds with the less formal American style that permeates through Apple, Anthony says he was struck by the similarities in the approach of both companies.
“I had the idea for this book pretty much immediately after seeing the Hydradig for the first time. Here was an example of JCB taking a largely unloved and underappreciated machine – the wheeled excavator – and making it cool,” Anthony continues. “What was most surprising was that JCB were equally- though privately – aware of the comparisons.”
Anthony explains that – ahead of the writing of the book – he visited the JCB World Headquarters to interview the company’s Chief Innovation and Growth Officer, Tim Burnhope. “I had already started work on the book and even had a front cover design photo on my iPhone,” Anthony recalls. “During our interview, Burnhope repeatedly quoted Apple’s Steve Jobs. I showed him the concept cover photo of a JCB wheel loader taking a bite out of the Apple logo (which we eventually used on the back of the book) and he was astounded.”
And these parallels are more than mere coincidence. During the final stages of research for the book, it transpired that Burnhope had attended Newcastle Polytechnic, the school that spawned Apple’s designer-in-chief Jony Ive. “The more I dug, the more the similarities between JCB and Apple emerged,” Anthony continues.
According to Anthony, the new book is the culmination of a near-30-year relationship with the Rocester-based company. “JCB has been an integral part of my professional life for almost three decades. I even travelled to my wedding reception in a JCB 3CX!” he concludes. “I have visited the factory so many times that my car pretty much knows the way, although that didn’t prevent me having a car accident on the way to the factory during the research for this book. As an unbiased journalist with an international readership, I must remain objective. But there’s a little bit of me that really enjoys seeing a British company continuing to put the Great in Great Britain.”
The new book – Renaissance: Why JCB is the Apple of the Digger World is available from Amazon: http://amzn.eu/fdpHxMH