HP have released an article on their blog, The Garage, on what InStyle Magazine called “the most beautiful laptop we’ve ever seen” and the inspiration behind it, Harvey Norman Global CEO, Katie Page.
Born in Queensland, Australia, Katie Page has been Global CEO of Harvey Norman since 1999, helping to expand the company into New Zealand, Malaysia and Ireland. In 2015, she ranked as the fourth most powerful woman in business according to The Australian Business Review.
To Katie Page, the endless beige or black boxes seemed to be designed “by men for men”. As she tells HP: “This is fantastic, but you’re not showing me something for my female customer.”
HP Inc. listened. The result – designed to launch exclusively with Harvey Norman globally – was the Spectre. Besides being the thinnest notebook on the market, it features a durable aluminum-and-carbon fiber case, sleek lines and rose-gold accents. Here’s what Katie Page said to HP’s The Garage about their partnership…
How did you realize that technology had a design problem?
Katie: “A physical store is so important — people still want to touch and feel things before they buy.
I was walking through our stores and other retail stores…and just seeing black things [… ] it was just aisle after aisle of same-looking things. And there was no passion in the design.”
What’s the difference between what men and women want from technology?
Katie: “Men generally see their computers as a work thing. Women want them to look good, too. So we weren’t delivering for all the customers. We were delivering only for some.”
What does Harvey Norman expect from its relationships with suppliers?
Katie: “We expect a partnership. If it’s just “Whatever you’ve got, what’s the price?” there’s no relationship. There’s no collaboration.
I wasn’t having that many conversations with technology companies about design. You know everyone has amazing engineers. When you look at all the things that are happening, it’s extraordinary. But if you haven’t got design, then you’re producing all this fabulous product that looks the same.”
From your perspective as one of very few women running a large company, why is diversity important?
Katie: “What I don’t want to see is tick-the-box diversity, where companies say, “But look, we’ve got women there.” I say, “Are they the right women for what you’re trying to achieve?” That’s so important […] much more thoughtful placement of women.’”
Inspired by the formidable Katie Page, the exquisitely designed HP Spectre laptop is available to buy in Harvey Norman stores.