With Apple preparing for its next big launch – the rumoured iWatch – the recruitment of former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve raised a few eyebrows in some quarters. Nevertheless, it provides a timely reminder of the advantages that a fresh perspective can bring to even the most successful of businesses. Finding the right fit can sometimes feel like an impossible task, but when done correctly, it can ensure priceless mutual learning and great results.

Deneve has a wealth of experience garnered from the world of design and fashion, something that many believe the Silicon Valley giant needs in order to rejuvenate its iconic brand. At the same time, hiring out of leftfield is a risk. One only has to look at the rise and fall of Apple’s previous Head of Retail, John Browett, who lasted just six months at the company.

Hiring the right people for the right job is easier said than done, but as Apple’s approach illustrates, if the underlying strategy is well thought out then the selection itself can be surprisingly straightforward. Deneve was clearly a calculated choice that took into account the fact he had previously worked for Apple and also been an advisor to a number of tech start-ups.

The same mantra applies when it comes to selecting the right commercial partner. For example, Aspectus PR has been hired by a variety of companies for our experience in the vertical markets that they are selling to, such as healthcare or construction, rather than necessarily our experience in the sector they come from.

Similarly, we have a number of colleagues here at Aspectus who have left successful careers in a number of industries such as journalism, management consultancy, and retail, to work in PR. As a result, we can draw on their wider industry experience, and unique skills and perspectives to build informed and innovative campaigns that deliver real results for our clients.

Just as we noted in our recent blog on Women in the Boardroom, the debate about encouraging diversity has moved on. Today, it’s all about ensuring your business benefits from a broader mix of people with different backgrounds, careers and life experiences. For us, sector knowledge is hugely important but so too is aptitude and attitude.

So while someone may at first glance seem an unlikely match for a specific role or project, it is important to consider a much broader range of factors in terms of the qualities they might bring, as ultimately they might prove to be the missing piece in the puzzle. For Apple’s latest iWatch venture, only time will tell.

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