IDEO good at?
IDEO is an international design consulting firm where
it designs a variety of things and mostly the approach of innovations works
very well, ranging from designing the first manufacturable mouse for Apple,
high technology medical equipment to a squeezy toothbrush. Each year, IDEO
produces about 90 new products. To achieve this, IDEO is not expert in a given
area or product but focusing on the process of innovation and ways to apply the
innovation steps to design new stuff. It uses technology resources, strategy
and marketing driven innovation combined with research and design to innovate
new products. IDEO promotes design thinking concept which is a human-centered
approach to innovation and always designing solutions based on human desirability
combining together with what is technologically feasible and economically
On top of that, they recruit talents from different
areas to boost innovative ideas from different perspectives while keeping an
equalization among people, regardless of age, organizational or educational
level. It encourages an open mind discussion and demand for fresh ideas to help
innovation takes place which resulting from a fun and joyful workplace. This
healthy working environment not only motivates the employees and hire great
staffs but likewise rises the connections to new work.
process of innovation in IDEO?
Basically, IDEO’s main
belief is the empathy for the end user of their products and innovate based on
what humans really want. When the group of designers obtains a project, they
will first understand and observe the user behaviours and the problem that the
users are facing. Usually, designers prefer to get a real expert to enhance
their understanding in a quicker way and get real case information.
After obtaining the
information, they start the innovation work on the designs and this is where
the concept generation stage starts. They believe that as long as they design
based on users’ needs, they are always on the right path. In this stage,
designers demonstrate, share and communicate the ideas and problems they
encounter. Deep dives are a must to build wild and innovative ideas that are
able to meet the product requirements.
Once sufficient ideas are
obtained, concepts screening starts and every designer will take part in voting
the desirable ideas. The team instead of the group leader is taking charge to
select the best ideas as they emphasize on equalization. The ideas should be
meeting the user’s requirements and behaviours as well as marketable. The
process managers need to measure whether the projects have reached the goals
for that stage and to ensure that what is intended to develop meets the end
user’s needs before any technical development begins full force. With this, the
pretechnical evaluation stage is finished successfully.
It is followed by building prototypes
with a different focus on it and trying to get the final combined prototypes.
It is common to make mistakes at this stage as ‘fail often in order to succeed
sooner’, by one of the IDEO’s motor. Best elements of each prototype are taken
and combined to be the final prototype and is fabricated. Using this final
prototype, designers are to get the users feedback whether it has met the needs
and requirements. Iterations are done based on the feedbacks until the best
design is obtained and opt for implementation.
What is the
culture like in IDEO?
To be the top innovative design firm, IDEO practices
an open mind where designers accept ideas and comments when doing a brainstorm
and deep dives. They defer judgement, practice one conversation at a time and
try to build up ideas of others in order to get the best design. Wild ideas are
always welcomed in IDEO in order to produce innovative designs. On top of that,
IDEO’s culture of helping is well-known as the organization and leaders believe
that helpfulness does ease in solving the complex problem. It could produce
better results for customers as well as provide an attractive working
environment if the employees engaged in mutual help.
Apart from that, IDEO encourages equalization among
people regardless of organizational and educational level. Voting and decision
making on the designs are done by the entire team instead of the project leader
as the leader is not always right and has the greatest knowledge on the
project. They work as a team and emphasize on collaboration.
In order to always stay on the right path, IDEO’s
designers always stay focus on the topic and clear of the end users’ needs and
behaviour. It is common to encounter failure during the designing stage but the
key is to learn from failure.
Furthermore, IDEO develop a sense of trust to its
employees where employees are having the freedom to do anything to get
information from the end users and innovative ideas instead of only staying in
the office. Plus, a playful and fun environment is set up in the office in
order to make creative employees more productive.
How is the
Basically, IDEO holds an un-structured approach where
there is no corporate hierarchy and no management structure. This employee
empowerment promotes a new way to enhance creativity and productivity of the
employees. Employees are free to choose whether or not to attend meeting or
work and can tell the CEO about their thinking and ideas. In fact, this
unstructured practice promotes a great impact on product innovation and
employees are happy and free to think creatively. Somehow, this approach only
fits self-motivated people as it allows them to do more spectacular things.
Thus, IDEO takes hiring very seriously.
Within this structure, there are studios where each
and every studio is lead by a project manager. Project managers are in charge of
deciding the future of the product and less on the managerial work. Anyhow, the
project leader is not a permanent title and the position rotates based on one’s
skills and availability related to the project.
that, IDEO allows employees to switch job scopes or locations. This is able to
avoid boredom of employees on similar projects and they tend to be more
innovative designers as they are exposed to different cultures, languages and
ways of living.