Design Thinking and Innovation at Ideo

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1. What is the role of prototyping in IDEO? Is it central to their process?

For IDEO, prototyping is the core of its design process, and how they use it is one of their competitive advantages. IDEO believes in explaining anyt design idea with prototypes, which helps people to focus on the same idea, or to find improvements of a single design easily. Prototyping is also a better way to show the customers the design your are thinking of, and helps them to get involved with the design process, aligning both designers and customers mindsets.

2. Should IDEO accept the Visor Project? Why?

Like everything, it depends of the needs of IDEO. Initially I would recommend not accepting the project, unless they were in need of cash. Visor project would require a design process much more tight that the one employed in IDEO, with almost no barriers to creativity and the free flow of ideas. The time and cost requirements would imply designers and brainstormers would have their ideas enclosed to the requirements, that would “orient” the ideas in one specific direction since the beginning. In a design process, that could kill the project.

3. In case they will accept, what challenges and risks are they facing?

First of all, in a company where communication of ideas is key (show and tell is an example), having a secret project would reduce the source of ideas just to the ones involved in it, reducing the possible outcomes. More over, in a company where people involved in a project are the ones that are most passionate about it, forcing some people to work in a project without telling to anyone else reduce the motivation of the design team.

Another challenge is the lack of testers. One of the success of the Palm V was the marketing research done by Boyle, which opened their “designers minds” to different users with broader needs, thus avoiding insider`s egocentric point of view. This would not be...
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