Ideo Case Study

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary2
I. Introduction3
IDEO’s organization3
IDEO’s processes4
IDEO’s management4
Role of prototyping and experimentation5
II. Problem Definition6
III. Alternative Courses of Action7
Reject Handspring’s proposal7
Accept Handspring’s Proposal8
Recommend a New Proposal to Handspring8
IV. Recommended Course of Action9
Managing the Visor project10

Executive Summary
Product development firms like IDEO have invested time and effort in constructing methodologies and processes that make them succeed in every territory they venture in. IDEO is one of the largest and most successful product development firms that has contributed to many of the products that we take today for granted. Some of IDEO’s inventions include the first Apple mouth, Oral B Squish grip, Nike sunglasses, 25 feet mechanical whale and even medical equipment.

IDEO has worked with a company called 3Com for years to develop the breakthrough Palm V handheld device. IDEO is a company that emphasizes design as well as engineering and is now met with an offer from a new company called Handspring to develop the next handheld computer which would directly compete with the Palm V. Handspring is a company created by two of 3Coms successful employees, and whose objective is to duplicate the success of the Palm V by selling a fully compatible but less expensive handheld device, which can also add more functionalities. This later came to be called the ‘Visor’.

The problem however, is that IDEO is given half of the time already taken to develop the Palm V. Finishing on time is not of concern to IDEO’s management, because they are confident that they can. However, the challenge is that this tight schedule may “require them to bypass many of the early development stages that the firm was particularly good at” (page 2) and that differentiates it from competitors. Moreover, they believe that if they extend this period they can come up with a killer product.

As IDEO’s consultants we recommend three courses of action, each having its advantages and disadvantages. Our three alternatives are as follows: 1. Reject Handspring’s proposal
2. Accept Handspring’s Proposal
3. Recommend a New Proposal to Handspring

We recommend that they should proceed with the third alternative by proposing that Handspring can extend the development schedule, but keeping in mind that if Handspring rejects our offer, we will still choose to take the project, after all it is a good opportunity as we discuss in more detail in the report. We also recommend in the last section ways of measuring the Visor project’s performance, which are as follows:

* Implement incremental Reviews
* Use the Design Structure Matrix (DSM)

I. Introduction

IDEO is one of the world’s most successful product development firms, which operates under a very innovative and unique process. It has clients in several industries that include mechanical and electrical engineering, industrial design, ergonomics and cognitive psychology. In this section we would like to explore IDEO’s organization, processes, management, and the role of experimentation and prototyping. IDEO’s organization

IDEO is a very dynamic organization that we can characterize by five key terms; innovation, prototyping and brain storming (enlightened trial and error), focused chaos, information sharing and a consumer-centered mentality.

Innovation: innovation is their competitive edge as well as their core business function, and to achieve it they have created a ‘legendary innovation process’ and an inspirational work environment. Everything at IDEO inspires them with new ideas, starting with their personally designed work space that includes bicycles hanging from the ceiling to the 300 objects in the Tech Box. At IDEO employees are encouraged to leave their desks to interact with each other.

Enlightened trial and error: through rapid prototyping and brainstorming...
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