Ideo Case Study

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IDEO, one of the world’s largest and most successful product design firms. IDEO is responsible for the development of 3Com's Palm V hand-held computer. The Palm V’s market success has ingnited mass competition in the hand-held computer industry. This increase in competition has a major 3Com competitor, HandSpring to approach IDEO to now design the competing VISOR product. Handspring's management wants the VISOR prototype to be designed and manufactured in less than half the time it took to design the Palm V. IDEO must now decide if it should suggest to Handspring's management to increase the development schedule as it is concerned with having to sacrifice innovation and design in order to meet the client's goal. A highly competitive environment exists in hand-held computing. Companies similar to Handspring and 3Com are rushing devices to the market to catch first time buyers with this new technology and to gain brand recognition as well as customer loyalty. Because of this pressure, Handspring is attempting to push IDEO’s design team to speed up the innovation process to meet market demands. Limitations on using IDEO staff to gather ideas for the VISOR’s design, capabilities, and features. Handspring is requiring confidentiality on this project in a company that gets ideas by sharing all information with the entire staff. In order to meet the short timeline demanded by Handspring, IDEO designers will have to work longer extended hours and must sacrifice certain parts of their innovation process to meet these requests. These limitations and requirements may lead to the Visor product not benefiting from the IDEO full innovation process. IDEO must re-think the manner in which the VISOR will be produced and the schedule in which project leaders and contributors will handle innovation and creativity specifically for this project. All of Handspring’s anxieties have now become IDEO’s anxieties, as the same innovated processes that have made IDEO such a dynamic company may now handicap them. PROBLEM STATEMENT

Should IDEO…
1) sacrifice its emphasis on innovation and design in order to meet Handspring’s timeline goal? 2) Attempt to persuade Handspring to postpone the VISOR launch? 3) accept the Handspring’s request for an aggressive design schedule for the VISOR prototype?

IDEO is arguably the most successful design firm tins the world. This reputation captures the attention of firms in the medical, consumer, and computer and telecommunications fields. Among these firms was 3Com, an engineering firm that developed technology products.

3Com has enlisted the assistance of IDEO to help revolutionize hand-held computing with the design and development of the Palm V. Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky were 3Com engineers that piloted the Palm V project from concept to market success.

Both Hawkins and Dubinsky have resigned from 3Com and have joined a competing company, Handspring. Hawkins and Dubinsky, now employees of Handspring are reaching to IDEO to assist in the design and development of a break out hand-held device that will compete with 3Com’s Palm V, the VISOR.

The VISOR will be a sleeker hand-held computing model, with unique features that will cost less and is expected to appeal to a more diverse consumer base.

IDEO maintains a client relationship with 3Com, and is currently working on Palm V product improvements. Many IDEO developers are on the Palm V project. Therefore, competing projects are being designed under one roof.

The unique brainstorming component of the IDEO innovation process will be minimized if this project is accepted.

A highly competitive environment exists in hand-held computing. Therefore, Handspring is requesting IDEO to design a VISOR prototype in half the time it took to develop the competing product, the Palm V.

Handspring saw little need for market research because the...
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