“The IDEO philosophy melded Californian iconoclasm with a genuine respect for new ideas and invention.” They have been recognized for being the largest design firm in the world and have contributed to the design of thousands of new products us as consumers recognize and utilize on a daily basis. As stated publicly, IDEO’s platform and mission statement has always been to deliver “appropriate, actionable, and tangible strategies” to their clients. For Dennis Boyle, sipping his strong espresso at Peet’s coffeehouse in Palo Alto while contemplating the decision to accept or reject the competing product to the Palm V would be quite the understatement. This decision poses quite the dilemma on his hands as he would be asked to design the Visor product to compete with the Palm V as a fully compatible, slightly smaller, and less expensive palm size computer which could easily add functionality.
In reading this case study and how the Palm V Project came to be in the Spring of 1996, we learn the history of the “Palm Pilot” and the start of it all from its visionary, Jeff Hawkins. Through the history of the “Palm Pilot” to the evolution of the Palm V and its competing product, the Visor, there are some notable differences worthy of discussion. Boyle and his team are being asked to design and implement improvements in Visor in order to make it fully compatible, slightly smaller, and less expensive so that it could easily add functionality. I believe the hesitation in Boyle’s decision is masked by the simplicity in the advantages. The framework for Visor is already there. Boyle already has established a team of engineers and a team of designers that are intimately involved and understand the details of the Palm V Project. He would be in a sense, “recycling” his resources by utilizing the same task force for Visor, thus reducing the time usually absorbed in the infancy stages of a project due to learning curves, trial and tribulations, training. (Something he really should be adding to his “pros” column while sipping on that espresso). For pioneers such as IDEO, “concurrent engineering” would be prevalent throughout this process. There is an intimate [work] relationship between the designers and the engineers which makes it extremely beneficial for meeting the schedule, maintaining design style, functionality, and harmony. Also, this very same team can utilize the history of Palm V from their research and development and apply it towards Visor. This will allow them to save schedule time in the developmental stages of Visor since most of the initial work has been done with that of Palm V. There would be very little need for market research. According to Dubinsky, “We felt we understood the marketplace pretty well. After all, we invented the product and the category…”
To better understand how these improvements for Visor will need to be implemented, it is important to understand them in the realm of IDEO’s Product Development Process Phases as described in this case study. Given the background and history on Palm V along with the information needed to make the improved product, Visor, there are some details that need to be explored.
In order to begin the product development process, we need to identify the issues of concern of the elements for compatibility for Visor. As we understand and observe this phase, we create a list of all the major required items which are needed to achieve full compatibility. This list might include, but is not limited to: synchronizing handheld computer with home computer, software program for handwriting recognition, battery lifespan, external ports/outlets are not compromised, and ensuring universal compatibility. During Phase I, we begin the rough 3-dimensional model of the product in context of which the product would be used. Accompanying this rough model of Visor, would be an outline of our manufacturing strategy to implement our list of...