Ideo Product Development Harvard Business Case

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IDEO Product Development:
Case Analysis

The FAB 5
February 28, 2013

Adedeji Akindele-Alo
Lexi Artrip
Elizabeth Lowder
Morrell Turner
Jessica Wright

PROBLEM DEFINITION
The ideas of IDEO and Handspring were different from one another in terms of development and time frame. Additionally, IDEO was working on products directly competitive to one another with the projects assigned by 3com and Handspring. The primary issue in the IDEO Product Development case is the question of whether Boyle and Kelley should persuade Handspring to postpone the launch of “Visor.” The option of postponement would allow the team to follow all of the steps of IDEO’s legendary innovation process (see Appendix for a flow chart of this process). The other option, accepting the client’s request for a very aggressive and immediate schedule, would allow the team to create a product quickly enough to enter the market during the busy holiday season, and avoid entering the market too late. A secondary problem is the conflict of interest between the IDEO team working on the Palm V and Visor at the same time.

IDEO’s Product Development Problems include the following: * Ignoring client wishes and continuing on with IDEO’s long innovation process could lead to Handspring’s potential release of partnership with IDEO. Handspring wants a product that can be produced within a quick time frame, while IDEO places emphasis on using flexible timeframes in order to fully explore the design process. The two ideas do not work well together.

* A time constraint would order IDEO’s team to bypass some of the early development stages, which means that the product may not, or will not, be as good as if it were analyzed under each phase accordingly, thus compromising IDEO’s reputation for the most innovative problems possible.

* After the developers of Palm V left to start up the Handspring project, they created a conflict of interest among IDEO developers working on the Visor and the Palm V project. The projects were being developed simultaneously, which created secrecy between the groups of developers. IDEO’s workforce was split between two competing products.

ANALYSIS
IDEO had a very effective, creative, and well-established product development process. Deadlines were not extremely important to IDEO. Instead, they focused on developing customer-centered products by using multiple product development phases to achieve breakthroughs. IDEO’s teams were committed to creating the best design possible. They placed heavy emphasis on client involvement during the design process, rather than clinging to an extremely specific timeline. They valued rough, rapid and right prototyping along with teamwork in brainstorming sessions. “Fail more, succeed sooner” was a token phrase used to describe the company’s philosophy. Because of Visor’s magnitude in terms of technological advances, it would likely benefit from the full-scale IDEO methodology in order to generate the desired sales.

The conflict with Handspring was that if IDEO maintained this heavy focus on client input, they would be forced to produce a product rapidly, thus following one core value (client involvement) and violating another core value (the design phases). If IDEO were to use Handspring’s values regarding time, they would be unable to fulfill all of their phases, and the product would not be as innovative as it could be. Without a lengthy development phase, the Visor project would lack the stability of numerous ideas in an effort to hand select the very best one. IDEO valued effectiveness while Handspring valued efficiency. The goal of the Handspring Project was to come out with a fully compatible, slightly smaller, more functional and less expensive clone of the palm-size computer. This extensive list of qualities required an intensive product development period. With this venture came many conflicts among Handspring, 3com, and IDEO....
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