IDEO is world’s largest design firm. Originally named David Kelley Design (named after the founder and Stanford University professor, David Kelley) and founded in 1978, it was later rechristened IDEO, which came from the word ‘ideology’. The company has some of Fortune 100 clients and is primarily involved with the design of consumer products. Some of the most popular and innovative products designed by IDEO are the Apple mouse, Steelcase chairs, and Palm V PDA. Professor Kelley teaches a very popular course at Stanford University that helps students learn the basics of design and rapid prototype development.
The book The Art of Innovation was written by David Kelley’s brother Tom Kelley (with journalist and Pulitzer prize winner Jonathan Littman), who is also the General Manager at IDEO. The book is intended to share the best practices for developing a culture of innovation within a company, which is practiced at IDEO after years of using and refining. A person at the company is the official ‘Story Teller’ to outside visitors who tour the company to see and learn what makes the company the leader in design innovation.
The book has been divided into fifteen chapters. Each chapter covers a specific topic in the design process or in building a company focused on innovation. Tom Kelley talks about building a company-wide culture that promotes thinking and innovation and what the stages are in developing an innovative product.
Here’s is the summary of chapter 1.
Innovation is the key
In the last 15 years, innovation has become a buzzword widely used in big corporations to tiny startup companies. The CEOs and the executive team members always talk about innovation, be it product innovation, process innovation, services innovation, or innovation in other areas. It has become a top priority for many companies. The methodology developed by IDEO comprises five stages:
- a. Understand the potential market, users, available technology, and constraints.
- b. Observe the potential users in real-world situations doing their normal activities instead of setting up focus groups and laboratory research.
- c. Visualize how and what the products will be in future and how, where, and when they will be used.
- d. Build a prototype and continuously test with real users and refine it.
- e. Commercialize the concept by launching the product in the market.
Innovation is a mindset, a complex, time-consuming, and difficult process, but it is the only key to future growth. It is the only way to remain relevant in today’s hyper-competitive market.