IDEO Case - Brooke Galietto IDEO Case Executive Summary...

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Brooke Galietto March 22, 2011 IDEO Case Executive Summary IDEO’s success and status as the best product development company in the world can be attributed to its distinct company culture and alignment under one priority or ideal, the best innovation. All aspects of the IDEO business machine are united under the umbrella of innovation. For example, the selection process is constructed to pick out the potential employees who would flourish in an environment that may seem chaotic to other people. What does this mean? IDEO does not look like a typical office. Instead it is filled with things and people that are inspiring and meant to get the creative juices flowing. Flow is important. Questions and feedback are the most important assets to an innovative business like IDEO and these staples are worthless without the constant flow of conversation and ideas from one person, team, office, or country to another. Outsight, or the ability to understand and use external information, is essential to successful product development. A product will not be a success by IDEO’s measure if it is good or in other words it satisfies one need for one group. IDEO’s strength is using their communication and research skills and resources to make good creative products the best and innovative. A great product is one that can be used for a multitude of things by a diverse group of people. This is the type of imagining the possibilities Kouzes and Posner call leaders to inspire in firms. The 5 Phase Design Process is fundamental to the creation of a best product at IDEO. It includes all the criteria and allows for all the mistakes necessary to make a product fulfill its potential. The first reason why the Handspring Project should not be taken on by IDEO is because it denies the team the opportunity to carry out the process that has yielded IDEO’s success. IDEO’s products are not great because of one individual or one team but instead because an entire office or even the entire organization has the opportunity to contribute and help in the brainstorm process; this sets IDEO apart from other product development companies. The flow of communication would be limited in the Handspring Project which would probably result in a failure of a product because that is not how the IDEO machine works, communication and feedback are the oil that keeps the machine moving. Finally, innovation is not generated in stifling conditions. The Handspring Project has a number of limitations that I believe would ultimately lead to an unsatisfactory product. Without the first two phases of the development cycle, the team would not have the information necessary to even understand what type of product they should be making. Of course budgets and timetables are necessary in business otherwise progress wouldn’t be made however there is a balance between rules and leeway that is simply part of the shared values at IDEO, therefore an externally imposed budget and schedule would probably not make the team do its best work on the product.
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