Tuesday, April 29

Creativity and Innovation

Since visiting the IDEO office, I have been inspired by their way of working and have sort look at ways of implementing their innovation techniques into Fluid Pixel. What I have come to realize, is that nothing they are doing is particularly revolutionary, or even necessarily difficult to implement. So why then are they consistently able to succeed where others haven’t? I think one of the reasons goes back to my last post about failure, and the culture that has been nurtured at IDEO is very much failure friendly, even encouraged, but the failures are short lived, and it’s not long before success is born from the disappointments.

The attention to detail and the concentration on the customer experience is ingrained within the walls in the IDEO offices, whether it’s the end customer using the product they are designing, or the client, IDEO knows how to look after people. This goes hand in hand with their project and team management which are chosen based on skills and interest, rather than experience. Teams are flexible and dynamic, and the company structure flat, enabling people to concentrate on the job at hand, rather than office politics.

They are also masters at taking inspiration from all corners of the world, including their Tech Box, chocked full of interesting shapes, materials and solutions that act to inspire the “technology brokering” effect by sharing ideas between industries. Something like this could easily be implemented in a software studio, instead of physical objects, it could be a collection of images, code and websites that inspire and provoke new ideas for new product development, assisting in the design process.
I was lucky enough learn firsthand about the techniques used during IDEO style brainstorming and project development at the recent BBC Innovation Labs event and seen how, if executed correctly can be a great asset to any company. I’ve also never seen so many Post It notes used in one week!

However, I don’t believe any of these things are the main reason for IDEO’s success, but they are all the result of this one thing; the employees. Each team member at IDEO goes through a very rigorous recruitment procedure, and they are vetted by a large number of the employees in the office. Handpicked from all over the world, for their abilities in their field, as well as their ability to gel with the team already in place are both vital aspects for new employees.

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