Main source of information: The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley with Jonathan Littman.


"Walk into any bookstore, and you'll find countless numbers of books on innovation.
In many of them you'll find chapters detailing a man named David Kelley, and his company, IDEO Product Development.
~ Virtual Advisor Inc.


IDEO's 6 Innovation Practice Tips


IDEO's Featured Achievements

  • Implemented more than 3,000 new product development programs

  • Helped old-line Fortune 500 companies reinvent their organizations and bold young start-ups create new industries

  • Teach the process of innovation; often host teams from multinational companies who want to learn from IDEO's culture and steep themselves in their methodology

The Jazz of Innovation: 11 Guiding Principles Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book


IDEO Track Record

Selected Products Designed by IDEO


Client Company

Computer mouse

Apple (U.S.A.)

New notebook computer

NEC (Japan)

Water bottle for mountain bikers

Specialized Bicycle Components (U.S.A.)

Cordless office phone

Dancall (Denmark)

"Datum shelf", an office desk

Pathways (U.S.A.)

Palm V handheld organizer

Palm (U.S.A.)

Kid's fishing kit

Berkley Outdoor Products (U.S.A.)

Computer input device for children

Philips (the Netherlands)

Toothbrush for children

Oral-B (U.S.A.)

Neat Squeeze toothpaste tube

Crest (U.S.A.)


  New Product Development: 10 Best Practices Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book



Recognition and Awards

  • Fast Company magazine calls IDEO "the world's most celebrated design firm"

  • The Wall Street Journal dubbed IDEO's offices "Imagination's Playground"

  • Fortune titled its visit to IDEO "A Day at Innovation U"

  • Every spring, Business Week publishes a feature story on the power of design in business and includes a cumulative tally of firms who have won the most Industrial Design Excellence Awards. IDEO has topped that list for ten years running



Tom Peters about IDEO

"In recent years, as the L.O.I. (Legend of IDEO) has spread far and wide, the company has had clients begging for advice not just on a product or two, but on the IDEO way of innovating. It has responded vigorously." Their "methodology not only works for IDEO, but has proven to be transferable. It's now quite simple, of course. Beneath the IDEO method lies the incredible, throbbing IDEO spirit that led me to love at first sight."

Innovation Is Love Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

Living the Future

Seeing and implementing thousands of projects has afforded IDEO a unique perspective on the future. They've got a sense of the holistic nature of change, learned how things evolve, and witnessed cross-pollination firsthand. "Knowing the start of the art or the soon-to-be state of the art in one industry can give you a jump in your chosen field."

10 Commandments of Innovation Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

The Fun Factor

David Kelley, the founder of IDEO, believed that if he hired people he liked and respected, everybody would have fun and more work done.

Inspiring Culture: 5 Elements  Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

Pranks became second nature in the company very soon. When Hovey left for a week's vacation, he returned to find a sheetrock wall where his door has been. Windshield cement inspired many office pranks: You'd leave your desk only to return to find everything glued down: soda cans, papers, pens. David's door was once glued shut when he was getting a pitch from a salesperson. Another office was webbed in by the sticky trails from a hot glue gun. There were rubber band wars and squirt skirmishes, and plenty of water balloons dropped out of the window."

The pranks and play served a purpose gave people a sense that they had some control over their destiny, a feeling of belonging to something larger then themselves... More

Innovation-friendly Organization

Observing People

All IDEO-designed products were inspired by watching real people. "We are not funs of focus groups. We don't much care for traditional market research either. We go to the source. Not the "experts" inside a company, but the actual people who use the product or something similar to what we're hoping to create. It's precisely this observation-fueled insight that makes innovation possible. Uncovering what comes naturally to people. And having the strengths to change the rules," writes Tom Kelley.  >>>

Customer Care

The Perfect Brainstorm

Brainstorming is practically a religion at IDEO, one they practice nearly every day. "Though brainstorms themselves are often playful, brainstorming as a tool as a skill is taken quite seriously." In a company without many rules, IDEO people have a very firm idea about what constitutes a brainstorm and how it should be organized:

  • Duration: Sixty minutes in an optimum length. The level of physical and mental energy required for a brainstorm is hard to sustain much longer than that.

  • Don'ts: "Brainstorming sessions aren't presentations or opportunities for the boss to poll the troops for hot ideas. Nor should they feel like work. And brainstorming is most definitely not about spending thousands of dollars at some glamorous off-site location."

  • Idea engine: "Brainstorming is the idea engine of IDEO's culture. It is an opportunity for teams to "blue sky" ideas early in a project or to solve Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book a tricky problem that's cropped up later on. The more productive the group, the more it brainstorms regularly and effectively."

"The buzz of a good brainstormer can infect a team Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book with optimism and sense of opportunity that can carry it through the darkest and most pressure-tinged stages of the project."... More

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