IDEO visit notes

Met with Ashlea Powell at IDEO, 28 Mercer Street today.
– IDEO differentiates itself by solving bigger problems and asking bigger questions. Where is the world going? Not how do I make this line wait time shorter?
– Paradigm shift: Weight Watchers is organized around the idea of loss (negative connotation). Instead, focus on the positive (feel better, gained friends, more sleep, etc)
– Ashlea has a creative writing background and business/spanish undergraduate degree. Talked about combining left brain thinking with right brained thinking.
– Have to “go slow to go fast.” Good ideas are everywhere and you have to be aware of things that aren’t in your direct path.
– Admit they are not industry specific experts. Have to collaborate, but also bring a unique perspective/background.
– Multidisciplinary teams. Everyone is T shaped: have specific disciplines that know well and then have broad capabilities that cover a variety of topics. Projects average 12 weeks
– Portfolio: show real world problem solving
– Prototype becoming a broad term: For Peruvian bank, took over a different bank to prove or disprove a hypothesis
– Visual communications design: includes outward facing materials to the end user (an app), but also communicating the process and the project to the client
– Designers today not only trying to make things pretty. They look for an unexpressed need. Identify the piece that’s missing and that will add value.


Class notes: Sept 23

Ethnography article

Look for idiosyncrasies in ethnographic research, not just generalities that everyone could tell you (ex. teens are good at social media).  Be quantitative and look for hidden desires and needs.  Ex. 7 out of 15 people at Starbucks were using Facebook and 3 out of the 7 people were looking at a international news event.

Different from market research, where you look for the average person representing certain characteristics.

Understand users on a deeper level.  IDEO project to help TSA: “design a solution that calmed the environment to make threats stand out.”  Create an “experience blueprint” with critical thinking, interviews, how travelers interact with agents, how agents work with each other, how they’re trained, manual writing, etc.

Use strategic design — where is the organization going?  Design as part of a bigger plan.

Slides assignment: Paraphrase slides using just the conclusions came to.  Practice presentation and be more succinct.

Class notes: Aug 26

Professor: Tom Klinkowstein,

TA: Tania,

Class blog:

– Steve Jobs encouraged his designers to be curious and well informed.  Pony sessions for brainstorming: What would you want if you could have anything?

– Design firm IDEO uses “design thinking” and ethnographic research – sketching, observing in the environment where products would be used (outward facing).

Blog post areas:

Behavioral change: ex. OPower company used psychology to see what would cause a change in behavior.  Customers would be most likely to save power (turn of lights, unplug, etc.) if they received a report telling them their neighbors were saving (peer pressure).

Big data: predict data correlations based on other behaviors.

The Internet of Things: taking the power of smart phones and developing intelligent devices/gadgets into everyday products, objects, activities (ex. Google glass)

Design as Social Change: through “design thinking” (Tim Brown TED talk).  Design got small, but it getting big again.  Integrated thinking (balancing desirability, with technical feasibility and economic viability).  Design applied to global problems: global warming, education, health care, clean water.  Start with human need, observation, prototyping – objective is active participation between designer and the community (interest in their own well being) — creates value.  Diverge: explore new ideas that have not existed before.