Case Study: Ideo Product Development Essay

4903 Words Nov 18th, 2010 20 Pages

This report is based on a case presented by Harvard Business School, titled “IDEO Product Development.” The goal of this report is to examine whether an engineering design company, IDEO, should have requested more time to complete a design for a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) that was to be called the Handspring Visor. The key events take place between March 1996 and September 1999. IDEO is an unconventional Silicone Valley based company, and the hiring company was the then newly formed PDA manufacturer Handspring. IDEO was in the process of completing a related and competing PDA design, the “Palm V,” for 3Com’s Palm division, when they were approached by Handspring. Additionally, the founders of Handspring worked for 3Com and
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This “no rules” attitude strips the mandatory dress code, allowing them to come to work in whatever outfit will spur the most creativity. Employees are encouraged to get up and walk around in order to avoid creative slumps. Furthermore, employees are allowed to design their own offices. General Manager David Kelley even goes as far as to say that he may become suspicious of employees if they remain at their desk all day. IDEO has established such an open floor for all ideas, that to be a productive and innovative member of a team requires constant communication of ideas and information with other team members.

Expanding on their “no policy” policy, employees of IDEO share the idea that traditional business status labels only hurt productivity and innovation. Team members share responsibilities and are evaluated only on the quality of their input toward a project. Teams may be lead by a designer who has only a few years of experience. A team leader is selected because he or she is good at organizing a team and working with people, not because he or she is the most experienced or has the highest status. IDEO’s flat organizational structure facilitates their main goals as a company, which are creativity and innovation.

Given IDEO’s unique operational attitude, employees are challenged in unique ways. Because there are very few “bosses” that walk around and lay orders upon designers, the motivation

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