An interesting article on IDEO talks about how they bring ideas and practices across the industries their clients span into their problem solving.
I have always been a big believer in the fact that you can learn from one discipline and apply it into another. We think that way at work on a smaller scale—while all our products are software—the areas we work on span very wide topics—games, music, transacting, imaging, communication tools—enough difference that goals and tasks are very different. But what we learn from one arena can be applied to another. Even what we dismiss from one could be the right thing to do in another.
An excerpt from the article stands out:
“IDEO will seek out projects in industries it finds "“interesting ” and “full of potential” and even risk taking a loss on the project just to gain access to new worlds. At IDEO, the core activity is neither manufacturing products nor pure research and development, sales or marketing. Instead, IDEO's engineers and designers are engaged, every day, in designing new products, new environments, even new innovation strategies for their clients—and the firm's success depends on routinely surprising its clients with innovative solutions.
For each new project, IDEO uses the experiences its engineers and designers have gained while working for so many different clients in so many different industries. The resulting innovations are recombinations of objects, ideas and even people they learned about while working elsewhere. For example, the bicycle manufacturer Specialized asked IDEO to design a new and different water bottle, and the project team came up with a spill-proof nozzle that didn't require opening and closing: Just squeeze the bottle and the nozzle pops open. The team first developed that idea when, five years earlier, they were working on a shampoo bottle that could hang upside down in the shower. They first heard about the idea when working with a medical products company and seeing valve designs for artificial hearts. ”
Making these relationships and remembering snippets of ideas from one space to another is one of the reasons I liked working in advertising and why I like working at a company that delivers many types of products not just one. It also supports my thought that reading, learning and being involved in lots of other unrelated things will actually help you be a better designer.
Thanks to Beth for pointing this out.Posted by erin at 08:40 PM | in Interaction Design
Andrew Hargadon's homepage has very interesting research available based on his work at/study of IDEO:
http://www.si.umich.edu/ICOS/Presentations/20030131/Posted by Avi Solomon at September 11, 2003 03:14 PM