Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2000 (Revised April 2007)

IDEO Product Development

by Stefan H. Thomke and Ashok Nimgade

Abstract

Describes IDEO, the world's leading product design firm, and its innovation culture and process. Emphasis is placed on the important role of prototyping and experimentation in general, and in the design of the very successful Palm V handheld computer in particular. A studio leader is asked by a business start-up (Handspring) to develop a novel hand-held computer (Visor) in less than half the time it took to develop the Palm V, requiring several shortcuts to IDEO's legendary innovation process. Focuses on: 1) prototyping and experimentation practices at a leading product developer; 2) the role of playfulness, discipline, and structure in innovation processes; and 3) the managerial challenges of creating and managing an unusually creative and innovative company culture. Includes color exhibits.

Keywords: Business Startups; Innovation Strategy; Business or Company Management; Time Management; Product Design; Product Development; Business Processes; Organizational Culture; Practice; Problems and Challenges; Creativity; Hardware;

Citation:

Thomke, Stefan H., and Ashok Nimgade. "IDEO Product Development." Harvard Business School Case 600-143, June 2000. (Revised April 2007.)