Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby scb » January 8th, 2013, 2:10 pm

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nice video. but i'm more interested in design DOING! with all the fame, i can't recall a good product ideo has designed in the past 5 years.... can anyone?

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby zippyflounder » January 8th, 2013, 3:03 pm


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yo wrote:
AndreC wrote:^Should one be worried about this distinction, do you think its any cause for concern for a guess what would been seen a "pure designer"?



I think we would have to define "pure designer", which itself is a crazy slippery slope. I think our profession contains a pretty broad spectrum of practitioners, abilities, and passions. At the end of the day, as much as people love to talk about design thinking, if it only has value when it results in some serious design doing. I think a good goal for myself is to always think big and execute small.

Also, next time somebody is rambling on and on try unexpectedly pulling out a prototype and watch the room go, "What was that guy saying? Who cares... gimme' that thing and lemme' check it out."
Absolutely, heck even a 1/2 decent mockup wins in that confrontation.

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby Cyberdemon » January 8th, 2013, 3:04 pm

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scb wrote:nice video. but i'm more interested in design DOING! with all the fame, i can't recall a good product ideo has designed in the past 5 years.... can anyone?
'

That's a bit naive way of thinking about it.

If you look at their recent work the answer would be they're above the point where you'd know them for product.

Big name consultancies now realized the amount of money in building and styling a gadget in general is pretty low. Smart, IDEO, Frog, and the other "Tier 1" design consultants are much more involved in design strategy, brand rethinks, and design challenges that are above a singular product. Which is good, because for what they charge you want to be re-inventing your brand with that kind of money.

Remember that they're design consultancies, not a product company. Them doing a good job isn't about you using one of their products. It's about their clients (giant corporations) being happy.

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby slippyfish » January 9th, 2013, 1:01 pm

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scb wrote:nice video. but i'm more interested in design DOING! with all the fame, i can't recall a good product ideo has designed in the past 5 years.... can anyone?


The architectural systems they did for wounded and recovering war veterans was memorable. They are so BIG now that probably don't take or don't rely on traditional ID. They want a hand in the strategy, the systems, the service, and then finally maybe a reference product design. By then, the client probably can take all that "thinking" and scope out smaller ID projects for the next tier of firms to work on.... for much cheaper.

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby AndreC » January 9th, 2013, 2:25 pm

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zippyflounder wrote:
yo wrote:
AndreC wrote:^Should one be worried about this distinction, do you think its any cause for concern for a guess what would been seen a "pure designer"?



I think we would have to define "pure designer", which itself is a crazy slippery slope. I think our profession contains a pretty broad spectrum of practitioners, abilities, and passions. At the end of the day, as much as people love to talk about design thinking, if it only has value when it results in some serious design doing. I think a good goal for myself is to always think big and execute small.

Also, next time somebody is rambling on and on try unexpectedly pulling out a prototype and watch the room go, "What was that guy saying? Who cares... gimme' that thing and lemme' check it out."
Absolutely, heck even a 1/2 decent mockup wins in that confrontation.

Agreed its show then tell!

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby no_spec » January 9th, 2013, 2:44 pm


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I've been in two companies that used IDEO, one project never saw light of day and the other was a collosal flop in the market. I was only on the perifery, and can't say either wasn't a case of "garbage in - garbage out" but they were asked to create disruptors in the market - tough gig for anyone.They cost tons of money and lost any future contracts.

This talk of Tier 1 firms or pure design is off base. People and firms have experience and talent and that's all. Nobody is great at Everything. A Freelancer or small no-name firm that kills in a small market or narrow product category may never win any awards or get on TV but in my mind defines excellence or "Tier 1" status.

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby jon_winebrenner » January 9th, 2013, 3:02 pm

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no_spec wrote:This talk of Tier 1 firms or pure design is off base. People and firms have experience and talent and that's all. Nobody is great at Everything. A Freelancer or small no-name firm that kills in a small market or narrow product category may never win any awards or get on TV but in my mind defines excellence or "Tier 1" status.


+1

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby Cyberdemon » January 9th, 2013, 3:13 pm

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no_spec wrote:I've been in two companies that used IDEO, one project never saw light of day and the other was a collosal flop in the market. I was only on the perifery, and can't say either wasn't a case of "garbage in - garbage out" but they were asked to create disruptors in the market - tough gig for anyone.They cost tons of money and lost any future contracts.

This talk of Tier 1 firms or pure design is off base. People and firms have experience and talent and that's all. Nobody is great at Everything. A Freelancer or small no-name firm that kills in a small market or narrow product category may never win any awards or get on TV but in my mind defines excellence or "Tier 1" status.


When I used the term Tier 1, I did so in terms of their "perceived" status, their typical types of projects and scope, and while not stating it directly their "minimum price to do anything for you". It had nothing to do with me implying "These are the best designers in the US"

For one, many of those companies aren't doing work with internal ID departments, they're being hired by marketing teams or other large organizations. Reason being your exact point, when designers need someone to design, they know there are killer consultants out there who know the problem, know their internal process, and charge 1/20th the amount. Some of those large companies literally won't sign an invoice for less than 6 digits.

Either way, if you throw out a bunch of names on a table, those are the type of consultancies that come up often, and they've done a very good job of sculpting their business in a different way then the typical "I design gadgets" product design house.

It goes back to my last sentence - it's about the client being happy. If the client gives you a crap product brief to reinvent their company "Hey, I work for cooper tire, what brand expansion can we do?" and they come back and say "For $500k we'll tell you that you should start making BBQ's because it resonates with your middle American focus groups" and that guy is thrilled, then they've done a good job. Even if that means the resulting project nearly bankrupts the company. Just take a look at all these posts we've had about the graphic rebranding failures on Tropicana and other big brands. The corporation loses, the company walks away with a ton of money. It obviously doesn't tarnish their reputation enough to put them out of business.

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby slippyfish » January 10th, 2013, 12:29 am

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I've worked at a place that both collaborated with IDEO at certain points, and did "clean up" on their work for our clients later, to get into production. This was ten years ago. Our firm was a reputable resource for product development. Weak on ID, strategy non existent. We were not 'Tier 1'. It's a general term for typically old school firms that have expanded and usually define the furthest reach of the ID world into the business world, at that time. Continuum is another.

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby yo » January 10th, 2013, 12:55 am

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scb wrote:nice video. but i'm more interested in design DOING! with all the fame, i can't recall a good product ideo has designed in the past 5 years.... can anyone?


BOOM roasted. When I was at frog, I was chatting with Hartmut Esslinger and he said almost the same thing word for word.

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby yo » January 10th, 2013, 1:00 am

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Cyberdemon wrote:Remember that they're design consultancies, not a product company. Them doing a good job isn't about you using one of their products. It's about their clients (giant corporations) being happy.


I don't agree with that at all. The clients might be happy in the immediate end of a project with a dose of warm and fuzzies, but if the end result doesn't provide a demonstrable ROI, they won't be satisfied for long.

My old boss at frog, Paul Bradley (who was at IDEO for nearly 20 years, he was a designer at Matrix before the merger of all the firms that became IDEO) said something to the effect of "Ideas can not be innovative. Innovation only happens with proven behavior change of the end user, and to do that, you have to make something"

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby yo » January 10th, 2013, 1:06 am

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no_spec wrote: People and firms have experience and talent and that's all. Nobody is great at Everything.


this is true, and one of the biggest challenges large firms face is bringing the right talent to a project. A large firm likely may have at least one of every type and flavor of designer, but if they are tied up on another project when the perfect program comes in for them, someone else who may be less suited will work on it. Not necessarily less talented or skilled, but less suited, and the result won't be what it could have been.

This gets to the age old question, can a great designer design anything?

My short answer: yes
My long answer: No. While a great designer theoretically could design anything, so much of finding a great solution is being passionate about the problem and the space you are working in. So while a great designer literally could design anything, there is going to be a huge swing in the quality of the output as it aligns to things like experience and skill, but more critically interest and passion.

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby mo-i » January 10th, 2013, 6:10 am

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Good to see such a crappy video sparking such an insightful discussion.

1. It is not 60 minutes long.
2. It is not about IDEO.
3. It teaches nearly nothing about ID.

The world is still waiting for Steve Jobs maid comming out of the closet, telling how he was the most demanding and best employer at the same time, how he showed her the Zen in floor wiping and chatted her up in the middle of the night on how she got the ironimg of his non iron jeans so right.

Really can't wait for it.

mo-i
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Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby Mr-914 » January 10th, 2013, 8:12 am

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With these big firms, I just assume they are doing incredible work that can't show. There are only a couple of firms where I constantly see great work, but maybe that has more to do with their clients wanting to be recognized as supporting design rather than the level of their work.

While a great designer theoretically could design anything, so much of finding a great solution is being passionate about the problem and the space you are working in.


This explains why so many male designers design dildos. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Seriously though, I think passion is just the fuel to great design. I can design anything, but I know that my first ideas will be only surface deep and lack direction. It's being driven enough to keep chipping away at the problem and keep trying to increase the understanding of the problem that makes a great design. Sometimes, this is limited by the client (no money or time). Sometimes, it's limited by the designers ability to work efficiently (burn through the bad ideas fast enough to get to the good ones).
Ray Jepson

"L'homme n'est rien. L'œuvre c'est tout." Gustave Flaubert

Re: IDEO on 60 Minutes

Postby Cyberdemon » January 10th, 2013, 11:23 am

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yo wrote:
Cyberdemon wrote:Remember that they're design consultancies, not a product company. Them doing a good job isn't about you using one of their products. It's about their clients (giant corporations) being happy.


I don't agree with that at all. The clients might be happy in the immediate end of a project with a dose of warm and fuzzies, but if the end result doesn't provide a demonstrable ROI, they won't be satisfied for long.

My old boss at frog, Paul Bradley (who was at IDEO for nearly 20 years, he was a designer at Matrix before the merger of all the firms that became IDEO) said something to the effect of "Ideas can not be innovative. Innovation only happens with proven behavior change of the end user, and to do that, you have to make something"


I'm not saying everything they do is terrible and a massive waste of corporate money, but look through most of their work:

The amount of work that actually trickles down to stuff that we would see is surprisingly small. If you look though their work the amount of consumer electronics type stuff is fairly minimal. I think I own one of the WD hard drives that they designed.

So you can't say they haven't done anything, it's just stuff that they've done may be beyond what we see. They might design a killer medical terminal or orthopedic bone saw, but we aren't surgeons.

For example IDEO thought up Jetblue's "Even more leg room", which as a 6'4 person I love. But is that a product? No...it was just a way of removing a row of seats and charging everybody else more to make a few people happy, and that's fairly clever.

It's just a lot easier for us to look at a company like Astro and say "Oh I love those headphones, or Oh you guys designed the Xbox!"

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