IDEO advice

Does anyone have good advice about getting an introduction/interview @ IDEO?

I was told that, particularly for ID, that jobs are rarely posted because they have access to so much great talent constantly available.

Point is this, should I wait indefinitely until they post a search for ID talent? Or should I “visit” them in Palo Alto and assume that they are always searching for talent?

How in f’%$*! world do I go about showing up one day and not seem weird or desperate? I’m not FOB out of school, I have 7 years trans-product experience.

danke schön for the replies

just drop in a say you were in the hood. check me out.

My advice -I would NOT drop in.

As a senior designer at a respected consultancy I do not appreciate this.

IDEO like most other top tier firms receive loads of (read: 1000’s) portfolios. While I don’t work for them- they are probably like most firms - the portfolios are reviewed by one of the desingners and if they are good they are shown to the other designers/ managers. If they are very good and the company is hiring, you may get a call. If they are great and they aren’t hiring- you are probably filed for future consideration. Just because you are filed is not the end of the world- There just isn’t a position right now. My firm keeps a number of potential hires “on file” and someone at least “looks at” every portfolio that is sent.

Having people “drop in” and expect potential employers to make themselves available isn’t fair. Consider that 95% of all applicants are not appropriate for a given position - This is the same for drop-ins - with the exception that as an employer your choices are “tell them to go away” and come across as an ass - or likely waste 1/2 hour of your day.

good luck with your quest.

why does everyone want to work for IDEO? Went through an interview process with them, out of 62 applicants, was in the top 5 before I was out. It’s like the cool kids in high school, back then, we all wanted to be them, but now we realize how overrated they are.

I sent in a portfolio and application package by mail for internship. The HR emailed me promptly upon receiving the package and asked me to send in an electronic copy of my work. Problem is, I already did and it was in the same package that he got. So what do I do, tell him to look into the envelope again?

Actually that’s what I did, in a kind manner, and I never hear from them again.

If you have contact to any designer within the company, it makes the process a lot easier. He/she can probably tell right away if you should wait or move on right away.

I’ve had experience communicating with firms and corps and really, how they respond to questions and getting onto things become the main factor for my decision. They can be the company that makes the coolest products, but I am choosing the people I will be working with, not the name card that I get to pass around.

i’m with the MC on this one,

while IDEO are doing some good work, they havn’t got a monoploy on this sort of thing

just look around some more

What year did Steelcase buyout IDEO? (and is that when they stopped kicking ass?)

They have always used Stanford as a labor pool, but now that David Kelly is setting up a program there, probably the best way in is to attend Stanford!

To the original poster:

Even though IDEO doesn’t post on coroflot, you could also check their website. They list in the career or employment or something like that section who and what they are looking for to fill one of their offices.

It appears that right now they have many openings available in Palo Alto and an ID position in Shanghai.

Good luck!

Is ‘no spec’ right that IDEO taps the Stanford talent pool for hires? Does Stanford have a good program? Is it worth a masters degree? I already have a BS in transportation design, I would like to work @ IDEO but it is good use of time/$$$ to get another degree?

Not wholly true. IDEO has a significant percentage of graduates from the Institute of Design in Chicago ( as well as other schools, but the fact remains that with their focus on “design thinking” and applying design methodology to business practices and innovation, they are restricted by the few schools that do take that approach rather than a focus on pure form giving.

I’ve known a couple of risd grads and teachers that worked in the boston office. I think they’re just looking for certain types of thinking that goes beyond “your perspective is wrong” that you see in a lot of places, and it doesn’t seem like a lot of different schools offer that. They seem to focus on the more tangible, easier to crit technical and execution skills as opposed to the broader thinking strategic stuff.

It doesn’t hurt that David Kelley is a professer in the product design program at Stanford and also Chairman of IDEO.

or that you could throw a rock at Stanford from IDEO’s front door.

I wouldn’t limit yourself to going after one firm. Rather than go work for IDEO why not go work for “the next” IDEO.

it simply comes down to the fact that IDEO is sort of the darling of the ID world right now. (or maybe it was 2 years ago). After that Nightline report, it’s been the knee jerk reaction that IDEO is THE place to work in ID.
With your experience, i’d think about being a leader somewhere else, instead of one of the 1000’s of people lining up to follow at IDEO.

I’m not saying IDEO has bad work. Just that’s it’s famous, and there are lots of other firms working at a similar level.

What do think are the next up-and-coming IDEO’s of our generation?

What studio would you work @ if you could work anywhere?

that’s kind of a loaded question.
If I was to say Ziba design, for example, I’ll bet there would be 2-5 people who jump right up and scream about the work being done at Ziba. And why that’s a bad choice.

There are so many factors that should come into a decision like this. What is important to you, as a designer? What do you want your skillset to represent? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What about 10?
What ever companies are doing work that helps you develop into that designer, those are the companies that you should be looking at.

IDEO has changed quite a bit since I was there but I have to say it was an invaluable experience in my career. Any place has it’s pros and cons. Nowhere is perfect. It is what you take with you… And IDEO has much you can learn and benefit from to make the next step. I can say that I would not be in the position I am today without having experienced IDEO…

i don’t believe design consultancies developed the way they intended to in the 90’s. there are many reasons why that happened.

1- some became struggles between the founder/s and co workers trying to prove themselves as lead designers for projects and so on. this was because design consulting compared to other fields like architecture was a totally new experience.

usually if they were a small group they either managed to stay in business, broke up and started another gig, moved to other firms/companies, or dismantled each going to work for corps or individual firms.

but most suffered the set backs that comes with doing design.

2- in mid 90’s with the internet, computer software, and wireless, a whole new era began. those who experienced it know how confusing it was for people trying to figure out directions. still today there’re some people who don’t know the future of industry as far as IT is concerned. this also has made consulting business a sort of a free for all. one day you’re a freelancer, the next consulter, then freelancer again and all these other job descriptions! even right now if you look at how many different job titles there’re for design you kinda wonder what is a designer in the first place? and i don’t believ the specialisations in this field are as authentic as let’s say in engineering where you get a degree for that specific area of expertise (ie elec. eng, civil eng, ME, …)

3- firms had to adjust with the way they did business when everyone went global. they started making more offices, expand OEMs/vendor relation, chinese manufacturing,etc around the world and this created a huge difference in the way design was done previously, which was mostly at the concept level.

they gradually started to blend in ideas and keeping it focused on the brand idea and configured a consulting system that can put everything into the same recognizable box of goods and services and still be flexible.

however it was not as lucrative and dramatic as a real business. very toy like. still is imo.

4-consulting never crossed the finish line for most part. it’s like one of those nightmares athletes have. you’re in the olympics, there’re all these teams running for the gold medal but even when you win a medal and break a speed record there’s always this next tough challenge that might make or break your business.
someone might say it’s like that in corps and other areas too! i disagree. when a corporation screws up they fire the CEO and find another guy. he comes and fires employees, creates a new balance sheet and the company is a company again, although they might not even be there. it’s like a model getting plastic surgeory in her 20’s after a bad photo session and being on covers again because she fixed the eyebrow and got the right contact lenses!

with consulting they have to sit there and hope the clock runs their direction. forget the cover, the medal, whatever, infact forget about design as you know it - find some other thriller no one else is doing.

that’s why consulting is like movie making without the hollywood back-up.

5- this brings up the last point. consultancies have come to the conclusion that change is the only thing that keeps their business growing and interesting as apposed to a rigid understanding of design and having a business model which alternatively fosters this phenomenon is very helpful.

they are indeed vulnerable to stability in an ironic way.

so where does this leave designers.

i don’t really know because i can only speak for myself. but when a designers decides to work in a consulting environment must also accept the fact that consulting business although seems like a pretty wide open highway it’s actually a very narrow hallway.

If you didn’t attend one of these ‘select’ schools, then you likely don’t have what there looking for? What’s an example of a ‘broader thinking strategic stuff’ project? As we know in the ‘real’ world of consulting with cost, timing, etc. often times the best ideas aren’t developed.

It would be great if someone from IDEO would suggest the kind of ‘test’ project that would let a designers skill show relevance to the projects they normally encounter.

kudos to UFO and rest…when core77 board topics are so well replyed, we’re all the better for it.

Actually isn’t what it really is about? Firms that excel in one or more areas from others show particular strength, and is most probably because of the kind of people they hire. It goes back to the topic of finding the right fit. I guess only people in Ideo knows what Ideo is all about, and so choosing a “non-Ideoic” person to work with may not be the best idea.

Maybe it’s not so much about the “braod thinking” that they are picking on. Perhaps it is the way people work and interact that matters. and perhaps, it’s just so that the particular school cultivates such people. There is no one to blame when you are not being chosen. You should be glad if they made the choice with serious intent, because if they did, you may find yourself in the wrong fit.

I once had a chat with a VP level person who was a new member of a famous firm. He was with his previous company for a long time and decided to make this big move. I asked him how did he decide to take such a risk. He said an established company would know exactly if a person will fit the environment and he trusts their judgment.

this article may help