How We Did It: Prototyping in Virtual Reality

If you’re reading this now, chances are you have no idea what it’s like to navigate the world without full literacy. In May 2015, Pearson asked IDEO to design an experience that would inspire empathy for the struggles of people with illiteracy. Part of Project Literacy, a campaign founded and convened by Pearson, the installation is intended […]
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"At IDEO, empathy is in our DNA."
Burton Rast

Empathy and the Promise of Virtual Reality

At IDEO, empathy is in our DNA. We begin every project by doing observation and research aimed at gaining an understanding of, and subsequent empathy for, the people for whom we are designing. Because of this, many of us at IDEO are excited about the promise of virtual reality. Director Chris Milk gave an inspiring […]

"That’s the definition of wonder that I like—something that changes your perspective of the world."
Andrew Evans

The Magic Patio

Keep a close eye on Andrew Evans—he might be an innocent-looking product designer in IDEO’s Palo Alto studio, but he’s also a professional magician and a master of sleight of hand. Evans travels around the world speaking about the intersection of design and magic, and now, he’s made his San Francisco apartment a nexus of the […]

"Smiles have become my motivation and my currency."
Alex S.

How We Did It: GIF Dance Party

I remember my first introduction to the web back in the mid ’90s. It was a place of mad discovery. There was a great deal of uncertainty when clicking a link—where you would end and up and what you would see. The Internet was not a serious place. It was more of a playground, full […]

"Design is about externalizing what’s invisible, things that are all in our heads."
Nastasha Tan


XX+UX is a series of monthly meetups for women in user experience design. Google started the series in 2013 and hosted the first event at HQ, and now, different companies have hosted more than 20 events all over the world. IDEO took its first turn as host in Palo Alto at the tail end of […]

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"But soft! what light through yonder window breaks?"

The Yonder Lamp

“But soft! what light through yonder window breaks?” In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it’s the east, but the Yonder lamp at IDEO Tokyo (which takes its name from this famous quote) brings in the light from the west—way west. The lamp projects the daylight outside IDEO’s London studio, like a digital window to the sky […]

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"Pretty sure Charles Strite, inventor of the modern toaster, didn't see this coming."
Rob Rehrig

How to Hack Your Next Circuit Board Project

Here at Labs, we notice that IDEOers tend to return again and again to a few favorite themes: kitchens, snacking, and hacking. So it’s no surprise that one of our all-time favorite hacks involves a toaster oven. Here, Rob Rehrig from our Chicago office provides a step-by-step guide to cooking circuit boards. I’m always on the lookout […]

"Anybody can come in here, pick up an arduino and start prototyping."
Mark Harrison

Tools We Like: Spotlight on IDEO’s EE Lab

Mark Harrison has been building stuff at IDEO for more than 15 years (see Mark’s post on his all-time favorite workarounds). He’s one of the most knowledgeable tinkerers around, and he’s just finished putting together an electrical engineering lab at IDEO Palo Alto, stocked with every useful tool and device he could get his hands on. […]

"When we set the table up in Milan, we came in the next morning and found construction workers playing with it, saying, “bellissima!”"
Kalyn Nakano

Veggie Vision

What will kitchens be like a decade from now? IDEO recently helped IKEA envision some wild ideas that will likely be entirely plausible—someday. Usually, predictions like this exist only on screens, as concept videos and digital renderings. But this time, IKEA asked IDEO to build a working prototype of one future concept: the Table for […]

"The process of decomposing and prioritizing the project is useful not only in code, but also when thinking about a design problem."
Kevin Ho

Pivotal Experience

I recently finished taking part in a great collaboration between IDEO and Pivotal Labs. For those of you who don’t know, Pivotal Labs is one of the leading software development firms in the world and is largely responsible for the popularity of agile development. Since the app we were building is still confidential, I won’t […]

"Children have natural creative confidence...the Toy Lab’s job is to encourage them to preserve it."
Sara Breselor

Dispatch from the Toy Lab: Monster Moves

Just like the rest of IDEO, the Toy Lab is dedicated to building creative confidence. Admittedly, they have a bit of an edge when making kids’ products—children have natural creative confidence, so the Toy Lab’s job is to encourage them to preserve it and show them new ways to apply their innate creativity. On a […]

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"Unlike his terrifying cousins in Jurassic World, Rexamus is programmed to embody one of IDEO’s values: empathy."
Ed White

How We Did It: Meet Rexamus

Meet Rexamus, IDEO London’s friendly resident dinosaur. You see, unlike his terrifying cousins in Jurassic World, Rexamus is programmed to embody one of IDEO’s values: empathy.

Photo by Detroit Publishing Co.
"Where designers can use very similar tools and frameworks as software engineers, they do so with a different purpose."

Cowboy Coding

One evening in February last year, a friend offered to refer me to IDEO Munich for an internship. “Just send something over tomorrow,” he said casually. “No problem,” I replied. What I didn’t mention was I that was an interaction designer without an online portfolio. Crap. Rewind four years. While studying graphic and interactive communications […]