Beachsand and the Talking Bell

The bell that rings in the kitchen at IDEO London sounds rather more sophisticated than the analogue clang you might expect to hear when meals and snacks are ready. Our bell prefers to send articulate email messages, like this recent missive: “I summon you all to the kitchen table for a Beer-n-Nuts with [Arduino co-founder] Massimo […]
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"For me, design is all about systems."
Scott Murray

Food for Thought: A programming language that speaks to designers

Every Thursday in Palo Alto, IDEO’s Digital Shop hosts an informal lunchtime presentation by someone who is using code to create something surprising, useful, or generally awesome. Colleagues from all around IDEO gather for a meal and leave with a week’s worth of ideas to chew on. For Labs, we’ve asked some recent speakers to […]

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"Once a project captures my imagination, there's no going back."
Barry Lachapelle

Just Skeu It

A few times a year, I’ll come across something—maybe an object or system; maybe just an idea—and I’m overwhelmed with a burning urge to translate it into code and design. It’s a practice usually referred to as skeuomorphism, and once a project captures my imagination, there’s no going back.

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"It was a good challenge, and that in itself was compelling."
Ethan Klein

How We Did It: Buildings Tell Us Just How Green They Really Are

I’ve always had a layman’s interest in architecture and in LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council’s certification program for sustainable buildings. I’m a software developer, so designing buildings is well outside my area of expertise. But when IDEO worked with the USGBC to come up with a new LEED certification plaque, it became clear that software design […]

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"I am a designer first...so my development followed my design."
Jake Blakeley

Building a Better Blog

On May 24, 2014, I arrived in New York City to begin a summer internship at IDEO. It was my first time in the city, and a completely new experience for me—I had never left Canada for an extended amount of time before. Naturally, I wanted to create a memoir of my adventures that I could […]

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"The more we populate our space with interesting prototypes, the more those prototypes can inspire us."
Tasos Karahalios

IDEO Designed a Kitchen-Leftovers Spy Cam, Here’s How

On a recent recruiting trip to MIT, I took a tour of the Media Lab. There’s no shortage of cool things to see there, but what caught my eye was their Food Cam. The idea is simple: there are leftovers in the kitchen all the time, but people only notice them if they happen to […]

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"Digital tools open up new ways for us to engage with people."
Dan Perkel

Digital Tools for Design Research

Design research is about understanding real people in the context of their everyday lives and then using what we learn to inspire our work. This loose definition may conjure up a narrow set of methods, but at IDEO, we’re broad in our approach: Design research here is not any one thing, and it’s informed by the […]

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"How my unwavering insistence upon Internet privacy led me to create my first Chrome extension"

The Best Way to Complain is to Make Things

The issue of Internet privacy is a challenging one. No one wants their every click & page view tracked, catalogued and shared across countless databases of the thousands of advertising partners working to serve the most targeted marketing efforts that have ever existed. To guard against tracking and malvertising, I use quite a few Chrome extensions: Adblock Plus [link] […]

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"Even though it looks effortless, there must be a world of complexity behind it."
Brad Simpson

How We Did It: Project Edison

It’s easy to rely on clichés and buzzwords when describing Silicon Valley, but expressing an authentic sense of place is a much more nuanced task. IDEO began working with Joie de Vivre hotels on their new Silicon Valley location, The Epiphany, before the building was even constructed, figuring out how to communicate the innovation and idealism […]

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"All of these technologies have helped me immensely."
Mel Van Londen

Tools We Like v3

The other day at lunch I was talking my colleague’s ear off about various technologies I like to use and why I like to use them. I decided to compile a list, which I shared with all my co-workers at IDEO New York. Why stop there? All of these technologies have helped me immensely, so […]

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"And then you’ll see that the flowers are discovering you as well..."
Joerg Student

Botanical Engineering

When I moved to the Bay Area to join IDEO, I had never even heard of Burning Man. But once I got here, it came up almost every time I showed someone my Ha-Ori shelter, a collapsible origami structure I designed and built while studying at the Royal College of Art in London.

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"It’s inspiring to see how they make things tangible and make a difference in ways big and small."
Nivi Ramesh

What We’re Reading v2

City of Buried Machines What can we say of the mysterious world beneath us? The stories of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were filled with subterranean habitats: from Tolkien’s dwarven caverns to the underground society of H.G.Wells’s Morlocks to the mirrored dwellings of the dead described by Italo Calvino, the possibility of a universe hidden […]

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"Regardless of the technology we’re using or the problem we’re trying to solve, what has really gotten things done is ingenuity and creative thinking."
Mark Harrison

My Four All-Time Favorite Workarounds

In my 15 years at IDEO, I’ve had a hand in roughly 130 projects. Some of the technologies I’ve worked on have become obsolete, like component research that required dozens of part catalogs (now, we just use the Internet). Many, though, have become the foundation for newer technologies, like discrete components, which were developed into MEMS sensors. And some, like the […]