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 […]
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"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 […]

"How we prototyped our way to effective light guides using Illustrator and a laser cutter"
Niko Vladimirov

Build Your Own Light Pipe

Light guides are physical tools that transmit light along a path from an illumination source while maintaining constant brightness. They’re often used in products to create a line of light that is consistently bright and dynamic-looking, even when it comes from a single source. Unfortunately, there is no simple how-to guide available for making them. The process […]

"Making workflow as effortless as possible  leaves more energy for solving design problems."
Tom Kershaw

Tools We Like v4

Of the many tools we use at IDEO—and there are many—Sketch is an arrow in the quiver of most of our interaction and communication designers these days.

"OpenIDEO is a community that encourages taking creative risks, and that leads to powerful solutions to longstanding challenges."
Joanna Spoth, Challenge Manager

High-tech Solutions for Healthier Lives

Attention Labs readers! OpenIDEO has a challenge for tech-savvy problem solvers. They’ve teamed up with NBCUniversal, NBCUniverso, and Telemundo to come up with ideas for new ways to reduce preventable diseases, particularly in the Latino community, where one in five adults suffer from diabetes, more than 75% are overweight or obese, and strokes are the […]

Final machining operation before crown and lug machining.
"In a single weekend, I created my first watch, machining some parts and 3D printing the rest. I was hooked."
Ian Schon

Personal Time

As a designer and engineer at IDEO, there are many moments when I think to myself, how might I make something like that? The act of bringing ideas from concept to reality is incredibly rewarding, and I love the challenge. Every time I see something I/we made in someone else’s hands, I feel pretty darn […]

"The border between design and art is really fluid."
Ethan Frier

The IDEOgraph

Ideograph (n): a picture or symbol used in a system of writing to represent a thing or an idea but not a particular word or phrase for it. IDEOgraph (n): a device that creates a physical representation of the spirit of IDEO Chicago by recording the ebb and flow of activity in the most beloved […]

"NOAM is helping achieve new levels of prototyping, both inside IDEO and out."
Tim Brown


Noam is a software-messaging platform created by IDEO to help hardware and software tools communicate with one another. To introduce Noam to the world, we wanted to build a physical manifestation of the platform, something that was—like Noam—fun and exciting but also remarkably simple to use. After a bit of brainstorming, we hit on the […]