I have a crush. A business crush, that is. I had never dreamt of “being” with a business until I met IDEO.
Sure, I imagined working for Disney when I was a child. There was magic there and I wanted to know how it was made. In high school I fell in love with Pixar. In my brief teenage ardor, I bought the jumping lamp. I collected Woody and Buzz Lightyear puppets from McDonalds, only to later give them to my young niece without a spot of remorse.
But with IDEO, it’s different. It’s a grown up business crush, one that could last to infinity and beyond! IDEO is a global design company at the forefront of modern day corporate innovation. They are committed to creating positive impact.
“My dream for the future of IDEO is the same as it was back then: that everyone at IDEO finds their calling, that being here feels like working with friends, that we are all enjoying our lives, that we are engaged in what feels like important work we were personally put on Earth to do.” —David Kelley
IDEO has not only designed and innovated many of today’s technologies, they do so by fostering creativity both in their company and beyond! They started with the first Apple mouse, and moved on to creating answers to complex challenges from healthcare, government, and education. The employees of IDEO are experts on the process of innovation. They come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, including psychology, anthropology, linguistics, biology, and fine art. A business or marketing degree at IDEO, while useful, is not the standard. These diverse groups of people innovate new ideas for companies, and they are not picky. They will dive into creating a better toothbrush with the same open mind they use to design space shuttles.
I am currently reading (or shall I say devouring) Tom Kelley’s book The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Beating the Devil’s Advocate & Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization. Kelley is the general manager at IDEO and the author of several books on innovation. In this book, Kelley shows us how all those diverse educations at IDEO come together to springboard creativity and innovation for their clients. He presents ten kinds of personas that have a specific viewpoints for addressing the process of innovation.
“The Ten Faces of Innovation is about how people and teams put into practice methods and techniques that infuse enterprises with a continuous spirit of creative evolution.” ~Tom Kelley
Kelley divides the personas into three subsets, Learning Personas, Organizing Personas, and Building Personas. He does make it clear that these personas are not limited to a specific kind of person, that anyone can adopt a particular viewpoint (or several) to push an idea forward. These personas work to combat the negativity of the Devil’s Advocate viewpoint, the stance that excuses idea bashing by “side-stepping individual responsibility for the verbal attack” and “torching” a fledgling concept before it can be fully realized.
At IDEO, while there are hierarchies of management, there appears to be a common respect for all manner of abilities. They are perfecting the process of innovation beginning with a creative idea and ending with a viable product. As an artist who truly loves the journey of creating art, I am excited to learn about the Ten Faces of Innovation and how to use them to prompt other to think creatively.