Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Art of Innovation

By: Tom Kelley
The title—The Art of Innovation; call’s out to the creative need that we all have within us…edging one to read this simple looking book.
Once you have read it you are hooked, as this simple looking book seek to logically answers the—BIG question; what is creativity and innovation and how best can one describe it.

The book has been written by the Tom Kelley, general manager of the now legendary Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, the design and development firm that brought many cutting-edge products and services to the world (Apple mouse, Polaroid's I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V etc.). Through this book he reveals the company’s secrets of fostering an environment and culture that has led to its continuously innovating and evolving by strategizing creatively, building brands that last and also developing one hit image/brand after another.
IDEO doesn't believe in the myth of the “lone genius working away in isolation waiting for great ideas to strike” it is their belief that everyone can be creative and the goal of his company is to tap the fountainhead of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life.

The logical question is…How does IDEO do that?
By fostering an atmosphere where all are encouraged to freely express ideas, break rules and help freeing individuals by letting them design their own work environments. At IDEO's the focus is on teamwork. Helping generate breakthroughs fueled by constant reciprocal among people always ready to share ideas and reap from the benefits of the group efforts. They have created an:
- Intense
- Quick-turnaround
- Brainstorm-and-build process
Dubbed as “the Deep Dive…!

Kelley through some entertaining anecdotes illustrates his firm's successes and also joyful failures. The book walks one through how great teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product/service, examining products from the perspective of the clients, consumers and critical audiences. He also Kelley takes the reader through the IDEO problem-solving method:
- Carefully observing the behavior or "anthropology" of the people who will be using a product or service.
- Brainstorming with high-energy sessions focused on tangible results.
- Quickly prototyping ideas and designs at every step of the way.
- Cross-pollinating to find solutions from other fields.
- Taking risks and failing your way to success.
- Building a "Greenhouse" for innovation (IDEO has won more awards in the last ten years than any other firm of its kind).
Check out the IDEO official website to have a better understanding of their work and philosophy:
http://www.ideo.com/ideo.asp

One of the favourite is the Dilbert Cubicle that they developed for Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert”. Also know as the “Ultimate Cubicle” at IDEO's headquarters in San Francisco, California it caters to the basic needs of most—eat, sleep, avoid the boss." Check out more details here:
http://www.ideo.com/dilbert/index.htm

Albert Einstein sums up innovation and creativity thus "Imagination is more important than knowledge."