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IDEO

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Posted by IDEO  |  13 Nov 2013  |  Comments (1)

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Since 1866, when John Boultbee Brooks first wielded his iron awl and cobbler's hammer to stretch leather over a bike saddle, his company has been known for its craftsmanship, durability, and quirky British insistence on doing things differently. Cyclists are fiercely attached to the brand. Thus, when Brooks England turned to IDEO to design its first new bike saddle in decades, it was essential that the design pay respect to the company's heritage.

The result is the Cambium C17, a saddle that offers the same durability as traditional Brooks leather saddles but with instant comfort and weather protection. It took them nearly seven years to source the materials and perfect the process for creating a more comfortable saddle. Project Lead Thomas Overthun sheds some light on IDEO's approach to the challenge.

Disruptive innovation is at the core of Brooks' heritage. There were no comfortable saddles before Brooks invented their now-classic, but then-revolutionary and high-tech leather saddle. Brooks took a simple hammock construction concept and combined it with natural, high-quality materials that promoted comfort but were also durable enough to last a lifetime.

The company also had a history of being slightly quirky and doing things differently, so we wanted to revive that spirit and make it relevant to an emerging group of users. Unfortunately, a lot of heritage brands have a tendency to stagnate a bit because they work hard to preserve a product's original attributes. Taking risks is how other heritage brands have taken a step forward, grown and innovated—a good example is Burberry evolving from the original trench coat design. Doing something different is risky, but it's also what makes a project exciting.

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Posted by IDEO  |  27 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)

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IDEO just completed 24 hours of prototyping in public from Tokyo to San Francisco. We've effectively pulled a global all-nighter. It's left me with the hollow feeling one has after last call, followed by the rush of adrenaline to press on and watch the sunrise. Paul's initial comments were right. It is terrifying to be vulnerable in such a way. Would we have interesting ideas or fall flat under pressure? Would we come across as curious or as self-important? Would the technology work?

Handwringing be damned. The Global Make-a-Thon turned out to be a delightful exploration of personality and meaning. It affirmed our roots in a graphic identity that celebrates personal, community, and collective expression. It taught us about ourselves, what we value, and what we should do next.

Immediately after the Make-a-Thon, a group of 20 designers* from around the globe convened in San Francisco to discuss the concepts on the "UnThemes." The designs are rendered at every degree of fidelity and run the gamut from advanced to bizarre, from systems to illustrations. As we waded through the ideas together, patterns emerged.

First, we LOVE the squares. Nearly every idea submitted used them and with varied expression. The squares became windows to the world, small frames highlighting details, building blocks, sculptural cubes, stamps, video game sprites, and even architecture. These expressions feel like an inevitable build. Rand designed our first logo as a combinatorial geometric frieze of squares. Bierut refined this into a flexible graphic system of marks, typography, and color. Now through this experiment we are seeing hints of our next major evolution: a living platform that is adaptable, reconfigurable, locally nuanced, and contextually aware.

This is most clear when looking at the designs from each studio. The character of the designers and the context of each culture shine brightly. Look at the paper screens from Tokyo, the personal portraits from Mumbai, the experimentation in Boston, or the symbolism from New York. Each of us feels this identity is ours and that's the beauty of it. It's a simple design that becomes a vessel to fill. Even more interesting, it is expression that invites questions and builds rapport. This was a shift we were seeking from the outset. We want to move from an emphasis on declarative expression to a more inclusive identity, to create a bridge between us and our collaborators.

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Posted by IDEO  |  26 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)

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On Monday, IDEO Bay storytellers (San Francisco and Palo Alto) gathered in the San Francisco studio, bracketed by palm trees and sunshine.

We began by exploring the Global Make-a-Thon inspiration from our colleagues around the globe. We also looked to the science and math underpinning our logo for inspiration. IDEO Chicago designer Sara Frisk, whose first job was at Pentagram under Michael Bierut, flagged the geometry underneath the IDEO logo and showed us the IDEO logo laid out via X's and Y's. Kismet, anyone?

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We broke up into teams for three short design charrettes. At the end of each charrette, we shared concepts with the larger group and then shuffled teams for the next session, building on the previous session's ideas.

Three early concepts here in the Bay Area:

1.) The Logonator/Configurator: How might we platform the logo to create a human-centered identity configuration tool that showcases the full spectrum of we are and what we do, from micro to macro, from playful to serious? We were inspired by Issey Miyake's playful video, and the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's curation by color.

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2.) The Dialogue Between Context/Content: We are inspired by local context, from Japanese cherry blossoms to Australian aboriginal installations of local materials. How might we adapt for context? How do we make something feel inevitable, yet also customizable/personal?

3.) The Listening Logo: Are we there to absorb and learn? Are we there to present a point of view? The logo is a symbol of our modes of interaction. How might it shift accordingly? A business card is a souvenir of a personal interaction. How might we invite people to interact with us in a compelling way?

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Check out IDEO San Francisco + Palo Alto's concepts (under #sfbay) on our Six Themes Tumblr site, and stay tuned for a comprehensive synthesis of the ideas generated during IDEO's 24-Hour 'Brand New IDEO' Make-a-Thon!

* * *

Brand New IDEO centers on a 24-hour global Make-a-Thon taking place on Monday, March 25th in IDEO's eleven offices around the world, starting in Tokyo and ending in San Francisco.

Brand New IDEO:
» Preview with Michael Hendrix and Paul Bennett in Conversation
» Opening Remarks by Michael Hendrix
» Tokyo: Robots, Cherry Blossoms & Bento Boxes
» Singapore: Origami & Experiments with 3D
» Mumbai: Minimum Viable Logo & Windows on the World
» Shanghai: Morning Exercise, Jump Rope and Calligraphy
» Munich: Personalize, Simply and Move
» London: The Grid Grows
» Boston: Crafting and Prototyping with Wood, Dye & Cornstarch
» New York: Exploring Music, Verbs and Cubes
» Chicago: Sketching Sine Waves to R&B
» San Francisco Bay: Build to Think, Dive Into Abstraction, and Embrace the Infinite Grid
» What We Learned and What's Next

Posted by IDEO  |  26 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)

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On Monday, IDEO Chicago's team filled the room with goodness. We kicked off the Make-a-Thon exercise by posting inspiration from the Six Themes Tumblr site and discussing some of the most prominent themes. The next thing we knew, Elaine Fong had filled the room with sounds from the nineties-—R&B style. Designers began sketching, cutting, filming and testing out ideas. Together we explored, we inspired, we got creative and we forgot about lunch (well, almost). All in all, it wasn't unlike an average day at IDEO.

Joe Graceffa (top image) experiments with replacing the four letters that make up the word IDEO with words that represent our culture, as well as the types of emotion that we hope to inspire in others. Here, Joe experiments with how to capture and share his concept.

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Here, Josh Sin sketches sine waves to represent the discipline, background, and energies of the individuals in the room and the articulation toward various streams of work. The sine waves and their permutations informed Josh's design concept "IDEO Signatures."

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Murphy MacDonald and Nick Inzucchi help Mary Foyder animate her concept "Alive & In Shadow," which plays with light, shadow and movement to bring the IDEO logo to life.

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Mary Foyder, Murphy MacDonald, Josh Sin, Dave Vondle, Ryan Sievert, Burton Rast and Joe Graceffa review early concepts and devise the best way to divide and conquer in time to meet the deadline.

Check out Chicago's concepts on our Six Themes Tumblr site.

* * *

Brand New IDEO centers on a 24-hour global Make-a-Thon taking place on Monday, March 25th in IDEO's eleven offices around the world, starting in Tokyo and ending in San Francisco.

Brand New IDEO:
» Preview with Michael Hendrix and Paul Bennett in Conversation
» Opening Remarks by Michael Hendrix
» Tokyo: Robots, Cherry Blossoms & Bento Boxes
» Singapore: Origami & Experiments with 3D
» Mumbai: Minimum Viable Logo & Windows on the World
» Shanghai: Morning Exercise, Jump Rope and Calligraphy
» Munich: Personalize, Simply and Move
» London: The Grid Grows
» Boston: Crafting and Prototyping with Wood, Dye & Cornstarch
» New York: Exploring Music, Verbs and Cubes
» Chicago: Sketching Sine Waves to R&B
» San Francisco Bay: Build to Think, Dive Into Abstraction, and Embrace the Infinite Grid
» What We Learned and What's Next

Posted by IDEO  |  26 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)

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On Monday, the Global Make-a-Thon baton passed to IDEO New York. We explored our identity in three ways: as a language, as handwritten and as 'four things.'

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Working in generative teams we ideated around our brand as a verb, "to IDEO," as a 3-dimensional cube, as four musical notes, and as Post-it note art. We were inspired by everything from nature to Instagram to slot machines.

Check out New York's concepts on our Six Themes Tumblr site.

* * *

Brand New IDEO centers on a 24-hour global Make-a-Thon taking place on Monday, March 25th in IDEO's eleven offices around the world, starting in Tokyo and ending in San Francisco.

Brand New IDEO:
» Preview with Michael Hendrix and Paul Bennett in Conversation
» Opening Remarks by Michael Hendrix
» Tokyo: Robots, Cherry Blossoms & Bento Boxes
» Singapore: Origami & Experiments with 3D
» Mumbai: Minimum Viable Logo & Windows on the World
» Shanghai: Morning Exercise, Jump Rope and Calligraphy
» Munich: Personalize, Simply and Move
» London: The Grid Grows
» Boston: Crafting and Prototyping with Wood, Dye & Cornstarch
» New York: Exploring Music, Verbs and Cubes
» Chicago: Sketching Sine Waves to R&B
» San Francisco Bay: Build to Think, Dive Into Abstraction, and Embrace the Infinite Grid
» What We Learned and What's Next