7:35 a.m. - The IDEO Tokyo Team (Sungene Ryang, Davide Agnelli, Mike Peng, Kenichi Nonomura, Seisho Sumida, Evin Dempsey, Mai Yamada, Yoo Kyoung Noh) begins to slowly trickle into the office. Physically present, but mentally still waking up, the team is greeted with a selection of breads and a jug of coffee to stimulate the brain.
8:02 a.m. - The Global Make-a-Thon officially begins! The design teams are split into two groups of four, each balanced with members from different design disciplines and backgrounds. Mike begins the session with a short introduction of our collective challenge and reviews the six themes that the rest of IDEO has been thinking about.
8:10 a.m. - The brainstorming begins! Lots of chatter from all corners of the office. A big emerging theme seems to be about making the IDEO identity culturally relevant to the geographical location of the office. Lots of ideas around bringing in Japanese inspiration: Robots. Cherry blossoms. Seasons. Bento boxes. Zen. More ideas are drafted on Post-It notes. Sharpie sketches begin flying off desks and onto foam core boards.
8:26 a.m. - Crossing over to digital: Computers begin to open. People are bringing up inspirational videos to share with the larger group. One around Windows of NYC. Another one around beautiful clock and weather apps. Others look back to the Tumblr site to see what else has been submitted. Big ideas begin to form and passion is heating up.
8:45 a.m. - With brainstorming time winding down, the team begins to gravitate across a few ideas. Should we keep these ideas apart? Or should we combine them? Which ideas feel scalable across different offices? Which ones are we just excited and passionate about? The infamous IDEO "voting dots" are passed around the table. Each person gets a couple of stickers and places them on the ideas they want to take forward.
8:50 a.m. - The team huddles close to the office windows. The concept ideas with dots are taken off of the foam core board and placed directly on the window. The sun starts shining through on the second floor. A sign for a higher power? Potentially. The group decides on going forward with three conceptual directions:1.) Widgetry - What if IDEO's identity also provided useful information? What if the logo told you information such as the local time and weather—all in a beautiful way?
2.) Doors and Windows - What if every day, one IDEO letterblock became a window/door that opened up to reveal a little surprise? What if each door/window/opening could be contextually relevant to the content presented?
3.) Multi-faceted - What if we could see the other faces of the IDEO blocks? What would be on them? "IDEO" in different languages? Different Instagram photos from each location? A profile of an IDEO designer?
9:15 a.m. - Each communication/graphic designer chooses a direction to take on: for Yoo Kyoung, that's Widgetry; for Evin, it's Doors and Windows; for Seisho, it's Multi-faceted. The team divides up to provide additional input and assets for the designers to take forward. The team feels the time pressure. Pencils (or shall I say, mice) need to be down in just 30 minutes before other office meetings take place.
9:33 a.m. - Tokyo dials in Singapore to share what we've done and where we're going with the concepts. A receptive (and energetic) Singpore office welcomes the Tokyo office with open arms (and open ears!)—they're excited by the notion of cultural context. How might that play out in Singapore?
IDEO has roots dating back to 1978. Today, IDEO is an award winning global design and innovation consultancy. We create positive impact through design by taking a human-centered approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate, grow, and bring to market new ideas. We partner with leaders and change agents to identify new market opportunities, add value, and solve meaningful problems. We design and launch innovative products, services, ventures, and brands by combining business acumen with human-centered market insights. We help organizations to build the capabilities required to sustain innovation.