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The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm

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IDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid's I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V, and hundreds of other cutting-edge products and services, reveals its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation. There isn't a business in America that doesn't want to be more creative in its thi IDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid's I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V, and hundreds of other cutting-edge products and services, reveals its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation. There isn't a business in America that doesn't want to be more creative in its thinking, products, and processes. At many companies, being first with a concept and first to market are critical just to survive. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit. IDEO doesn't buy into the myth of the lone genius working away in isolation, waiting for great ideas to strike. Kelley believes everyone can be creative, and the goal at his firm is to tap into that wellspring of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life. How does it do that? IDEO fosters an atmosphere conducive to freely expressing ideas, breaking the rules, and freeing people to design their own work environments. IDEO's focus on teamwork generates countless breakthroughs, fueled by the constant give-and-take among people ready to share ideas and reap the benefits of the group process. IDEO has created an intense, quick-turnaround, brainstorm-and-build process dubbed "the Deep Dive." In entertaining anecdotes, Kelley illustrates some of his firm's own successes (and joyful failures), as well as pioneering efforts at other leading companies. The book reveals how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences. 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, and a full half-hour Nightline presentation of its creative process received one of the show's highest ratings. The Art of Innovation will provide business leaders with the insights and tools they need to make their companies the leading-edge, top-rated stars of their industries. From the Hardcover edition.


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IDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid's I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V, and hundreds of other cutting-edge products and services, reveals its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation. There isn't a business in America that doesn't want to be more creative in its thi IDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid's I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V, and hundreds of other cutting-edge products and services, reveals its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation. There isn't a business in America that doesn't want to be more creative in its thinking, products, and processes. At many companies, being first with a concept and first to market are critical just to survive. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit. IDEO doesn't buy into the myth of the lone genius working away in isolation, waiting for great ideas to strike. Kelley believes everyone can be creative, and the goal at his firm is to tap into that wellspring of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life. How does it do that? IDEO fosters an atmosphere conducive to freely expressing ideas, breaking the rules, and freeing people to design their own work environments. IDEO's focus on teamwork generates countless breakthroughs, fueled by the constant give-and-take among people ready to share ideas and reap the benefits of the group process. IDEO has created an intense, quick-turnaround, brainstorm-and-build process dubbed "the Deep Dive." In entertaining anecdotes, Kelley illustrates some of his firm's own successes (and joyful failures), as well as pioneering efforts at other leading companies. The book reveals how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences. 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, and a full half-hour Nightline presentation of its creative process received one of the show's highest ratings. The Art of Innovation will provide business leaders with the insights and tools they need to make their companies the leading-edge, top-rated stars of their industries. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm

  1. 4 out of 5

    Iftekhar Alam Himel

    Too many words, too few ideas. I value a non-fiction work on its steep learning curve, proper data & facts and precise construction. I cannot say that the book performed very well in all criteria. The book does offer good insights into product development & pave ways into creative process. But the construction could have been more organized. Well you can forgive that for a first book & the fact that it is about “creative process”. It does lack insights driven by proper data/facts. All Too many words, too few ideas. I value a non-fiction work on its steep learning curve, proper data & facts and precise construction. I cannot say that the book performed very well in all criteria. The book does offer good insights into product development & pave ways into creative process. But the construction could have been more organized. Well you can forgive that for a first book & the fact that it is about “creative process”. It does lack insights driven by proper data/facts. All that insights based on “it felt good/bad” just does not seem interesting & valuable enough for a business book. The major drawback the book suffers is that: IT CAN BE EASILY CUT INTO HALF. Well there are just too many redundancies, too many places where the author is saying the same thing with different packaging. There were times I got lost on the core ideas. But overall, I cannot ignore the insights & say they were not valuable. The book does provide a very good way to guide creative thinking process.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ron Banister

    Great insight into the creative process. Updates to follow...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gergely

    It feels a bit like a corporate autobiography, with its many stories, looking back how things worked before, like leafing through an interesting photo album at a friend's house. Still, I did take away quite a few notes, that seem to influence my thinking in general, almost right away. - I feel like I became more observant, things around me offer more opportunities - I like the idea of "everything can be improved", and it gives me a fresh look - Prototype early, prototype often - So many different way It feels a bit like a corporate autobiography, with its many stories, looking back how things worked before, like leafing through an interesting photo album at a friend's house. Still, I did take away quite a few notes, that seem to influence my thinking in general, almost right away. - I feel like I became more observant, things around me offer more opportunities - I like the idea of "everything can be improved", and it gives me a fresh look - Prototype early, prototype often - So many different ways to have fun and add value to one's organization This is not a recipe book, it cannot be applied to everyone, right away, and without further thinking, that's not its aim either. It gives a compelling case to shake things up.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Moseley

    This was a good set of innovations that the Ideo had been involved in over the years. It begun really interestingly but seemed to go on anf on in the same vain. I am nit sure how much I got out of the examples. There seemed to be less insite in to the process of innovcation how to be more innovative in a modern world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    While many of the examples (e.g. Palm V) were dated, this book remained a very interesting read. Through ample supply of fun stories, I got a glimpse of the day in and out of innovators' life at Ideo. While design thinking becomes very popular these days and there are many workshops offering the experience (e.g. in 1 - 2 days) in a more defined and succinct way, it becomes even more valuable for me to learn about where the history/the journey/the enthusiasm was rooted. Just like how I think ab While many of the examples (e.g. Palm V) were dated, this book remained a very interesting read. Through ample supply of fun stories, I got a glimpse of the day in and out of innovators' life at Ideo. While design thinking becomes very popular these days and there are many workshops offering the experience (e.g. in 1 - 2 days) in a more defined and succinct way, it becomes even more valuable for me to learn about where the history/the journey/the enthusiasm was rooted. Just like how I think about reading a "how-to" book or attending a course is like the 1% and 1 data point of the story. The story of "casual -effect" The "effect" is the book/workshop. Without the looping and dynamics of internal and external causes 天時地利人和 and these causes building on each other, the "effects" shown up in how-to book/sharing/workshop would not the same. Therefore, I found it quite fascinating for reading the juicy stories (even though some seem repetitive). Maybe it is through these bits and pieces, they gave me insights through connecting the dots and that fits my learning style.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anežka Svobodová

    The anecdotes from IDEO are fun to read about. However the book seems to be only a collection of such stories of what they did 20 years ago and how. No matter how inspiring, some of those examples are already totally outdated (like the PALM computers) and I think the book lacks more methodology sections or a good story. I can imagine it could be either a good narrative of how IDEO started and operated or a good guidebook on how to innovate, but in the end it is neither. To summarise what I learn The anecdotes from IDEO are fun to read about. However the book seems to be only a collection of such stories of what they did 20 years ago and how. No matter how inspiring, some of those examples are already totally outdated (like the PALM computers) and I think the book lacks more methodology sections or a good story. I can imagine it could be either a good narrative of how IDEO started and operated or a good guidebook on how to innovate, but in the end it is neither. To summarise what I learned from the book: a) work in teams that are diverse and invest in the spirit of these teams, b) keep your environment creative, it stimulates innovation, c) optimise for human usage, d) do quick prototypes: rather than designing something for a long time, it is more effective to start with a prototype and then improve upon it - designing should be done in 3D prototypes rather than words or sketches.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rohit Yadav

    Success depends on both what you do & how you do. Try stuff & then ask for forgiveness Fail often to succeed sooner Innovate or die There are always more opportunity to create excitement then you think. Never underestimate the barrier to people accepting a new idea Routine is the enemy of innovation. Break the rules, let the colours spill Entering fun competition & mastering fundamentals. Mindset: Playful Creating seamless wow experience: Learning from Vegas & AU. How could you turn ___ Success depends on both what you do & how you do. Try stuff & then ask for forgiveness Fail often to succeed sooner Innovate or die There are always more opportunity to create excitement then you think. Never underestimate the barrier to people accepting a new idea Routine is the enemy of innovation. Break the rules, let the colours spill Entering fun competition & mastering fundamentals. Mindset: Playful Creating seamless wow experience: Learning from Vegas & AU. How could you turn ___ into fun experience? Think of product in terms of verbs rather than nouns. Create for entertainment. Give experience gifts. Everyone can be creative, you just need a culture to encourage it Creative space: Autonomy & ownership, balance of privacy/openness, impromptu meetings, hobbies & celebration of work, non verbal signals of culture, celebrates team work & processes Methodology: Understand, Observe, Visualize, Refine, Implement Observe: Create a bug list, being left handed, whom to observe (why/why not) The human factor: Make trade off that user would accept Cross pollinate: Tech box, Variety (reading, experience, team), Club learning, Change hats Barrier jumping: What are the potential obstacles to adoption? Ritual rewards, FUD factor ,Cultural, generation, gender differences. How could you make your idea more approachable?Evangelism works. Expect the unexpected: Be flexible

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    Despite being 17 years old, I thought there was a lot of great information in this book. I recommend this book to any entrepreneur or certainly anyone managing a team. They would benefit from the author's tips on creating an environment that encourages creativity and values experimenting. I think most businesses are blind to the impact their culture has on both what and how employees work. I found Thomas' writing to be inspiring and encouraging -- everything can be improved upon. When you start Despite being 17 years old, I thought there was a lot of great information in this book. I recommend this book to any entrepreneur or certainly anyone managing a team. They would benefit from the author's tips on creating an environment that encourages creativity and values experimenting. I think most businesses are blind to the impact their culture has on both what and how employees work. I found Thomas' writing to be inspiring and encouraging -- everything can be improved upon. When you start thinking this way, it's infectious. It can impact everything. I don't understand the negative reviews -- they seemed to miss the point. So yes, the Palm Pilot is dead, but the way that came to be, and all the lessons surrounding all the products, are valid. Even today.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Hanson

    A Refresher on the Importance of Innovation This book was a good read. Lots of fun stories about the experiences IDEO has had in practicing innovation. While it doesn't provide the silver bullet answer to your problems, it provides great tips on topics like brainstorming, and serves as a reminder that innovation is something that we should all make an effort to practice every day. I particularly enjoyed the sections where the stories offered up examples of finding inspiration in unexpected indust A Refresher on the Importance of Innovation This book was a good read. Lots of fun stories about the experiences IDEO has had in practicing innovation. While it doesn't provide the silver bullet answer to your problems, it provides great tips on topics like brainstorming, and serves as a reminder that innovation is something that we should all make an effort to practice every day. I particularly enjoyed the sections where the stories offered up examples of finding inspiration in unexpected industries and locations. If you are in the business of building things, you should give this book a read. At times it felt like a bit too much of an advertisement for IDEO, but the good outweighs the bad.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Excellent book! This book emphasizes the need to foster innovation and creativity to ensure status quo is not maintained in the pursuit of improvements for products and services. A problem is defined and teams are formed to brainstorm how to solve them. All ideas are considered and the group takes the best of them and continues to develop them. Key elements are perseverance and finishing the project to completion. There are examples of innovative solutions that were developed using design thinki Excellent book! This book emphasizes the need to foster innovation and creativity to ensure status quo is not maintained in the pursuit of improvements for products and services. A problem is defined and teams are formed to brainstorm how to solve them. All ideas are considered and the group takes the best of them and continues to develop them. Key elements are perseverance and finishing the project to completion. There are examples of innovative solutions that were developed using design thinking.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve Bullington

    First published in 2001, almost all of the product and company examples are out of date (Netscape and Palm). The concepts though are even more relevant and important today than that hey we’re back then. This book will help you apply the concepts of Design Thinking to you company, product, service or software.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Tom Kelley writes a great story on the many paths to innovate in the business world. It also stands as a company brochure to promote and share the best practices at IDEO (world leading design firm), Kelley’s firm. All concepts and techniques are illustrated by case studies and real-world examples, so that every reader can understand and most importantly apply that knowledge.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robert Bogue

    One of the quirky things about the way that I dig into topics is that sometimes it’s like reading a book from the back to the front. I read the most recent things first before getting back to more foundational works. That’s absolutely the case with The Art of Innovation. I have previously reviewed Tom and David Kelley’s book, Creative Confidence, which made mention to this earlier work. It was also referenced in The Medici Effect and The Innovator’s DNA. Getting back to this classic book was jus One of the quirky things about the way that I dig into topics is that sometimes it’s like reading a book from the back to the front. I read the most recent things first before getting back to more foundational works. That’s absolutely the case with The Art of Innovation. I have previously reviewed Tom and David Kelley’s book, Creative Confidence, which made mention to this earlier work. It was also referenced in The Medici Effect and The Innovator’s DNA. Getting back to this classic book was just a matter of time, given the respect that other authors have for Tom Kelley and the team at IDEO. Click here to read the full review

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Really interesting reading about a lot of history in design thinking. Is amazing how close their predictions were reading this 17 years after it was written. A lot of good ideas about how to build a place that encourages innovation. Very focused on product design however. Something how well it translates to services.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Whitlock

    Lots of great ideas from a firm that I deeply respect. While I agree with and appreciated the point that some level of fun/playfulness is required for Innovation, I didn't appreciate that Tom applied this point to the entire structure, prose, and content of this book. It's a very folksy telling, which made it entertaining but also less rigorous, structured, and fact-based. [Will update]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Warren Mcpherson

    Many tidbits of wisdom assembled in a whimsical style that seems to give a very good insight into the culture of the Ideo design firm. While the book does reflect a great creative culture it doesn't feel like it systematic or rigorous enough to build strong knowledge. I suspect version 2 of this book "Creative Confidence" will be an improvement and I am looking forward to reading it next.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tanner

    Audible. Ideo sounds like a pretty awesome company. Book was a good reference guide on some stuff to try with innovation/design. Material covered in the book is very similar to other innovation/business types.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

    Wonderful read from a general manager at IDEO talking about this innovation consulting firm’s philsophies: focusing on storytelling, focusing on user experience to make it unique, how to brainstorm effectively, and how to prototype well.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vishal Patel

    It could have been better book with better writing style, author may claim this as his “unique” style of his own but as a avid reader , I found it boring. Good ideas though , it just needs Midas touch of better structure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Although the book focused on innovation at IDEO it contained many strategies which can be adapted for various industries. Definitely a good read for anyone looking to incorporate a culture of innovation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shane Doyle

    The best way I describe it is: At times it was a great book and at other times I was bored. But saying that they're some great insights in this book that I'll be using in the future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paz

    Es como un comercial de IDEO.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    The history of IDEO and their projects.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Teri Temme

    Loved it! Great stories and insights into innovation.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mostaque Ahammed

    This book portrays how IDEO works. The secrecy behind they continuously innovate and almost all sort of sectors.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sijmen

    Some interesting ideas that would have fit well in a short blog post, interspersed with lots of self congratulatory anecdotes for padding and 20/20 hindsight.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Harlen

    It's a good book. I really liked the parts on the history and origins of IDEO. The examples and case studies however felt super dated.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Observation, brainstorming and prototyping are the 3 secrets of innovation ! I enjoyed the section on brainstorming but the whole book did begin to feel like an IDEO commercial!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diego Leal

    Do's and Dont's of innovation. Many good examples referencing real cases and real companies. IDEO pats itself in the back a little too much in this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I thought Creative Confidence was a much stronger book - and it makes sense since it was developed much later.

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