Topics: Palm OS, Innovation, Jeff Hawkins Pages: 13 (3995 words) Published: June 12, 2012
HBS Case IDEO Product Development


IDEO, arguably the most successful design firm in the world, has been in the creativity and innovation business for over 20 years. IDEO started with a merger of three design companies, which brought together the capabilities to offer the design, development, and manufacturing of products for client companies. IDEO practices a non-formal five-phase process for development of a project, which uncovers the successes and failures of a design. These phases include frequent brainstorming, rapid and repeated prototyping, and concurrent engineering, which combines art with engineering to produce a functional and visually pleasing product. IDEO considers each phase of their process to be essential to development of a winning design. For two decades, IDEO has contributed to the design of thousands of new products ranging from a computer mouse to a stand-up toothpaste dispenser.

Dennis Boyle, a senior project leader and studio manager for IDEO, is pondering a development proposal from Handspring, a new venture seeking to create a hand-held computer device to compete with the popular Palm V product, which was developed by Boyle’s team. Boyle is considering the business advantage of the proposal. Handspring, however, wants an aggressive development and launch schedule for its new product. Boyle is wondering if this is the right move for IDEO and is considering the ramifications if the Visor product ends up being a failure.

The hand-held computer market is growing rapidly with the major success of the PalmPilot, as well as, the upcoming highly anticipated release of the Palm V from 3Com. One of the key Palm developers at 3Com, Jeff Hawkins, recently departed on good terms to form a new company, Handspring. Hawkins has a vision to create a product that will be fully compatible with the Palm line, but will be smaller and less expensive. His vision also includes adding a slot feature that will accept exchangeable read-only memory (ROM) cards that will generate varying functions. These add-on modules would offer the consumer more options and customization with the hand-held device, which could further revolutionize the market. Hawkins and his team at Handspring need the expertise of a design firm to prototype and develop his vision. Handspring is offering the development proposal to IDEO, with an extremely aggressive timeline for completion.

Boyle is apprehensive about the consequences that a rushed development will have on the quality of the end-product. Boyle is aware that if he chooses to accept the Visor project on the desired timeline, he and his IDEO team would have to eliminate the early phases of their distinguished design process. They would have to simply rely on the past work completed on the Palm V, and would not be able to experiment with new technology or new market research. Also, confidentiality must be maintained throughout development, which Boyle realizes will be difficult and uncomfortable since his team is still involved in the Palm V project. Boyle must also consider IDEO’s reputation and any negative publicity that may surface if the Visor project is not successful.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents4
Characterize IDEO’s process, organization, culture, and management5

Case Background11
Alternatives and Discussion13
Advantages and Disadvantages of Accepting Proposal14
Convince Handspring to increase the deadline?15
Advantages and Disadvantages of Declining Visor Project16

Characterize IDEO’s process, organization, culture, and management

IDEO’s process could be described as focused chaos (Deep Dive - IDEO Shopping...

References: Deep Dive - IDEO Shopping Cart. (1999). ABC Nightline episode.
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Enlightened Trial and Error Outperforms the Planning of Flawless Intellects. (2009, March 25). Retrieved October 07, 2011, from What 's Best Next:
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Goldenburg, J., Horowitz, R., Levav, A., &Mazursky, D. (2003, March). Finding Your Innovation Sweet Spot. Harvard Business Review, pp. 120 – 129.
Kelley, D., & Littman, J. (2001). The Art of Innovation. New York: Random House.
McGregor, J. (2007, May 4). The World 's Most Innovative Companies: The Leaders in Nurturing Cultures of Creativity. Business Week.
Sethi, R., Smith, D., & Park, C. (2002, August). How to Kill a Team 's Creativity. Harvard Business Review.
Thomke, S., & Nimgade, A. (2007). IDEO Product Development. Harvard Business School.
Wasserman, A. (2010, 12). Generative Visual Thinking and The "Culture of the Charrette". Retrieved October 20, 2011, from Collective Invention:
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