Today, IDEO offers many services, including accounting, counseling, design, and branding. But what is its mission statement? Does it have a “design mindset”?
To truly understand the design mindset of IDEO, it’s important to look at its history. When discussing the history of the firm, one needs to realize that there are many “drawbacks” to the firm’s success.
One of the “drawbacks” of IDEO is that its greatest strengths, including its creative minds, the most creative members of its team, and their willingness to adapt to changing trends and new technology, can sometimes be over-emphasized. The design firm has also, at times, been “unwieldy,” which is another “drawback.”
The best way to think about Service Design (A) or any other service design firm is that it strives to create lasting designs, which can be applied to a variety of client projects. It aims to use a variety of different approach, mediums, and strategies to achieve a client goal. Service Design (A) is therefore, at times, a type of creativity, but it is also a form of “quality control”experience orientation.”
One problem with designing A (or any type of services design) for a client, however, is that “An A for an A’s sake” isn’t necessarily the best approach. What if you’re not satisfied with the end result?
Instead of seeking perfection, one must always strive to do your best with the tools that you have available to you, whether that’s IDEO or the “ideco” designer. If you find the tools and resources necessary to create the end result that you were trying to achieve, it’s OK to take a step back and ask yourself if the project will have a positive or negative impact on your company.
This is what Service Design (A) is all about, in my opinion. It requires you to consider the long-term effects of your efforts, rather than a short-term “get it done” mentality. In fact, for the best results, Service Design (A) is often quite frustrating, because it is a continual learning experience.
Designing services like this can make or break a company and companies like IDEO require great designers to work in a collaborative environment that fosters constant self-reflection and change. But it is the importance of this kind of situation that makes it so compelling. It does not work well for some companies, which is why many design firms exist, who enjoy more freedom to create solutions that are more practical.
While IDEO can work with “ideco” design agencies and even some software companies, they are considered “real” firms when they work with clients who have a design background and a strong belief in their own vision. For example, I’m thinking of the infamous “IDECO Readymade”, which was sold to Wal-Mart for over $600 million dollars.
IDEO is one of the few companies that can work with companies with these visions, and the challenge for IDEO (and all design firms) is how to keep the vision and principles consistent while working with a new or fast-changing client. That’s the reason why Service Design (A) is such a difficult task.
This kind of commitment to excellence is the goal of “ideco” design agencies like IDEO, which are doing everything they can to help people with their vision and to help design a successful solution for the client. People like me need to do what we can to give clients the tools to help themselves, but we must also be open to working with clients with different vision and motivations.