Tom Kelley with Jonathan
The Art of Innovation.
reading the first part of this book, as I felt part of the creative process in
establishing new insights into the thinking and processes that have led to the development
of some of the most visionary products to be marketed in the last 15 years, including
Apple's mouse and Oral-B's Squash Grip toothbrush.
A major aspect
of innovation for Tom Kelley is the establishment of teams. He does not believe that great
innovations happen in isolation. IDEO believe in establishing hot teams for projects,
drawing on the experience of members from diverse fields. A key aspect for success is the
lack of formality. This concept is reflected in the way offices are furnished and the way
members of staff relate to each other. As an ex-banker, I had a good laugh as he lambasted
established companies for their rigidity concerning seniority, office space size, window
size, and so forth. He believes that such hierarchy diminishes the possibilities for
creativity. Flexibility, informality, and team reinforcement are the IDEO creed.
I found the
chapters on brainstorming and observation to be fascinating, and I would certainly
encourage all our subscribers to read these sections in order to improve the functioning
of their businesses.
Kelley stresses that brainstorming must be an integral and continual part of the process
and not an exercise carried out from time to time without much enthusiasm. Clear pointers
to successful brainstorming are advanced.
observation, Kelley points out that a number of the IDEO's successful designs were
accomplished only by visiting the place of final use, observing and understanding the
targeted users, and then discussing with them what was really needed. From my own
experience in consulting, many innovators assume working practices and desires without
actually getting critical hands on experience.
Other aspects of
design work such as simplicity and the need to continually build and refine prototypes are
The book is full
of examples of the IDEO's successes and some failures. I found the last 100 pages somewhat
repetitive and in need of editing. However, I would recommend this book to all
entrepreneurs and senior managers in established firms. I believe this book gives a clear
insight into how to obtain and maintain successful innovation.