Ideo Harvard Business Case

Corporations were drawn to IDEO because the company had a proven system of developing the best products by using their key ingredients for innovative strategy. In this case, I will analyze the founder’s main issues, development of the Palm V, Handspring, and my own managerial perspective of the process. Founder’s Main Issues The main issues of the case are in the hands of Dennis Boyle. He is faced with an interesting dilemma. Should Boyle: Sacrifice the steps in IDEO’s development process? Hold on to their development philosophy? Use the Visor to keep a large and prominent corporate client happy?

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Use the experience to learn about how to capitalize more efficiently on their own internal resources? Risk questioning the integrity of the company? (working with the competitor) Boyle needed to make a quick but well thought out decision. Palm V Issues The original idea with the Palm Pilot was figuring out how to scale down the functionality of a computer to something that can fit in the palm of your hand. Now the issue was how to keep ahead in the market and expand to include female customers. It was evident that females generally avoided Palms because of their “manly” appearance and dreary gray color scheme.

The Palm V would need to be lighter, smaller, and available in different colors. IDEO quickly began to work on this project headed by Dennis Boyle. Boyle’s Team ran into several issues in the development process. These included: Understand Phase 10-12 weeks {text:list-item} In response, Boyle needed to purchase and distribute Palm’s to everyone to so they can make proper observations which included: {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Phase I (visualize and realize) {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Issues text:list-item} {text:list-item} The result of this phase was a prototype that could have multiple color skins as add-ons, and a dual rail stylus holder to suit left or right handed people. Additionally, they were challenged by having to communicate with Asian manufactures and focus on using the anodized aluminum. Phase II (evaluation and refinement) {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Phase III (detailed engineering) {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Issues {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Phase IV (manufacturing liaison) text:list-item} Issues {text:list-item} {text:list-item} {text:list-item} Handspring Hurdles The Handspring Visor project was a greater challenge for all the team members. The first issue IDEO had to deal with was that they were asked to create the competitor of the Palm V. The second major hurdle for the team was Handspring’s cost and time limitations. This challenged the very manner in which IDEO had always operated. They abided by the principle of, “fail often to succeed sooner. ” Now they would have to “fail less often” to succeed sooner and make the time limitations.

This proposed model also included several new “feature” challenges. Springboard slots, price, ($150) skeptics, (people don’t want combination devices) ROM cards, microphone, smaller, lighter, and thinner. Recommendations I have two main recommendations. The first is that IDEO tries to convince Handspring’s management to retreat back to their original spring 2000 launch date. Boyle stated that he prefers 20 months for product development instead of the 10 month time frame proposed. This compromise would give IDEO 16 months for product development. Boyle was confident and focused enough to make any deadline.

It is important that IDEO not sacrifice its innovation process, the cornerstone of who and what they are, for speed. The risk is that the project is a failure and does not live up to their reputation and standards. This one project could also open the door for future client’s dependence on this time frame. This could ruin IDEO’s philosophy and methodology. Overall, a 2000 spring launch date would still be a success because of all the enhanced features and benefits. Furthermore, the product should be a hit either way. If Handspring does not agree, I would advise Boyle to reject the project.

My second recommendation is that Boyle proceeds with the project. This is contingent on first ensuring that no legality problems will arise in working with a direct competitor. Since the same people are involved in the project, IDEO could really start where they left off with the Palm V. The software will be compatible, and the leaders are remaining the same. The knowledge they have should help them conquer any past limitations such as the battery or glue. The limited time frame may help the team grow and perhaps IDEO could have a special team for projects that require rare circumstances.

IDEO could charge a premium for this type of service. Overall, they would not want reduced status in the future by turning down a project for a successful client. I think Boyle should just make it clear to Hawkins that this is a special favor because of their past relationship. He needs to be firm in conveying that this cannot happen again and that IDEO’s success stems from proven methodology. The above recommendations will have their pro’s and con’s on the organization but I would personally pursue the project. I would always push the company to its limits and learn from my mistakes.


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