the wonderful world of eye-dee-oh

Tim Brown:

More importantly, we realized a couple of years ago that most of our best thinking was emerging from within the firm, not from the senior executives. So we built what we called the Tube: a distinctive knowledge-sharing platform. It’s built around collaborating.

At the core is a Web site where every individual at IDEO has his or her own page. On my page, for example, you’ll see all the projects I’ve ever worked on, the experience I have, what I’m going to be doing for the next three months, and my blog. For every project and client, we post stories: how we tackled a question, what we’ve learned from it, who worked on it. Then, in wikis, people who are interested in certain topics share ideas and prototype them together. Our internal discussion group on the social impact of design has tens of thousands of pages…

In another experiment in collaboration, we set up a series of global Rube Goldberg–type machines — virtual exercises in which each action had to trigger some other movement far away. In Palo Alto, a Tickle Me Elmo doll might nose-dive into a mouse, which would click on a print server in Shanghai, which would print out a piece of paper that knocked a ball off the printer, which would trigger a cell-phone signal in London. People had to work together across long distances to get these things to work.

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