Doug Solomon & Gentry Underwood • IDEO - InformationWeek
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6/18/2009
09:43 PM
Oliver Marks
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Doug Solomon & Gentry Underwood • IDEO

IDEO are an industrial design company who have evolved into an innovation and design company with eight international offices and 500 employees.Starting out historically with small project teams using lots of post it notes, it was hard to collaborate across organizations that are spread out across the world. IDEO looked for ways to build tools to build communities around common interests, passions and expertise in order to become one interconnected organization. Allowing employees to reveal what they're interested in and working on was seen as being of great value.They started by building a design team to attempt to see internal processes as a client engagement to craft an appropriate environment for IDEO work practices.The goals were to build a system that targets process friction points and addresses them without overwhelming people with new processes and tools.The IDEO Intranet environment is contained in a custom Ruby wrapper, using ThoughtFarmer for wikis, Movable Type for blogging and some legacy asset and data applications.This was IDEO's fifth attempt at launching wikis before they got it right. Email is still alive and strong as a primary communication medium but wikis are getting stronger usage. Internally people now find health claim forms and other bureaucratic materials through wikis instead of email.The system has had a very enthusiastic uptake internally, becoming very integral to the way people work. There is now a high level of internal blogging.Although aware that every culture is different, IDEO offer consulting to other companies based on their experiences creating their internal collaboration environment.

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