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Type Private
Founded 1991; 23 years ago (1991)
Founders David Kelley[1]
Headquarters Palo Alto, California, United States
Key people
Employees 550 (2008)

IDEO (pronounced "eye-dee-oh") is an international design and consulting firm founded in Palo Alto, California, in 1991.[2] The company has locations in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Boston, London, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore, Mumbai, Seoul, and Tokyo.[3] The company helps design products, services, environments, and digital experiences.[2] Additionally, the company has become increasingly involved in management consulting and organizational design.[4]

IDEO was formed in 1991 by a merger of four established design firms: David Kelley Design (founded by Stanford University professor David Kelley), London-based Moggridge Associates and San Francisco's ID Two (both founded by British-born Bill Moggridge), and Matrix Product Design (founded by Mike Nuttall).[5] Office-furniture maker Steelcase owned a majority stake in the firm,[4] but began divesting its shares through a five-year management buy-back program in 2007.[6] The founders of the predecessor companies are still involved in the firm. The current CEO is Tim Brown.

The firm employs over 550 people in the disciplines of human factors, mechanical, electrical and software engineering, industrial design, interaction design, and communication design.[7] IDEO has worked on projects in the consumer food and beverage, retail, computer, medical, furniture, toy, office, and automotive industries. Some examples include Apple's first mouse, Microsoft's second mouse, the Palm V PDA, and Steelcase's Leap chair. Major clients (as of 2004) included Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Microsoft, ConAgra Foods, Eli Lilly, Ford, and Steelcase.

Organizational structure[edit]

IDEO's organization consists of project teams, flat hierarchy, individual autonomy, creativity, socialization of recruits and engineer buy-in.[8]


  • Dobbin, Frank. “High Commitment Practices”. Harvard University. October 10, 2012. Lecture.
  • Thomke, Stefan and Ashok Nimgade. Ideo Product Development. 9-600-143. Boston. Harvard Business Publishing
  • Kelley, Tom, and Jonathan Littman. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm. New York: Currency/Doubleday, 2001. page 70.
  • “Recruiting Q&A: IDEO” Business week. 10 January 2001
  • "Designed Chaos - An Interview with David Kelley, Founder and CEO of IDEO." Designed Chaos. N.p., n.d.
  • "Navigate." Careers FAQ. N.p., n.d.
  • Stevents, Tim. “Creative Genius”. Industry Week. 4 July 1994. Skokie, IL


  1. ^ Eng, Dinah (29 April 2013), "Bringing Design to Corporte America", Fortune (paper): 25–28 
  2. ^ a b "IDEO LLC". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on 2011-12-20. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  3. ^ "IDEO Contact page". Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  4. ^ a b Nussbaum, Bruce (2004-05-17). "The Power of Design". Business Week. Retrieved 2006-12-19. 
  5. ^ "International Directory of Company Histories". Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  6. ^ Bauer, Julia (2007-09-20). "Steelcase's IDEO will be sold over next five years". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  7. ^ "IDEO Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  8. ^ Dobbin, Frank (October 10, 2012). High Commitment Practices. Harvard University. pp. Lecture. 

External links[edit]