Ask any knowledgeable person about what they think IDEO is and you’ll likely get different—albeit similar—answers:

“It’s one of the original modern design firms.”

“It’s a do-it-all design agency.”

“It’s a problem-solving company.”

Luckily for those answering, all of these are correct in their own way. But to get to the ultimate answer of who IDEO really identifies as in 2019, the production company Dress Code went and asked the people closest to IDEO: the employees themselves.

IDEO And A Story of Design is a short, 12-minute film that takes a look at the company from its founding in 1991 to the present day. It collates interviews from various members at IDEO—including founder David Kelley. Through these company-wide interviews, we can finally see the thought process, philosophy, and what ultimately drives them to innovate as they do in 2019, just as they did in 1991.

It’s interesting to see how two firms combined to create this one mega-firm. What was once two separate teams of designers and engineers eventually converged to work together to make the production process more seamless. As a result, one of the biggest draws of IDEO is its human-centered approach to designing for different groups. Rather than using hard data and surveys to find out what people want, the folks at IDEO have become experts at holistic ethnographic research. This, in turn, lets them design and engineer better solutions that bridge the gap between humans and the everyday things they interact with.

IDEO And A Story of Design

Another advantage the culture of IDEO has is its open-mindedness in bringing in people from wide-ranging backgrounds. Apart from traditional designers and engineers, the company also employs a range of psychologists, food scientists, and marketing experts. With a hodgepodge of experts from different fields, IDEO can manage to spread its portfolio to many wide-ranging fields as they relate to creating better solutions for living.

IDEO And A Story of Design

But don’t just take our word for it—the entire documentary is worth a watch!


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.