The IDEO organization is a design and consulting firm that designs products and services. The employees within this company use a design thinking approach in designing the products, services, digital experiences, and environments. At IDEO, innovation is encouraged and discovered through leadership that creates an effective and sustainable work environment, giving their working teams the capacity to experiment and use creative ways to solve problems. In this way, the company encourages teamwork where various individuals, in various capacities and with different expertise, come together and work on projects without titles and permanent assignments. Unlike how most organizations overregulate how teams work to maintain control or limit liability, IDEO ensures that the workers are free to influence their space with creative judgment and collaboration. In this way, there is no allocation of hierarchies in the projects; instead, individual experts from various fields come together and develop innovative ideas as a team. The work environment encourages the teams to experiment and collaborate on creative work, empowering the teams to adapt to any rising challenges. This enables the teams to become more engaged and willing to adopt new and better behaviors.
Execution of innovative ideas needs creativity. The team at IDEO is presented with this opportunity where they brainstorm innovative ideas to develop something that works and improves continuously. In this case, the team focuses on designing a workable shopping cart that facilitates faster and easier shopping. Thus, each team member finds creative ideas that could become successful solutions. This creativity develops well in a work environment that fits the dynamic needs of modern teams through collaboration and thinking, adapting the work mode through the promotion of creative problem-solving across teams (Li & Zheng, 2014). Once the project has been initiated and ideas brought out and discussed, the IDEO team goes out to test the innovation of the shopping cart in real-life scenarios and then returns to the company, where they demonstrate and communicate what they learned. Having an effective work environment helps the employees develop productive behaviors as the teams can share the lessons and work towards adopting the changes together. This encourages work engagement, fully mediating innovative work behaviors and the learning organization (Park et al., 2014).
It is indicated that for most people, the hardest thing to do is to restrain themselves from criticizing ideas. In this case, when an idea is presented well, there is a bell. The ideas are posted on a wall for everyone to see, voting on each one for its innovativeness. This process occurs under the guidance of a project leader. During the process of implementing and promoting new ideas, ethical leadership is responsible, emphasizing social responsibility, morality, people orientation, and autonomy, ensuring innovative work behavior (Yidong & Xinxin, 2013). The team at IDEO has a project leader who utilizes ethical leadership, facilitating intrinsic motivation and facilitating better job performance of individuals. The vision and values in decision-making aim to enable clear performance standards that help reinforce organizational ethics with open and trustworthy communication.
With strong organizational support, a positive work climate, high levels of commitment, motivation, and employee engagement, there is a high chance of improved organizational performance (Standing et al., 2016). The mantra at IDEO is “one conversation at a time, stay focused, encourage wild ideas, defer judgment, and build on the ideas of others.” This is an aspect of encouragement, motivation, and empowerment of employees that facilitates creativity, innovation, and teamwork (Amabile & Pratt, 2016). The organizational climate functions passed on the positivity created, involving employees through autonomy ad ensuring that the team-level innovations come up through this mantra.
IDEO also focuses on the notion that enlightened trial-and-error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius. This concept involves individual creativity and innovation with the process depending on the perceptual styles, cognitive styles, and thinking skills of individuals within a team, taking new perspectives on problems, leveraging them among different ideas, and having broad thinking based on their personal characteristics and work styles (Amabile & Pratt, 2016). With the growth and maturity of teams, the lessons learned from their experiments need to be packaged and shared. Therefore, the individual ideas go through trial-and-error, experimenting with their practicality and being brought together for the final product. This is based on the notion that it is better to fail often in order to succeed sooner. The innovative team thus works by taking up the ideas presented and coming up with a prototype that includes the different elements presented by individuals (Shanker et al., 2017). For this to work, each team is given a need area where they develop ideas as individuals and as a group, becoming autocratic for a short time and then developing into an innovative product based on time constraints.
In coming up with creative and innovative ideas, IDEO indicates that there have to be many hours of working on the project, an open mind, and a boss who wants new ideas, considering that chaos can be constructive and there is the need for teamwork. Therefore, having an innovative atmosphere within the organization ensures that there is support for creativity and innovation enabled by adequate cooperation, communication, and market guidance. Authorization, creativity, advocacy, and resource guarantees directly affect employees’ innovative behaviors and capabilities.
Amabile, T. M., & Pratt, M. G. (2016). The dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation in organizations: Making progress, making meaning. Research in organizational behavior, 36, 157-183.
Li, X., & Zheng, Y. (2014). The influential factors of employees’ innovative behavior and the management advice. Journal of Service Science and Management, 7(06), 446.
Park, Y. K., Song, J. H., Yoon, S. W., & Kim, J. (2014). Learning organization and innovative behavior: The mediating effect of work engagement. European Journal of Training and Development.
Shanker, R., Bhanugopan, R., Van der Heijden, B. I., & Farrell, M. (2017). Organizational climate for innovation and organizational performance: The mediating effect of innovative work behavior. Journal of vocational behavior, 100, 67-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2017.02.004
Standing, C., Jackson, D., Larsen, A. C., Suseno, Y., Fulford, R., & Gengatharen, D. (2016). Enhancing individual innovation in organizations: A review of the literature. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 19(1), 44-62.
Yidong, T., & Xinxin, L. (2013). How ethical leadership influence employees’ innovative work behavior: A perspective of intrinsic motivation. Journal of business ethics, 116(2), 441-455.