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The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm Hardcover – Jan 16 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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  • The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm
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  • Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
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  • The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO's Strategies for Defeating the Devil's Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (Jan. 16 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385499841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385499842
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

IDEO, the world's leading design firm, is the brain trust that's behind some of the more brilliant innovations of the past 20 years--from the Apple mouse, the Polaroid i-Zone instant camera, and the Palm V to the "fat" toothbrush for kids and a self-sealing water bottle for dirt bikers. Not surprisingly, companies all over the world have long wondered what they could learn from IDEO, to come up with better ideas for their own products, services, and operations. In this terrific book from IDEO general manager Tom Kelley (brother of founder David Kelley), IDEO finally delivers--but thankfully not in the step-by-step, flow-chart-filled "process speak" of most how-you-can-do-what-we-do business books. Sure, there are some good bulleted lists to be found here--such as the secrets of successful brainstorming, the qualities of "hot teams," and, toward the end, 10 key ingredients for "How to Create Great Products and Services," including "One Click Is Better Than Two" (the simpler, the better) and "Goof Proof" (no bugs).

But The Art of Innovation really teaches indirectly (not to mention enlightens and entertains) by telling great stories--mainly, of how the best ideas for creating or improving products or processes come not from laboriously organized focus groups, but from keen observations of how regular people work and play on a daily basis. On nearly every page, we learn the backstories of some now-well-established consumer goods, from recent inventions like the Palm Pilot and the in-car beverage holder to things we nearly take for granted--like Ivory soap (created when a P&G worker went to lunch without turning off his soap mixer, and returned to discover his batch overwhipped into 99.44 percent buoyancy) and Kleenex, which transcended its original purpose as a cosmetics remover when people started using the soft paper to wipe and blow their noses. Best of all, Kelley opens wide the doors to IDEO's vibrant, sometimes wacky office environment, and takes us on a vivid tour of how staffers tackle a design challenge: they start not with their ideas of what a new product should offer, but with the existing gaps of need, convenience, and pleasure with which people live on a daily basis, and that IDEO should fill. (Hence, a one-piece children's fishing rod that spares fathers the embarrassment of not knowing how to teach their kids to fish, or Crest toothpaste tubes that don't "gunk up" at the mouth.)

Granted, some of their ideas--like the crucial process of "prototyping," or incorporating dummy drafts of the actual product into the planning, to work out bugs as you go--lend themselves more easily to the making of actual things than to the more common organizational challenge of streamlining services or operations. But, if this big book of bright ideas doesn't get you thinking of how to build a better mousetrap for everything from your whole business process to your personal filing system, you probably deserve to be stuck with the mousetrap you already have. --Timothy Murphy

From Publishers Weekly

"Routine is the enemy of innovation," declares Kelley, general manager of IDEO, in this lively and practical guide to nurturing that elusive quality in all organizations. Dubbed "Innovation U." by Fortune and lauded as "the world's most celebrated design firm" by Fast Company, IDEO, through its work on over 3,000 new product programs, has developed a system for staying on the creative cutting edge while keeping clients happy. Kelley handily parses the components of this system--understanding the market, observing real-life users, brainstorming new concepts and developing and refining prototypes on a tight schedule to come up with a commercial product--with examples from the development of such pathbreaking products as the original Apple mouse and the Palm Pilot V. Kelley vividly conveys how "hot teams," assembled for specific projects with concrete goals and deadlines, are the foundation of IDEO's performance-based reputation. While he recognizes that not every organization is a hip design firm, Kelley believes that all organizations can gain an edge by innovating; among the successes he cites are Amazon, Igloo, Shoebox Greetings and Sephora. IDEO has learned and profited from maxims like "Fail often to succeed sooner." Many who previously feared change may answer his unpretentious call to "Start by following your customer journey, breaking it down into component elements, and asking yourself how you can deliver a better experience." Illustrations. (Feb.)Forecast: Featured in a half-hour segment of Nightline last year that ranked among the most popular aired on the show, IDEO's culture of innovation has received broad exposure. This well-written, well-organized and energizing guide will be a magnet for more attention, and could have a shot at business bestseller lists.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I heard an interview with the author, Tom Kelley, on NPR and was fascinated by not only his talent for humorous storytelling, but also the stories he shared about product development at IDEO. After reading a short summary of the book I expected to read many marvelous stories about the process of product innovation, and all the twists and turns it involves - much like the author had discussed on the radio. I wanted to hear about the I-zone camera, the mouse... but to my chagrin, stories like these are only peripheral to the main focus of The Art of Innovation. Unfortunately, this isn't a book about invention - it's a business book, about somewhat dry things like how to run meetings, how to put together teams. However, I dutifully continued through the book, hoping to find more of the anecdotes that I had hoped for, until on page p. 132 it was all revealed in a paragraph that began, "As a management consultant..." What an ephiphany! I wanted to read a book by a designer, a free-spirited thinker, not a managment consultant. This book unfortunately feels more like something my boss would ask me to read for work rather than a peek inside the mind of quirky genius inventors that I would choose for leisure reading.
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Format: Hardcover
It is a handbook for innovation, the book share the experience of IDEO, the methods and the work practice to generate new ideas and the process of turning ideas to product. The first one is observation, people many ignore this point or pay little attention on that point. Tom mentioned a point that, we should user-oriented. Observed people how actually use a product instead of only interview them. Because some of customers are lacking product knowledge they cannot express the difficulty of using the product, even they do not fully utilize the product, so you may only get limited insight from interviewing them only.
I know that many people know the term of Brainstorming, which is a method of ideas generation. However, how to have a good brainstorming is a difficult task.
The third process is making prototype. It helps to solve the problem in 3-D, and let you know the problem or mistake in early stage of the process.
The last insight is about the quality of the team members. They should broad in their skills and interests, deep in their knowledge and experience in one or more disciplines. All these could enhance the cross-pollination. All they should accept the divest within the team.
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Format: Hardcover
It must be nice to live in IDEO's world. I can imagine that if I had access to the unlimited time and money that seem to permeate IDEO, the question of "how best to innovate" might be a pressing one.
While I don't discount that IDEO started from scratch and became a powerhouse using the methodologies described in the book, I would assert that their techniques and suggestions are only valuable to design firms, consultants, and high-end designers within very large corporations.
Some of the ideas are neat and can be incorporated into other structures - particularly the advice on brainstorming. But much of the work is simply not feasible for the average project or department manager. I do understand the inefficiencies that come from poorly executed innovation, prototyping, etc., but as far as functional guidelines go, a basic Product Design textbook has more useful and more flexible process descriptions.
Nevertheless, the book is at least entertaining, and is probably another route to making loads of dough for the IDEO guys, which, after all, is what IDEO seems to do best!
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Format: Hardcover
This is an entertaining and accessible read. Tom Kelley lets us in on the IDEO philosophy and approach to innovation in product and service design. While there are more appropriate alternatives for studying the mechanics of new product development such as Cooper's "Winning at New Products, Accelerating the Process from Idea to Launch", this book addresses the often-misunderstood need to create a culture of innovation. IDEO has figured out how to accelerate learning during the "fuzzy front end" of new product development. A great book for inspiring anyone involved in the new product development process.
Kelly includes memorable labels such as the seven brainstorming steps,
1. Sharpen the Focus
2. Playful Rules
3. Number Your Ideas
4. Build and Jump
5. The Space Remembers
6. Stretch Your Mental Muscles
7. Get Physical
He also includes wonderful examples and stories. The production quality is what you would expect from a design group-great photos and layout. Even the paper feels good.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is an attempt to explain innovation through a highly hyped company. Tom Peters calls IDEO "the only other company I'd ever work for." IDEO is famous for it's innovative work in improving high tech user interface design at companies like Apple and Microsoft. It's on most "Top Places to Work" lists.
So the question begging to be asked are...
Is this book about innovation or recruiting?
And is IDEO really that good?
To answer the first, it seems a little bit of both. Since the book is written by insiders, you'll get what they think the secret to success is. Note - It's not an academic "Here's how innovation works" tome, it's "Here's what we thinks works"
As for IDEO really being that good? The book will convince you that you want to work there. Reality is IDEO has been hit by these troubled times like everyone else. I'd be interested in what The Vault has to say about them now.
Is the book an interesting read on design and innovation? Yes!
Will it make you a great innovator? Probably not. It's interesting, but lacks the key "Gotcha" insights.
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