On Thursday, March 9th, 15 students accompanied The Garage on a field trip to IDEO Chicago. IDEO is a world-renowned design company known for its human-centered, interdisciplinary approach. Most notable is their early adoption of the practice of design thinking: a problem-solving process defined by putting the consumer at the center of every solution.
The group was warmly welcomed by the IDEO team and briefly shown around shared working spaces. The common area where the IDEO team would soon begin their presentation was nestled in the far corner of the fully-stocked kitchen - an area the team highlighted as ideal for fostering collaboration between IDEOers who may be working on different projects.
The students were then lucky enough to hear a presentation about IDEO’s company culture and their use of design thinking to solve complex problems by two IDEOers who had a combined 50 years of experience at the company. “Hearing directly from long-time employees at IDEO shed light on familiar design principles which I can utilize in my own startup venture and beyond,” Resident Kevin Kaspar shared. Students were eager to learn more about the IDEO approach, and even more excited for the official tour of the space once the presentation was finished.
The group was led through various co-working spaces used to house different projects across multiple different floors. The overall aesthetic of the office was collaborative and technical, yet stuck closely to IDEO’s creative roots. The makerspaces were stocked with a diverse spread of equipment optimized for rapid in-house prototyping, a pillar of their approach to finding solutions. The students left the IDEO studio inspired to utilize design thinking principles, and explore the makerspace at The Garage.
While leaving, students excitedly took photos in front of IDEO’s impressive entryway sign featuring Chicago’s “L” system of train tracks (pictured above) as a souvenir.
The next stop - Giordano’s! As the group chowed down on pizza, excited chatter about what they had just seen and learned at IDEO filled the restaurant. On the way back to Evanston, the students were eager to discuss where The Garage's next field trip should be... stay tuned!
Special thanks to IDEO Chicago for hosting our group!