Idean - the house of ideas and design
Sharing what we love
San Francisco is the Place to Be!
On Tuesday, June 2 Idean’s Chief Operating Officer, Ville Kurki, will take to the stage as a keynote speaker at Hirepalooza. Ville will talk about how Employees that play together stay together: Creating a culture that sticks. During his presentation, Ville will draw on real-life examples that Idean has used to create and maintain its unique culture.
As part of San Francisco Design Week (June 4 – 12) we’re holding a special Happy Hour at our studio in the heart of the SOMA district. The Happy Hour takes place just before the SF Design Week Opening Reception on Thursday June 4 between 2-5pm.
We’ll be serving lunch and some delicious drinks, so come on down and check out the studio space and meet some of the team. Register your place here – we have limited places available.
We hope to see you in San Francisco!
#IdeanSF #Hirepalooza #SFDW2015
Team LiftOff is Named Global Finalist of Space Apps Challenge
Team LiftOff impressed the judges at the Helsinki event with their prototype for a game aimed at children, where the mission was to launch a rocket following real guidelines set by NASA.
After going on to win the Helsinki event they were put forward to the global competition and out of the 133 projects submitted they were shortlisted in the Most Inspirational category along with nine other teams.
As part of winning at the Helsinki event Team LiftOff was invited to take part in a UX workshop run by Idean designer, Jimmy Salermo.
Ornela Bardhi, who is studying at Lappeenranta University of Technology and was one of the members of Team LiftOff, loved the three-hour UX workshop. She said:
“As well as being fun and engaging I learnt a huge amount that I will be able to take forward. The key takeaway for me is that it’s not just about considering the technology but looking at the experience as a whole.
“The workshop enabled us to improve our Space Apps Challenge concept further by taking into consideration age and gender differences along with who the user’s heroes might be. We also learnt about how we could make this profitable and marketing tactics to promote it.”
Team LiftOff had an international flavor with Ornela from Albania, Elena from Greece, Michal from Czech Republic and Taneli from Finland. Their individual experiences of growing up in different countries and cultures came to light in the UX workshop as they all had different childhood experiences. All of this was taken into consideration when refining their initial concept.
After a (long) two-week wait, the winner of the Space Apps Challenge 2015 Most Inspirational category was announced and unfortunately, Team LiftOff didn’t go onto to win. The award went to the Robot Tracking and Sensing project from a team at the Kathmandu, Nepal event. The winning team’s submission enables users to explore and extract data from nearby objects using a mobile robot platform with smartphone sensors. You can check out the full list of the global winners here.
Although Team LiftOff did not win they are going to take their idea forward, they just need to fit this around their university work and side projects. Watch this space!
Idean Celebrates Win at the Hirepalooza Culture Awards
We are thrilled to announce that out of hundreds of companies nominated, Idean has won Hirepalooza‘s Culture Award for Social Organizing – which is based on: “Coming together with fellow employees and the community is a regular thing where you work”.
This is especially important to us as creating a relaxing work culture, a combination of joy and play, and organizing fun and engaging events inside and outside of work has always been part of our key values.
Ville Kurki, Chief Operating Officer, at Idean, said: “We are delighted to have received such a prestigious award and this reflects the importance and effort we put in to create a strong culture and fantastic experience for our Idean family. We are very excited to be adding this award to our collection”.
Idean will be presented with their award plaque on Tuesday, June 2 at the Hirepalooza conference in San Francisco. Idean’s, COO, Ville Kurki, is a keynote speaker at the conference and he will discuss the importance of creating a strong organizational culture.
Hirepalooza is San Francisco’s largest recruitment conference, with over 1,400 registrants and speakers from world’s largest digital corporation executives such as Twilio, Box, Twitter, IBM, Netflix, Dice, Hired, Greenhouse, Lyft, HackReactor, Zendesk, and many more.
The Culture Awards had 10 different categories, and each category had a group of nominated companies based on the initial voting. The winners were chosen from the nominees based on the social voting action on Twitter. So thank you to everyone who voted for us as Hirepalooza’s #SocialButterfly You can find all the winners here.
Join us in celebrating the wonderful Idean events! Cheers!
#JoyandPlay #Hirepalooza #SocialButterfly
Building a Powerful Agile Culture
Shahin Murray, Project Manager, at Idean Austin discusses how powerful Agile cultures are built on autonomy.
Autonomy grants people on the ground floor of your organization, those in closest contact with your customers, the authority to act in situations to the best of their ability. Team members become powerful with creative problem solving skill, and customers have more personalized experiences.
Decentralizing control helps unlock the creative collective genius within your organization. To push team members even further, encourage them to ask questions such as, “how can I best solve this problem?” and “how can I make improvements to our organization?” Motivational scholar Daniel Pink at this year’s SXSW explained, “Asking questions elicits an active response.” Questions get the wheels turning in our minds.
Prescriptive management on the other hand generates a passive working style. Employees will wait for the next round of orders before taking action. The benefits to a command-and-control style are generally short-term. New hires may refer to rules and regulations, follow their direct orders, and plug right into the ecosystem. Conveniently, the work is already defined, but ultimately their mind and vision are narrowed. Under the guise of scalability, organizations often become tall hierarchies as they grow. Rules and regulations can be helpful.
However, the focus on processes rather than people ultimately undermines the productivity of many individuals and the organization as a whole. There are better approaches to scalability that focus on supporting individuals and relationships first; tight-knit groups will define the best practices for each unique situation.
Within a tall organization, communication and change generally come from the top. However, the leaders at this level are often the most disconnected from customers. Even more shockingly, feedback loops, which allow knowledge to bubble up from the ground level, are usually missing. If the ground level team is not empowered to experiment and make changes, all knowledge must be transferred up the chain of the organization, processed, and then implemented back down throughout. Naturally, organizations with these types of heavy structures and inefficiencies become difficult to shift. Problems that become exacerbated with further growth.
The Voice of Autonomy
I question the way we do things, because I care dearly about our performance. “The way we’ve always done it,” is never good enough. I believe the team and I bring new perspectives—views the management team doesn’t have. We want to experiment with new ways to solve problems. Not all of our experiments pay off. I wish I could say they did, but there are a number of times where after weeks, or even months of experimentation we come to the same solutions that were recommended in the first place.
Though, many times we experience breakthroughs that have a major positive impact on our organization. More importantly we’re having fun and are dedicated to our work, because we own it.
We may make mistakes We will make mistakes, but the knowledge that we discover together as a team is ingrained deeply into our collective conscious. We’ve lived it and reflected on it together. We’re stronger because of it, and trust each other more. We’re dedicated to the team, the customers, and company’s success.
Consider giving decision-making power to the ground level of the organization, and using the management team in a consultative and supportive role. You can expect individuals to be more creative, hopeful, and purposeful. Relationships will flourish. Customers will be intrigued and drawn to the vibe within the company.
Autonomy is for building creative teams of people who grow together and grow your organization.
We’ll be livestreaming Shahin talk about this very subject on our Idean Periscope account (@Idean) on Friday May, 22 at 10:45am PT. We’ll also be holding a live Twitter chat with Shahin straight after his Periscope broadcast – join the conversation and ask your questions via Twitter using #IdeanAnswers.
UX Summit #14 Inspires, Educates and Connects
It’s been almost a week since we held our UX Summit in San Francisco with some fantastic speakers, a great venue and a super workshop from Idean’s Interaction Designer, Sunita Ram.
Here’s the video recap of the event, which includes our speakers Paolo Malabuyo, Director of Design at Netflix, Greg Petroff, Chief Experience Officer at GE Software, Jeneanne Rae, CEO of Motiv Strategies and Colin Rule, COO of Modria.
You can watch the video below or via Vimeo here.
Party from the Past
In true Idean tradition, we held a Happy Hour event after our UX Summit last Friday (Apr 24), and the theme was… Jazzy Jives.
Attendees to our Happy Hour traveled back in time as they stepped over Idean’s San Francisco doormat. The music and attire helped transform the studio into a 1920s speakeasy.
Thank you to everyone who joined us – you can check out our photos from the night here.
Created with flickr slideshow.
Idean Inspires Transformation through UX – Idean UX Summit
Last Friday (Apr 24) San Francisco played host to our 14th UX Summit and with over 100 attendees, a fantastic speaker line-up and a hands-on workshop – it really was our best one yet. Focusing on UX as a Transformation Strategy, it gave the stage to the process of transforming mindsets, teams, and products through the value of UX.
The Bluxome Street Winery provided the perfect backdrop for the Summit which brought together people working across design, technology and products.
We began the event with a welcome from our CEO and Co-Founder, Risto Lahdesmaki, and then it was time to get started and discover more about how UX is driving digital transformation. First up was Paolo Malabuyo, Director of Design, at Netflix, who talked not just about the experience gained in his current role but also what he learnt at his time as VP of Advanced User Experience at Mercedes-Benz and Director of Product at Zynga.
Next up, was Greg Petroff, Chief Experience Officer at GE Software and General Manager of the User Experience Center of Excellence (UX CoE) for GE. Greg’s inspiring presentation created a lot of food for thought, as he discussed how he is leading the efforts at GE to define the human interface the Industrial Internet, ultimately connecting people to machines and systems in meaningful ways.
After a brief comfort break it was right back to it as Colin Rule, COO of Customer Resolution Dispute company, Modria. Colin talked about the importance of customer resolution dispute and how improving this experience can ultimately lead to better relationships with your customers.
Jeneanne Rae, CEO of Motiv Strategies was our final speaker of the day and she emphasized the importance of design and how the most successful companies are not just embracing design, but it is an integral part of everything they do. Jeneanne has conducted extensive research with companies to build the Design Value Index.
See all the photos from the Idean UX Summit!
Once the presentations had been wrapped up, it was time for a workshop with Idean’s Interaction Designer, Sunita Ram, which looked at the laundry industry. We then held a specially themed Idean Jazzy Jive Happy Hour at our San Francisco Studio, you can view photos from our Flickr page!
Created with flickr slideshow.
Idean Interviews… Entrepreneur, Guy Bar-Nahum
We held our last UX Summit in LA, to mark the opening of our new studio in West Hollywood. We completed exclusive interviews with the speakers and fourth in the series, is Guy Bar-Nahum, Entrepreneur, Ex-Apple, Ex-Samsung. Here he shares with us his views on The Future of UX.
We’re holding our next UX Summit in San Francisco, for more details or to sign-up visit our UX Summit site.
#IdeanUX #IdeanInsights #IdeanLA
Mission Space Apps a Success
The International Space Apps Challenge is a two-day hackathon where teams of technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, developers and students across the globe collaborate and engage with publicly available data to design innovative solutions for global challenges.
Since 2011, the innovation incubator event has brought together thousands of space and technology enthusiasts and given NASA invaluable input and ideas that are helping shape the future of space exploration and research.
This year’s Challenge attracted over 12,000 participants in 133 locations worldwide, making it the biggest Space Apps weekend to date. The appeal of space exploration is obvious – it speaks to our sense of adventure and provides answers to questions from scientists, philosophers and fantasy geeks alike.
Idean’s first contact with the International Space Apps Challenge happened in 2014 when Designer Jimmy Salermo took part in the event in Tampere. You can read more about this here.
As soon as NASA’s coordinating team gave the green light in late 2014, Idean set up a team whose responsibility was to organize the coolest space-themed hackathon on earth.
So it was the first ever hackathon to be hosted by Idean. We were very excited about the challenge, but it was also a big step into the unknown. The next few weeks included drafting sponsorship packages, finding potential sponsors, contacting astronomical associations, hacker communities, universities and possible keynote speakers.
Luckily things started to fall into their place pretty quickly as the Aalto Entrepreneur Society kindly agreed to partner with us. This was a real jackpot, as they not only provided the Startup Sauna’s excellent space for the hackathon, but also gathered a team of volunteers to be on call during the whole weekend. Another step forward was that we secured important sponsors, such as Ambronite and fruitkit, who would be there with us all weekend to provide healthy snacks to the participants.
There was a lot to do. During the first weeks of April we worked very hard to promote the event as well as finalizing the schedule. At that point we started to understand where the word hackathon originates from: it truly is a marathon of hacks. We had done many events before, but this was the first time we organized something that would last continuously for 48 hours.
Then finally on Friday, April 10th, we were at Startup Sauna all ready for the Space Apps Challenge Helsinki to begin. We kicked off the hackathon with a welcome drinks event. Participants started flowing in in a steady stream and we could sense their excitement when they mingled around the venue and started looking for a possible team.
Saturday morning marked the start of the actual hackathon. The program begun with a keynote from European Space Agency’s Timo Huttunen and Miranda Saarentaus from, technology consultancy firm, Geowise. The rest of the day teams spent working on projects with Idean’s designers and developers who were on hand to provide mentoring support. In the evening it was time for a breather with a Space Party.
Sunday’s keynote from science journalist Jari Mäkinen delved into the reality of human space flights with incredible images and videos from spacecraft launches and the International Space Station. Jari’s keynote was one of the weekend’s absolute highlights offering valuable insight about space travel. On Sunday afternoon the hackathon weekend culminated with final pitches, when the teams presented their concepts to the jury. After some consideration the jury unanimously decided that the winner of Space Apps Helsinki was team LiftOff. Their winning project was a prototype for a game aimed at children, where the user’s mission is to launch a rocket by following real guidelines set by NASA. The jury felt that the concept was very interesting as it made space travel more approachable to the next generation. They also said that team LiftOff showed very good holistic project thinking and progressed well from their concept to a prototype during the weekend.
Winning team members from left to right: Michal Genserek, Ornela Bardhi, Eleni Almpanopoulou and Taneli Pirttinen. Their project will participate the global Space Apps Challenge competition.
Idean’s team of designers also awarded their prize for the best user experience thinking to team LiftOff. The team validated their concept with their target audience – some children visiting the event – and further tested their initial user interface with them. LiftOff also made great progress with their coded prototype and UI in the two days.
The public’s choice prize, a nomination for the global competition went to the team Space Fishermen. Their ambitious plan was to slow down asteroids in space.
A week has passed since Space Apps Helsinki and it’s good to look back and think what we have learned. The main lesson is: It’s all about the people. Space Apps Helsinki was a great event because it attracted enthusiastic and inspired people to participate and share their energy and we want to thank everyone who came. But most importantly: We rock! Idean’s dedicated and awesome team worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth experience for all. We couldn’t have hoped for better teamwork!
So thank you everyone that made Space Apps Helsinki possible, who knows if we do it again next year. One thing is sure though – this won’t be Idean’s last hackathon.
You can also check out our Storify from the event here.
#SpaceAppsHKI #SpaceApps #IdeanHelsinki