Tech Box for IDEO

IDEO's knowledge-sharing library and intranet website

Applying a process to innovation is an exercise that IDEO performs in several ways. Because of our experience across many industries, we stand in a unique position to introduce techniques and discoveries from one area to another, a process one organizational behaviorist called “technology brokering.”

One of the most useful tools in this process is the Tech Box, which is a combination parts and materials library, database and website, and organizational memory. It allows IDEO to archive its wide array of experience gained from work across many industries and share it across all studios in our worldwide network. All major IDEO offices maintain a duplicate Tech Box, each with its own curator who oversees the addition of new materials, and most IDEO employees are constantly on the lookout for likely candidates for addition. Additionally, IDEO offers the Tech Box as part of its innovation services, as its clients become increasingly aware of the value of knowledge management.

Each Tech Box has several drawers holding hundreds of objects, from smart fabrics to elegant mechanisms to clever toys, each of which are tagged and numbered. Designers and engineers can rummage through the compartments, play with the items, and apply materials used by other designers and engineers within the company to their current project. The entire contents of the Tech Box are available on IDEO’s intranet through a searchable website, with each item listing its specifications, including manufacturer and price, and an additional IDEO anecdote with designer and project info if applicable. The Tech Box is a valuable resource that designers and engineers use to gain inspiration, break out of a holding pattern, or merely avoid reinventing the wheel.

Project date: 1999