The Tube for IDEO

The centerpiece of how IDEO interacts as a global organization

The Tube is IDEO’s intranet, a suite of online tools that enables hundreds of employees located around the world to collaborate and inspire one another as an integral part of their work process. The Tube combines social-networking tools such as blogs, wikis, and real-time screen sharing with legacy business systems like HR databases, asset management systems, and e-mail. The intranet has created ways for individuals to share their passions and expertise, for teams to learn from each other, for offices to feel better connected, and for the company to build on common themes and directions.

In addition to hardware and software technologies, the Tube design team considered how IDEO’s culture encourages collaboration and what incentives could lead to the adoption of new tools and methods for doing so. The success of the Tube comes from the insight that effective knowledge-sharing is a social activity enabled by technology, rather than a technological solution imposed upon an existing work culture. This led to the design of systems that people actually want to use.

More than 1,000 Project Pages were created in the six months since that feature’s launch, and more than 10,000 pages were established in the first 14 months of the wiki’s availability. Ninety-five percent of employees have voluntarily taken ownership of their personal pages. Blogs have proliferated widely: In addition to each employee’s individual blog, more than 40 other blogs address a wide variety of subjects. These include company-specific issues, such as career growth and office updates, to more general-interest topics such as social impact, sustainability, and health and wellness projects.

Project date: 2009