Designer David Kelley's first job out of college was crafting bathroom signs for Boeing's 747s. Since then, he's moved on to assisting in the development of the first computer mouse for Apple, the first laptop for Grid Systems, and the first portable defibrillator. Now, as the chairman of one of the country's best-known design and consulting firms, IDEO, Kelley hopes to reinvent innovation. But designers don't just want to create beautiful objects for other people. They want to work in similarly pleasant surroundings. Here, a tour of IDEO's offices in cities such as Palo Alto, Calif.; Boston; and London.
The lobby of IDEO's office in Palo Alto is a light-filled space with benches and chairs. The adjacent conference room was modeled after a yurt, an all-weather tent traditionally used by nomads in Central Asia. The yurt-like space is meant to give designers a quiet location in which to take notes or make impromptu sketches.