Phil Gilbert: Fostering Ideas in the Workplace

Scott Francis
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In a piece entitled “Hearing Every Voice in the Room“, and subtitled “How IBM Brings Ideas Forward from Its Teams”, Phil Gilbert lays out how the IBM Design Studio has really redesigned the process of surfacing new ideas and bringing them to light.

I like how Phil sees his mission at IBM:

Two years ago, I was asked to lead the transformation of product design at IBM. My challenge isn’t simply to add designers. It’s to create agile, multidisciplinary teams that include designers, developers and product managers.

A wide vision for his mandate, rather than a narrow, functional vision. And boiling it down to two simple ideas (emphasis added):

It has been my experience that the biggest impediment to getting people to think about what’s possible — instead of what’s not possible — is the difficulty in exposing everyone’s ideas to the broader team. So we focus on two things: getting everyone to contribute and letting everyone’s contribution be heard.

This reminds me a bit of a Jony Ive quote, in which he said that in the beginning, ideas are fragile things that need care and nurturing.

Looking forward to the next post.  And looking forward to applying some of his ideas to our own work.

  • Matt Cormier

    Feels like IBM stopped designing a while ago and simply wrapped half implemented ideas in an eclipse IDE. Maybe this will change. I hope so.

    • Well they’re certainly trying to change that perception. Proof is in the pudding, of course.