IDEO Reviews

Updated May 26, 2020

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4.1
80%
Recommend to a Friend
100%
Approve of CEO
IDEO CEO Sandy Speicher
Sandy Speicher
4 Ratings
Pros
  • "Great people great culture great methodology(in 16 reviews)

  • "Company culture, interesting projects, great people(in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • "They are a separate entity in the org and as a designer you will rarely have a chance to engage with them(in 12 reviews)

  • "Moving up takes awhile, low pay compared to a tech firm(in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Great culture"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Operations 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at IDEO full-time

    Pros

    People really develop deep friendships while working there. Strong alumni network is proof of that.

    Cons

    Wish the business was growing faster to allow for more lateral growth of more employees so they could stick around

    IDEO2020-05-08
  2. Helpful (8)

    "It's Not What It Seems..."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time

    Pros

    There is a wide range of interesting client work available to IDEO talent if you’re willing to navigate the internal politics and fight for it. IDEO’s brand is still surprisingly strong despite a diminishing track record of actual to-market solutions and a lot of internal stagnation these past few years.

    Cons

    Your Managing Director makes all the difference in what kind of IDEO experience you have. If you’re assigned to the wrong leadership or the wrong project, it’s an uphill battle. This can be location-specific as well due to decentralization to a fault. Any internal movement or promotion happens through mastering the decades-old, social network. Most of the Glassdoor reviews here accurately speak to this politically-charged culture. There is a new female CEO so it remains to be seen if this will change. After a three month “listening tour”, however, little seems different on the IDEO agenda. After-all, change at IDEO is typically glacial and always conflict-averse. IDEO’ers often joke that the company needs to “IDEO itself” - the organization, however, is not good at having its own hard conversations. Because of this, it’s my opinion that women at IDEO suffer due to a “boys club” culture that still exists. It seems as if, even top performing women (those who’ve given years, if not, decades to the organization) have a much harder time getting to partner, receiving credit where credit is due on projects, being published, earning the same or more, etc. For those who are working mothers, I believe this disparity is even further exacerbated. If you are young, childless and have endless hours to give to work - IDEO will gladly take 10-15 years of your life. If you are old(er), raising a family, and have outside experience to know your boundaries on how much work (and bad management) should impose - I’d strongly suggest doing your due diligence on which team you’re joining.

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    IDEO2020-05-26
  3. Helpful (1)

    "Talks the Talk & Walks the Walk"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Talent Specialist in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at IDEO full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Culture is authentically collaborative, respectful, and engaged. Employee success is measured by how well you show up against our values, and it's a constant practice and feedback loop to support your getting there. Organization truly feels as flat as possible, and decision-making happens transparently, sometimes collectively, and thoughtfully. Everyone is recognized as a core team member, as a design thinker first and foremost, even in Infrastructure functions. People really, truly enjoy working with one another - it's palpable. Very open access to peers and leaders, and people are incredibly generous with their time. Genuine culture of curiosity. Existence of a Workplace Experience Team which acts as stewards of our culture, wellbeing, and community, adds immense value to the experience of working in any IDEO studio.

    Cons

    As an organization of 800 globally, in constant evolution of what it means to do good, impactful, transformative design work, there's an appetite for more structure. Knowledge management can be challenging, since each studio holds it's own institutional knowledge. Though our matrix can be complex, it's an active conversation from top-down and bottom-up on how we better streamline and communicative what we all know across all corners of the organization. I truly see the good intent and active experimenting on what it looks like to get this right.

    IDEO2019-12-28
  4. "Work with the coolest people on the coolest products"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Product Design Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great Company Culture and Smart People.

    Cons

    Some projects not as fun.

    Continue reading
    IDEO2019-09-05
  5. Helpful (2)

    "A fantastic place to work - meaningful work with friends for life"

    5.0
    Former Employee - Director 
    Recommends

    I worked at IDEO full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    A huge variety of innovative work with the world's best clients, and brilliant (yet humble) co-workers

    Cons

    As with any consultancy... you do not take the product/experience/service all the way to the finish line.

    IDEO2019-04-08
  6. Helpful (21)

    "It’s complicated"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Designer 
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Fell in love with a few projects I had the chance to work on. Traveled a few places and got the chance to work for clients I was dreaming of before joining. Colleagues are incredibly smart, talented, and emotionally invested. It's a culture of kindness and generosity among designers. The brand of IDEO is powerful and, if you have initiative, it can open a few doors while you are at the company, and after when you leave the company.

    Cons

    Politics: as many reviews profusely indicate, there is 2-class citizens systems which is obvious. I would add to that the drift the company is going through towards ultimate self-referentiality, IDEO celebrating its IDEOness. You can really see the cultural resistance towards really understanding the world we are living nowadays, especially when it comes to technology and people behaviors, whereas a company like IDEO would have incredible opportunities for impact with a more positive approach. Partners to me are the most negative part of the experience at IDEO. They are a separate entity in the org and as a designer you will rarely have a chance to engage with them. When you do they are often arrogant and have permission to say whatever they want. They just sit above everything else and they seem only preoccupied about their 2nd homes and ways to increase their personal visibility through side projects that use IDEO official resources and are laughable and zero relevant in this world. Craft and role of design is increasingly losing a center role in the organization, in favor of "strategic thinkers" which are the opposite of “talk less do more” cultural value. Leadership does their best to deliberately put designers outside of their talent for career development and ends up negatively impacting craft and the talent they hired for. Lots of new hires at director level that are bypassing the long climb and they have no clue about how to run a project and the process that IDEO stands for. “Ambiguity” serves the status quo, they will often speak about being a family, while in practice it is nothing but a corporation with all the.. corporate things that come with it.

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    IDEO2019-03-01
  7. Helpful (6)

    "Crazy, Kind, Fast-Paced"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Coordinator 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at IDEO full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - A mindblowingly vibrant, inspiring, fun, quirky and youthful culture of helping - Everyone is a badass and has a cool story, it is fun to uncover - There is always something interesting going on--an event, a brainstorm, happy hour, crafty project, etc. - Nobody makes you feel "less than" even if you're not a designer. People care about you and will lift you up and offer new learning experiences if you care, do the work, and dive in. - The lens through which IDEO sees the world is a fun one; you'll notice yourself doing little things differently, being more optimistic, human centered. - It is never boring--if you have some skill to offer, people will find it and you'll be drawn in to do more / give more / share

    Cons

    - There's no ladder--it's a free climb up a mountain wall (not for the faint of heart) - So much change and ambiguity - the company itself and nature of my work has shifted so many times since I've gotten here; I've given up trying to define myself as xyz. I just think of my work as a series of very different learning projects, vs. a static thing. The explosiveness is nice because I have the time to pour into it.

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    IDEO2019-02-06
  8. Helpful (17)

    "Great people, inexperienced management"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You’ll meet some of the most interesting and nicest co-workers around. The culture team works hard to create a great environment and vibe. Work can be interesting if you get on the right projects or are chummy with leadership, promotions can come quickly if you’re one of the favored ones — an informal process that is more subjective and less merit-based.

    Cons

    The company is struggling to stay relevant in this digital day and age. The work, while thoughtful, is definitely far from cutting-edge. They also seem to do a lot of work with organizations that have dubious reputations — what seems more important is that they can write a big check. Over the years I’ve been there, I’ve seen a lot of really talented people leave, burnt out and overlooked because senior management are insecure or are unwilling to adapt with the times. The new businesses that are being incubated within IDEO seem even messier and are often badly run, with low quality offers or products.

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    IDEO2019-01-19
  9. Helpful (3)

    "Best environment"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time

    Pros

    creative, intelligent and kind people

    Cons

    short projects, not enough time to get to root problems for long term impact,

    IDEO2018-12-26
  10. Helpful (13)

    "Increasingly corporate, more brand than impact but wonderful colleagues"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time

    Pros

    Really great humans. You will walk away with friendships that will carry on beyond your time at IDEO. Depending on what part of IDEO you work in, you can feel a deep sense of family & community. Certain parts of IDEO do lack a connective feel though, so it's important to know the culture of the studio you're joining. Interesting projects. You will stretch your skills as a designer and build creative leadership. You'll sometimes have the luxury of being able to think big picture/vision. Well respected. IDEO's brand and marketing efforts are world-class, and they've done a great job at building up its story. That can be leveraged to get you into places that will accelerate your career journey outside of the firm. Unfortunately, I'd say its brand is more powerful than the work itself. Positive work-life balance. It's unrivaled to many other consultancies, and is the justification for the low pay. Great for new parents, as an example, and the ability to take time off for creative pursuits so long as your client work isn't jeopardized. The Experience Teams plan moments for us to come together and connect outside of the office, but this can ebb and flow depending on how busy they are. Put a few years in and you'll walk away with experience and connections that can take you further in your purpose and career.

    Cons

    Highly disorganized and disconnected. None of the different studios are integrated in a meaningful way. Each location has completely different cultures that are very dependent on the leadership & most connected/popular people in that location. Feels extremely corporate, and growing in this feeling every day. In my years at IDEO, I've seen a steady decline of the creative, playful culture that the firm was built on. A lot of focus on money, clients, margins, business...less conversations on the craft, design, impact. I have been disappointed about certain clients brought in. For example, businesses that actively destroy the environment or societal inequities they create. IDEO still chooses to work with them because they bring in a lot of money despite the fact that most people working there are progressive. Very low pay and little opportunity for advancement. You can move from the individual to team level pretty quickly, but accelerating beyond that to the director level is a massive challenge if you do not have ins with leadership. Horrendously behind when it comes to diversity and inclusion. I was so surprised at how disconnected IDEO was when it comes to D&I. There's a deep lack of understanding from leadership, and while there are active initiatives to try to change this, there hasn't been meaningful shifts. If you identify as a member of a minority community, it will be hard for you to feel connected to the culture there. You will not see people like yourself reflected in leadership. You will experience micro-aggressions and complete disconnects about how some project teams carry themselves. Toxic culture. I've been screamed at by a partner in leadership, have heard others talk negatively about others behind their back, and a lot of favoritism which isn't always based on merit. There's certain spaces at IDEO that are very much a popularity contest and feel like high school, but I did a great job of staying away from that.

    IDEO2018-12-13
Found 169 reviews
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