IDEO Reviews | Glassdoor

IDEO Reviews

Updated September 11, 2017
132 reviews

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4.1
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IDEO President and CEO Tim Brown
Tim Brown
86 Ratings

132 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great Culture and a high standard of design exepected (in 9 reviews)

  • Great people, great environment (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Low pay compared to other comparable roles (in 7 reviews)

  • There can be lots of travel, and while you might feel like you're helping the world most days, you could end up on the dog-food project (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Amazing place to work"

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

    I worked at IDEO full-time

    Pros

    Working with incredible people on innovative projects

    Cons

    High turnover and limited upward growth


  2. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great people. Great Resource. Can meet the best talents in the industry

    Cons

    Some inner politics going on. Poor hr.

    Advice to Management

    Great for intern.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Tough to navigate, rewarding if you manage to establish relationships"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Talent
    Current Employee - Talent
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at IDEO full-time

    Pros

    IDEO is a place that can afford you a lot of autonomy in how you want to grow and what you want to do. That being said, it's still a consultancy and is in service of others to drive their ambition. The employee experience can feel like you're thrown in the deep end of a pool, and then realize you're not even in a pool at all. But if you're able to have an open mindset, figure out what tools and levers to pull, understand that collaboration with a POV gets you buy-in, it can be a really rewarding place where you can really push an organization, design, and transformation in many ways.

    The people that work here are generally pretty amazing coworkers that you'll be hard pressed to let go of. Build as much community as you can here, and you never know if you might work with another IDEOer again in a future state.

    Cons

    There is a s*load of ambiguity at times. The systems have behaviors don't really seem to rein those in just yet, and you'll often have to figure a lot of initiatives, tools, and relationships out on your own.

    Advice to Management

    Like many others have said, being transparent helps a lot to understand the fact that we're all human. If full transparency isn't available, then communicate clearly at different levels of management and influence so that everyone gets aligned more quickly, instead of constant backchanneling.

    Teach leadership skills, and practice them at the senior levels.

    Realize the burden of aspirational leaders who have to demonstrate success on so many levels in order to seek the recognition and rewards of a Director title.

    Re-think your comp structure in order to stay competitive for the best and brightest talent.


  4. Helpful (14)

    "Project Lead"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Lead in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Project Lead in San Francisco, CA
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    – The people you start with may very well become life-long friends. IDEO does an amazing job at recruiting interesting, thoughtful, and curious people all of whom have unique and interesting backgrounds.
    – The offices are all great and inspiring environments to be a part of.
    – IDEO as a whole has an inspiring network of connections, which are only an arms-length away

    Cons

    – Echoing much of what has been said, there is a reason why it's either people have either been at IDEO 10+ years, or are a bunch of newbies. Partners tend to create this cult like environment, where if you aren't a good-old boy, you will be faced with a long, slow uphill battle in your career journey, which can really squeeze you mid-career.
    – You are generally not promoted until you have been doing that job for 2+ years. It's not built on a foundation or trust or stretch people through new experiences, but rather, forcing people to fight for every singe promotion, especially at the team level.
    – Those that are promoted into leadership positions, are often ill-equipped and lack the people skills to support people in an empathetic way (which is ironic, because it's IDEO, which wrote the book on being human centered).
    – And honestly, some of the partners have been drinking the IDEO kool-aid for too long. Some (not all) can be full of themselves, and in some cases, just plain pretentious and mean, without reflecting on their actions.
    – They will often size you up at the as you become a Senior Project Lead. If you don't seem like a IDEO-lifer to them, it could cost you a promotion. Countless people have left at this level because they weren't given the chance to transition to Director. They pick favorites. Period.
    – While I wasn't a part of the newly formed Education Studio in San Francisco, it seemed toxic to me. I heard from countless employees that the leadership team worked people too hard, and managed in a very top down way, rather than meeting them where they are. That team is almost entirely new people now.
    – Last but not least, nobody says what they really mean. This is by far, the most passive aggressive culture I worked in. Feedback is always masked in generalizations and provides little to no insight about how decisions about your career get made.

    Advice to Management

    – Be more transparent
    – Make a concerted effort to support people at the "Team" level grow
    – Teach IDEO leaders (even partners) how to lift the little guys up and create a more nurturing culture (Notably, Tim Brown does do a good job of that–it's the partners below him that are usually egomaniacs)
    – Give more opportunities to others and don't take all the credit for the work a a team of people supported.


  5. "Great company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at IDEO full-time

    Pros

    Great place to work, learn and grow.

    Cons

    Too few paths forward to senior levels


  6. "Learn how to think"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Principal Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    working with the smartest people in the world
    exciting projects
    caring culture

    Cons

    struggling to come up to come up with a Con. Maybe the fact that IDEO is large and you won't know everyone immediately.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "A great place with talented people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Development in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Business Development in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at IDEO full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Ability to be entrepreneurial, be creative, push boundaries, try new things and experiments. A learning environment. Hire amazingly talented and creative people. Great team culture (on my team. I can't speak for every team / studio). Work on amazing projects with great partners. IDEO brand name allows access to thought leaders, etc.

    Cons

    People can be less open to others than it may initially seem. Less reaching out to others, engaging conversation. More difficult than expected to find cross-collaboration among different teams / studios. Salary compensation is not stellar (although benefits are good).

    Advice to Management

    Encourage more cross-collaboration. Always remember the 7 core IDEO values and how to live those out daily. Allow people to truly bring their "whole selves" to work, even if it's a different flavor than we're used to.

  8. "Production and Experience Intern"

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

    Pros

    Great collaborative environment to work in. Everyone is willing to learn and share what they do. Great opportunities for interns to learn from upper level management/project leaders via intern breakfasts

    Cons

    Just a great place to work. Would love to come back in the future


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great, smart people, interesting projects"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at IDEO full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Title says it all.....oh, and most clients are pretty great too.

    Cons

    If you are a product person, you may not as satisfied. I make stuff so I left with a heavy heart

    Advice to Management

    Remember David Kelly and the spirit he brought to the company.


  10. Helpful (26)

    "A Heartbreaking Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Support in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Support in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at IDEO full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    IDEO holds such a strong reputation as a firm that's written the language and framework of modern company culture that it continues to draw amazing talent. The mid and lower level staff here are amazing; full of energy, enthusiasm and hope.

    Cons

    After about six months here you see the trends emerge that many have mentioned in previous reviews. The hardest part is when you realize there is no desire within leadership to change anything that doesn't directly affect the lives or salaries of the partners.
    -cInconsistencies between what is promised and what is offered
    -cCliquey, high-school level politics
    -cExtreme nepotism
    - No growth track particularly for anyone not in traditional design roles.
    - Elitism of designers vs. everyone else despite the company's love of saying "everyone is a designer."
    - Complete lack of leadership engagement with mid and low level staff.
    - CEO acts more as figurehead for the brand myth of the company, while almost never engaging directly with studios and staff.
    - Unusually high attrition rates.
    - Huge spending on things like partner meetings while other staff are kept at baseline salaries

    Advice to Management

    Look beyond your own ambition, cushy salaries and public personas to the staff that do the work to hold this company together. Start requesting feedback bottom up, not just delivering it top down. Promote people who have LEADERSHIP skills instead of who have played the politics best. Learn the value of project managers. Start to care about your attrition rates and ask, why are they so high?


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