Gentry Underwood Keynote:Innovation Through E2.0

Gentry Underwood, Head of Knowledge Sharing, IDEO


[These are my quick notes, complete with  (what I hope is no more than) the occasional typo and grammatical error.  Please excuse those. Thanks!

From time to time, I’ll insert my own editorial comments – exercising the prerogatives of the blogger.  I’ll show those in brackets. ]


  • They focus on “design thinking” = human-centered design.
  • Three key principles of Design:
    • Empower people, not ideas – ideas are cheap
    • Create platforms for coalescence – give people a place to be together and work together.
      • They have a wiki system organized around groups, they have a blog effort that is a rich source of new ideas, etc.
    • Facilitate and Reward Participation.  Every little bit of friction in the system impedes participation.
      • They are maniacal about eliminating friction in the system.
      • Bring information to people. Don’t make them go find it. (They use a feed system for this.)
      • They display their activity stream on the wall of the office – it encourages people update their stream. This provides built-in rewards
  • Good design coupled with good technology will change the culture, which will in turn change they way an org works and what it produces.
  • They used a platform from existing software with a custom interface. They are moving to a mGenera platform.

One thought on “Gentry Underwood Keynote:Innovation Through E2.0

  1. Interesting statement: “Empower people, not ideas – ideas are cheap”. I agree, cause you can't empower ideas. But what does this mean? Empower people lead to good ideas? Don't focus on ideas but on empowering people?

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