Going off the beaten path for new design ideas [The New York Times]

IDEO spaces
When most other design firms were still using the same old focus-group techniques, IDEO invented the unfocus group, in which side conversations among participants are also recorded — to hear what they were really thinking. Finding out not just what people really think, but also how they really live, is the lifeblood of IDEO’s innovative design work.

The firm made its name in designing products, including the Palm V hand-held organizer, but it has been turning its attention to spaces, or environment design.

IDEO, founded in San Francisco in 1991, is delving into the psychology of space and coming up with unusual approaches for companies like  Marriott International and Forest City Enterprises, two of the largest real estate businesses in the country.

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