I Am Tim Hoover

Product, design and life in BK/SF.

2011. 2012 – 2013.

IDEO

IDEO is a global design company and a leading voice in human-centered design methods. I first joined IDEO Boston as an intern for the summer during graduate school and later joined the New York office. While there, I learned how to think in systems, how to collaborate, and how to view the world with curiosity. IDEO taught me empathy, psychology, and the value of good questions.

 

People

IDEO is like a family. From the moment I walked in the door I felt welcome. People were interested in who I was as a person, not just the value I could add as a designer. They wanted to know the weird and interesting things about me and my background and they wanted to share things about themselves. They wanted to hear stories, tell stories, and understand each other. Differences were celebrated and alternate perspectives were encouraged.

People were at the center. Not only of the human-centered design and research practices, but at the heart of every team. It’s the people I met at IDEO that changed me the most. Almost all of these people had the word “designer” in their titles but they each did so many different things. Some studied behavior, some deployed new business models, others crafted brands and prototyped services. Some designers seemed to be professional question-askers. They came from business schools, design schools, the backwoods, the private sector, non-profits, and entrepreneurship. Despite their wide range of differences, everyone shared common beliefs, optimism, and a proven process. Job titles didn’t seem to matter and it was understood that teams produced better outcomes than any individual could on his or her own. They taught me that interesting is good.

Since IDEO I’ve found myself drawn to people with unique interests and perspectives. IDEO opened my eyes to a broader definition of design and stirred a deep curiosity and interest in people who are different than me. Many of the people I met there are good friends of mine today. They are the most interesting, inspiring, and self-aware people I’ve ever met. They are good at understanding and better at listening. They’ve made me a better person and a better designer, both during my time as an employee, and in the years that have followed.

Process

I believe in IDEO’s process and have worked pieces of it into my life and every project I take on. I think about people at every step of every project and I work to understand their desires, biases, and fears. IDEO taught me how to listen, synthesize, and prototype my way through anything, and most importantly, how to do it as a member of a team.

I worked on design systems for big pharmaceutical companies, financial tools for the government, and new business ventures for global brands. I can’t show any of it on my site, but it isn’t the work itself that I'm proud of—it’s the relationships, the process, and the lessons I learned. In many ways, IDEO is the foundation that supports the way that I approach all the work that I do. I was there long enough to learn many of the good things, but not too long that I can’t adapt what I learned to new problems and environments.

Play

IDEO was fun. People approached their work with energy and shared openly how grateful they were that we as designers get to do the work that we do. As a young designer, it was amazing to be around people who enjoyed their lives, their work, and being with one another. Play was designed into the process of the projects and of the culture of the office. People drew funny pictures together, taught each other how to use the tools in the make-shop, invented new worlds, and came into the office in their free time to make things. They pursued their curiosities together and invited others along for the ride. It’s because of IDEO that I have such a strong belief in the power of groups of people working (and playing) together.

I’m incredibly grateful for my time with IDEO—the people, the process, and the play. Without that opportunity my career could have been very different. When I left Boston I gifted the team an Amish buggy I designed and produced on the office laser cutter, a high tech reminder of the simple things in life.

Want to know more about IDEO?

Check out the official IDEO website.

Projects and Experiences

Canary

VP of Product and Design

Canary Flex

VP of Product and Design

Canary Apps

VP of Product and Design

Kern and Burn: The Book

Crowd-funder. Writer. Self-Publisher.

IDEO

Designer. Researcher. Learner.

The Infantree.

Co-Founder. Partner.

Hatch Show Print

Printmaker. Typesetter.