Last Wednesday we visited Idea Couture’s office in San Francisco. Idea Couture is an innovation consulting firm that works with Fortune 100 and 200 companies. Their consultants utilize product design techniques such as rapid prototyping and 2×2 matrices to come up with ideas for how their clients can innovate aspects of their businesses. During our visit, we met with Nick Bradley, an innovation strategist and Duke alum, who explained in depth to us how Idea Couture functions on a day to day basis. After hearing the run down of the company and asking various questions, we completed a product design workshop run by Nick and other members of the Idea Couture.
In our workshop, we were asked to consider the coffee industry and how we could help a large coffee company expand its customer base. We first split up into groups of two people and considered the pros and cons of our various customer experiences with food and beverages. After discussing these factors, we constructed a model for how we can innovate the design of how coffee is served. Our groups came up with a vending machine model that streamlined the process of purchasing and receiving coffee. In this model, we considered how a coffee company could shorten lines and make coffee accessible in places outside of their stores, such as subway stations or offices.
After we received feedback from Mr. Bradley, a panel of Idea Couture employees told us about their experiences and answered our questions. This panel included software engineers, innovation catalysts and people involved with the consulting aspect of the firm. These panelists provided us with a deep understanding of their individual jobs and the focus and values of Idea Couture.
Our group was fascinated with the idea of innovation consulting, as many of us had been interested in management consulting but really appreciated the innovative aspect of Idea Couture’s business. Specifically, we liked how Idea Couture integrated both product design and engineering to help large and well known companies that have remained stagnant for long periods of time. Our visit at Idea Couture helped us expand our scope of the various types of businesses in Silicon Valley, and allowed us to improve our network.
Parker Levi is a rising sophomore at Duke University. He is pursuing a major in Economics, a minor in Japanese, and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Parker is originally from New York City, and his interests include sports, politics and music.