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IDEO move to join the Kyu collective signals the increasingly important role of design in society, says deal adviser

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By Michael Feeley, Founder and chief exec

February 19, 2016 | 2 min read

Noel Penrose, the lead adviser on a recent deal that saw IDEO, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known independent design firms, sell a minority stake and become part of the Kyu collective, believes that the surprising move signals the widening scope of design-led thinking in society.

Noel Penrose of Juniper2 was Kyu's lead adviser on the deal.

Speaking to The Drum, Penrose, partner with leadership and business mentoring specialist Juniper2, said: “Many companies are now building up their design capabilities to solve business problems in more creative ways and enhance customer experiences. IDEO is at the very forefront as a creative force for innovation and change.”

The kyu collective (a unit of Penrose's client Hakuhodo DY Holdings) is a group of diverse creative companies, including SYPartners, Sid Lee, Digital Kitchen, C2, and Red Peak Group, committed to addressing the most significant challenges facing business and society.

Addressing the deal, IDEO’s chief executive officer and president Tim Brown’s wrote on Medium: “Since IDEO started over 30 years ago, we’ve walked the gangway from industrial products to digital experiences to our current interest in designing complex systems. The rate of change has been dizzying, and today’s advanced technologies — AI, genomics, robotics, data science, the Internet of Things — have so outpaced our industrial-era organizations and infrastructure, they end up hitting institutional cul-de-sacs. If our institutions are to survive, they’ll have to create new roadways. That’s a design problem — one that requires new rules of engagement with a broad set of collaborators.”

Brown goes on to list several of the major challenges facing global society, including serving the needs of the global poor, designing new approaches to health, designing healthy and profitable food systems that can serve the needs of all and designing citizen-centered government services.

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