Idean moves high tech into an operational experience

Just a few years ago, the selling point of new innovations was primarily their technical advantage. The ease of use of the devices and services has now become equal and even surpassed it in many instances.

In addition to Helsinki, this change in attitude is clearly visible in Idean Oy's Palo Alto office in Silicon Valley, California. The design office, specialising in service design and the development of the user experiences, is growing rapidly now.

The tailwind blowing in Silicon Valley is also seen in the key figures of the agile and innovative SME. The total turnover is rising in the vicinity of EUR 8 to 9 million. At the same time, the number of employees will rise from 85 to 90.

"Even global technology giants like IBM have begun to emphasize user experience as the most important competitive factor in its strategy. For us, of course, it means that we are on the right track. Growth prospects are promising to say the least", Risto Lähdesmäki noted with a smile.

One of the important pioneers and factors in shaping attitudes has been, according to Lähdesmäki, the Apple iPhone. The ingenious and easy-to -use interface revolutionized the mobile phone industry at the end of last decade in one fell swoop.

Now, this same thinking, in which the technology is pressed into the background and priority is given to the positive user experience with the machine, device or service, forges ahead on a much wider front. Also, the scale of the assignment at Idean spans from home electronics to software, mobile applications, home electronics as well as a variety of network and customer service solutions.

The company's job is to bring the external and sometimes very critical user perspective into the product development process from the start all the way through to the final product.

"We are constantly asking, 'Why?'" In short, it could be said that we bring ordinary-person usability to the innovations of engineers", Lähdesmäki grinned.

GAP helped into the American market

Idean has also focused from the start on international markets. In 2011, it joined the GAP programme implemented in cooperation with Tekes and the prestigious University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). There, MBA students who have already acquired experience and encouragement in their work lives prepare a business plan for companies that facilitates their entering or expansion in the US market.

According to Lähdesmäki, the GAP programme and the networks arising from it were a clear source of assistance for Idean.

"We were able to have a productive development dialogue, we got important business contacts and we opened doors for which access would have otherwise been much more difficult", the CEO concluded.

At the same time, it also affirmed the belief that the opening of the office in Silicon Valley and the "Little Finland" house would be good for the business.

"We have worked with user experiences for over a decade. Now it seems to finally be the breakthrough time and in this respect we are now here just in the right place in Palo Alto. The main customers are within walking or cycling distance", Lähdesmäki added with a smile.

Text: Timo Sormunen/Recommended Finland Oy

Eeva Landowski

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