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What an amazing experience. I can feel the warmth flowing through your stories - looks like you became part of an extraordinary community of folks. I’m particularly thinking in terms of the international angle as well - having that sort of cross-cultural bridging of understanding and insight through learning and design… sweet!
[…] much less a couple of complete and well-thought out paragraphs (for reference, it wasn’t until mid-October that I wrote my reflections on my previous internship). I finished my internship at Google last […]
As it so happens it takes about a month for me to have the time to shift gears between one thing and the next, and as such it’s high time for me to put down to pixel the kinds of amazing adventures I’ve been able to have this past summer. I started my internship at IDEO just a few days after wrapping up my first year at Stanford, and I immediately understood that I was in for an adventure quite unlike any other experience I have been through previously. IDEO felt open, approachable, unfettered, and even intuitive - if it made sense, it likely was already in place.
In some sense it felt like the kind of gem you’d know everyone would be completely excited about, but part of you wants to keep it for yourself. On the other hand, the fact that IDEO has so many instances, examples and projects of things to its name that most of us don’t even know about makes it all the more thrilling, like an undercover agent knowing that the very thing you hold in your hand isn’t a mere pen - it’s a sophisticated spy machine.
That confidentiality does make it hard to relate with other people about the kinds of things interns are able to do, but it felt as though there was never the opportunity to differentiate oneself as an intern rather than an employee. The amazing machine shop and 3D machines were ours to use, the people around me were always easy to talk to and eager to listen. Every morning we were provided with breakfast, and usually something fancy on Thursday mornings.
I had the chance to interact with a group of interns who also were nothing short of remarkable. It was due perhaps in part to the fact that most of them were my age or older, and as such had so many experiences and stories to relate rather than just stories of school. Some were international students (India, Japan, Denmark, Italy, Germany), while others came from across the country (LA, Princeton, Philadelphia, Raleigh).
The last-minute camping trip to Big Sur ended at one of the most highly-rated camp sites along Highway 1.
So in short, I was able to (aside from my main summer project)
Along the way I talked to, met and worked with a whole host of multi-talented people who clearly had so many interests and passions that it exuded in the way they worked. Since the San Francisco office was being renovated, we had more people than usual at the Palo Alto office, which made it even more fun during the company picnics. Since IDEO is a largely collaborative environment I can imagine how important people-compatibility is in considering a new hire, and it’s evident that people work really well together, despite their differences. I think the investment in people is also what sets IDEO apart - I’ve seen cases where they will willingly fly people across the country if it means making a good team to solve a client’s problem. It’s really amazing what a company of 550 can do, considering it’s spread over 10 offices worldwide!
The many faces of the interns I was with!
We ended up dressing up as characters from Mad Men. People at IDEO have a good sense of fashion, and I think the interns fit in well in that regard, no?
It would be an understatement to say that I miss IDEO already. It almost feels like it was a dream.