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Case Study

A dominant consumer computer company

Instant Team invents the slate/tablet computer


A computer company, struggling in the consumer market, had a strong share in the educational market segment. The company sought to maximize its education market position short term, and grow longer term brand loyal consumers. The CEO hired a large industrial design firm to develop new products for an early education (K through elementary school) “media classroom of the future”. The industrial design firm asked us to assemble an “instant team” to help conceptualize computer-based products for that future classroom.


We worked with the industrial design firm to review the client’s existing competencies and identify gaps where additional expertise was required. Then, we sourced world class organizations and individuals to come together to work on the project.

We created a group consisting of the best and brightest industrial designers, plus experts in learning, emerging media, and marketing. We designed and facilitated a three-day intensively interactive work retreat. At the beginning of the retreat we employed dynamic processes designed to rapidly align individuals. The group quickly became a cross-functional working team. We used a variety of focused processes to bring forth individual expertise and team creativity. Working as one, and in smaller groups, the team envisioned, conceptualized and rough prototyped several computer-based products.


The industrial design firm was delighted with the output and presented it to the computer CEO and his C-level team. Several of the prototypes were further developed and commercialized. However, one intriguing prototype was considered too far ahead of its time. Years later this prototype gave birth to a very successful new product -- It was the original prototype for Apple’s i-Pad.