Artifact Details


Kelley, David M. oral history

Catalog Number





David Kelley is the founder of the celebrated innovation consultancy, IDEO, among the best known and most highly respected design firms in the world. In 1978, one year after completing his master's degree in Stanford's Product Design program, Kelley and fellow Stanford graduate Dean Hovey started the engineering consultancy, Hovey-Kelley Design, one of the first free-lance, engineering-based design firms in Silicon Valley. A year later Hovey-Kelley became David Kelley Design (DKD), and grew rapidly with contracts from technology companies such as Telesensory Systems, Apple Computer, and ultimately dozens and then hundreds of others. In 1991 DKD merged with Bill Moggridge's firm, ID Two, and Mike Nuttall's Matrix Design, to become IDEO—at that time the largest design consultancy in the world. In the interview Kelley describes how the merger brought his company's core engineering competency together with the industrial design competencies of ID Two and Matrix to create what was essentially a new model of an integrated Silicon Valley consultancy. IDEO continues to expand into new areas—human factors, interaction design, strategic innovation, etc.—in response to the continuously changing technology environment of Silicon Valley and the world. In 1990 Kelley returned to Stanford in a teaching capacity, and is now the Donald M. Whittier Professor of Mechanical Engineering. In 2004 he founded the Hasso Plattner Institute for Design at Stanford -- popularly known as the "d-School" -- of which he is director.

In the interview Kelley describes the values, ideals, and motivations that guided him through each stage of his career, with special emphasis on the evolving balance between analytical engineering and creative design. He discusses specific projects, ranging from his Maser's thesis project on medical records to the design of the first mouse for Apple's Lisa computer to strategic programs for Kaiser Permanente and Bank of America. The interview offers an insight into the nature of design in the Silicon Valley context, the formation of a design sensibility at Apple Computer, and the ongoing challenge of designing for measurable impact.




Dennis, Eric, videographer
Katz, Barry, interviewer
Kelley, David M., interviewee


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California


28 p.




Design; Engineering; creativity; IDEO; Stanford

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Lot Number