I remember December of 2010. A project proposal landed on my desk. It was a sprint project, which meant that something needed to be designed within a very short timeframe. It was for a Kobo e-reader. Saying Yes to this project meant cranking late-nighters throughout the Holiday season to get it done. We said Yes. Palo had designed the first e-reader for the Canadian e-book retailer Kobo but wasn't able to staff this project on the West Coast. So it moved to Cambridge. What started during the weeks of December 2010 turned into a 3 year collaboration between Kobo, IDEO, and Kobo's partners. Over a period of three years we designed four new e-readers that would go head-to-head with Amazon's Kindle. While facing strong competition in the US, Kobo was very successful in Canada and Europe.
The collaboration with Kobo ended towards the end of 2013 when the Kobo team moved on to other companies. I still vividly remember the fast design phases, the amazing trips to Taiwan, where we locked ourselves into a room for a week with the manufacturer, until we had figured out all details of a new product. Sunday nights were booked for "morning ' calls with Taiwan to discuss next steps. The tight collaboration between Kobo, IDEO ID and ME, and Kobo's partners allowed us to keep the design intent all the way through. All four products looked exactly like the devices in the concept renderings. They won numerous awards, including the Red Dot Award, the Good Design Award, the Le Janus De I'Industrie, and an IDEA Bronze Award in 2012 for the Kobo Design Language. Great times.