IDEO
10 / 17 / 2017
IDEO acquires Datascope, a Chicago-based data science firm, with support from kyu
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Illustration Credit: Jarrod Ryhal, IDEO

Who will harness the power of Augmented Intelligence?* The daily interactions between humans and machines present a massive opportunity to build new ventures, create new markets, and unlock value for customers. But such companies will only succeed if they use data to design for real human needs and prove their relevance to everyday life.

This is why IDEO is excited to announce that it is acquiring Datascope, a Chicago-based data science firm, with support from kyu. Datascope is at the top of its field and brings a human-centered design approach – making it uniquely complementary to IDEO. Together, the companies will deliver a new offering called Design for Augmented Intelligence (D4AI).

“Our vision is to design entirely new intelligent, data-driven systems – balancing both how they work and how they feel,” comments IDEO CEO Tim Brown in a company memo. “To be truly innovative and create human-centered solutions we need to be able to understand and work with data and artificial intelligence in deeper ways.”

To be truly innovative and create human-centered solutions we need to be able to understand and work with data and artificial intelligence in deeper ways.

IDEO sees data as a complex and flexible medium to design products, services, and experiences in a human-centered way. D4AI will combine irreplaceable human insight with the power of machines to solve problems in a smart, intuitive way, designing intelligent systems that understand the complexity of our relationships, both with one another and with the world around us. D4AI will be based in IDEO’s Chicago office in the near term but with plans to scale across all global locations.

As of today Datascope’s 16 data scientists join not only IDEO but also the wider kyu collective. kyu’s support played an integral role in enabling IDEO to expand its capabilities and impact.

“We have all joined kyu to, over time, be in a position to tackle the world’s biggest problems. We know this requires a new way of thinking and working to harness the collision of art and science,” says kyu CEO Michael Birkin. “Datascope, by being at the leading edge of Augmented Intelligence, provides the opportunity to do exactly that.”

Datascope was founded in 2009 by Mike Stringer and Dean Malmgren as they finished their PhDs at Northwestern. As labmates in the Amaral Group with strong ties to the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, they worked across a rich diversity of problem areas using data as a medium for scientific exploration, and they established the company with the aim of repurposing this approach for industry. Datascope’s partnerships with IDEO began as early as 2012.

Both IDEO and kyu are excited to work with Dean and Mike’s team, and to see what such collaborations yield. In the meantime, to find out more, Tim, Mike, and Dean were interviewed in an exclusive with Fast Company, and they also wrote an article on Medium regarding the future of Augmented Intelligence.

*IDEO chooses the word “augmented” rather than “artificial” because it shifts the focus away from replacing humans with machines and instead puts the focus back on humans.