Hey I didn’t write this article to answer legitimate questions later! Kidding.
I’m not too familiar with IBMs garage but I do believe many big companies love this forced urgency stuff cuz it helps teams focus and keep from getting pulled into core product maintenance stuff.
My sense of “normal pace” is probably skewed since my team is handling multiple clients at a time (3–5 per designer). But with that mix, I feel like working through big concepts takes about 6–8 weeks in real time (not actual hours worked). And that’s after 4–8 weeks of research. But I think that even in-house you can have teams doing this in parallel on 3–5 features. The intermixing is good. I used to make the mistake of isolating features for me or my team to work on but in hindsight I think that this “forced focus” was counterproductive (and why I think sprint weeks are popular). But the reality is distilling the actual hours down on big features is good, but they still need space to breath in between. There’s so much research showing the impact of problems getting solved in your subconscious, it’s impossible to ignore as a designer. Rather than forcing focus on short time periods, spread it out over time to let ideas cross-pollinate and let your subconscious take over for a while.
Hope that made some sense…