Building A Better Shopping Cart

Although this video is a few years old, I thought it might be interesting to individuals that care about teamwork, good design and innovation. I have talked about IDEO to many colleagues in the past and thought this video would provide a good snapshot of how this company thinks outside of the box – in this case designing a better shopping cart. This highly respected design and innovation consulting firm’s clients include Apple, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Ford and Steelcase and they have created a variety of iconic objects such as Apple’s first mouse, the Palm V PDA and Steelcase’s Leap chair.

To demonstrate its process for innovation for an episode of ABC’s Nightline, IDEO created a new shopping cart concept. IDEO considered issues such as maneuverability, shopping behavior, child safety, and maintenance cost.

The show concentrated on the design process, recording as a multidisciplinary team brainstormed, research, prototyped, and gathered user feedback on a design that went from idea to a working appearance model in four days.

The nestable steel frame lacks sides and a bottom to deter theft, and holds removable plastic baskets to increase shopper flexibility, help protect goods and provide a method to promote brand awareness. A dual child seat uses a swing-up tray for a play surface, and a hole provides a secure spot for a cup of coffee or a bunch of carnations.

One of the unique—and potentially patentable—features of the cart is the design of its steerable back wheels. Normally fixed straight for stability and familiarity, an easy sideways effort allows the wheels to turn left or right. Pushing the cart forward puts the wheels straight again.

In just five days the IDEO team took something ordinary and made it extraordinary.

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