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IDEO, Innovative Product Design Team
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Drawing of a variation on the “nurturing” design: integrated footstand and reflectors


Drawing of a variation on the “nurturing” design: integrated footstand and reflectors



More Photography:


Drawing showing a method of folding a stroller closed
Drawing showing a method of folding a stroller closed


A complex drawing, called a Mind Map, links ideas and functions together
A complex drawing, called a Mind Map, links ideas and functions together


Variations on the “rugged” design include large rear wheels and frame suspension
Variations on the “rugged” design include large rear wheels and frame suspension


Drawing of another variation on the “rugged” design: four wheels in front, one in rear
Drawing of another variation on the “rugged” design: four wheels in front, one in rear


Drawing of a variation on the “athletic” design: shock absorbers, large sunshade
Drawing of a variation on the “athletic” design: shock absorbers, large sunshade


Drawing of a variation on the “nurturing” design: different wheel possibilities
Drawing of a variation on the “nurturing” design: different wheel possibilities









IDEO’s Process--Visualize

You can’t provide new-to-the-world products and experiences unless you can visualize what they’ll look and feel like and how people will use them.

“We used a variation of an N-frame in our stroller. It was the only frame design that would allow a user to stand and fold the stroller using only one hand. And it was easier to create an infant seat attachment that would work with all infant seats.”

“But the N-frame is more complicated, mechanically. How do you take a frame that has more parts and make it look as simple as possible? I wanted to use upholstery to cover the mechanics and hide the intersecting points.”

“All of those points [that Frank wanted to hide] move and fold. To keep the clean look, we had to move them, which made the stroller less mechanically straightforward.”

“[If you want to work well as a team] you have to identify the problems rather than just say no. You have to ask, ‘If I move this piece, what do we gain or lose?’ Teamwork is about following each other bit by bit and working through problems instead of rejecting ideas outright.”

“Our process involves a back and forth between design and engineering. We start with one idea and sometimes end up with another one that’s better.”

“I used the data from our observations to create scenarios and storyboards. I invented fictional characters with names, personalities, jobs, and hobbies that everyone can relate to. The storyboards helped us remember what stroller users do and feel.” --Bryan Walker

The team uses storyboards to help keep design goals in context. The technique allows them to distill lots of viewpoints into a single story that’s easier to keep in mind. The team made up the story of the Penningtons, compiled from many interviews. It follows them through five fictional years, including the births of two children.

“I thought about how I could make Frank’s designs work. I use sketches and CAD models to rule out things that obviously won’t work. But it’s important to make real models. Virtual models will show you how something moves, but they can’t provide feel, which is enormously important to users.” --Larry Cheng

Frank says: “I started with a four-foot by eight-foot sheet of paper. The team came up with names--‘Rugged,’ ‘Athletic,’ ‘Elegant,’ and ‘Nurturing’--and I just started drawing. I did variations on each theme. And we did some that were just fun.”

After Evenflo picked the “nurturing” theme, the IDEO team started to imagine how they might incorporate features.

Next: The IDEO Process--Evaluate ›





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