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IDEO, Innovative Product Design Team
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Three strollers of varying heights

Three strollers of varying heights

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Chart of anthropometric data about children's and adult's dimensions
Chart of anthropometric data about children's and adult's dimensions

Stroller model too long for trunk of a car
Stroller model too long for trunk of a car

IDEO’s Process--Evaluate and Refine

The final stroller, shaped by the insight gained through observation, has to be a real mixture of design and engineering.

“We start with a huge number of possible solutions,” says Frank Friedman, “and we’re constantly selecting from and refining those solutions.”

The drawings and models created during the visualization phase give the flavor of the final product, but they don’t incorporate all the details. During the refinement phase, all of those details have to be worked out.

Brainstorming is a good way to generate lots of possible solutions to problems and to get ideas to flow freely.

The stroller team held two brainstorming sessions to come up with ways to attach infant seats to the stroller. They generated 122 ideas.

In many cases, the team looked at other kinds of equipment for inspiration: putting cross-country ski bindings on the bottom of the infant seat, or using something like a kayak’s spray skirt to keep the seat in place.

Sometimes the ideas were funny: using duct tape to fasten the seat to the stroller, or creating bionic hands that could hold the seat in place and even soothe the baby. But in brainstorming, one person’s wacky idea can inspire someone else’s innovative yet practical solution.

“We knew that we wanted to raise the seat as much as possible so we could minimize parent discomfort and add storage.” --Bryan Walker

“If we made the seat too high, there was a danger of it tipping over. We had to do a balance analysis to find out where the tipping point was.” --Larry Cheng

“We also made the seats of existing strollers higher to varying degrees so we could see our idea in action. We could see right away what was working and what wasn’t. We could watch kids getting in and out of them and think about issues like kids reaching store displays.” --Frank Friedman

“To make our stroller fit in every car we had to make the handlebar collapsible, which changed the handlebar/tray design. And the hinge points of the mechanism started to shift around as the proportions of the stroller changed. For a few days we thought we might have to throw out the whole design and start again.” --Frank Friedman

“I had to straighten the legs and the curve under the seat. I did lots of drawings, moving points bit by bit. In my mind, it was like stretching out a piece of dough. No one thing moved without changing its relationships with all the other parts. But, in the end, we got to a solution that wasn’t as far off as we’d feared it would be.’ --Larry Cheng

Next: The IDEO Process--Implement ›

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