IDEO’s Bill Moggridge at Design Victoria

The stars aligned to enable me to attend Bill Moggridge’s breakfast talk at Design Victoria last week. I hadn’t really been aware of Design Victoria and their events calendar until I happened across it by mistake a couple of weeks ago.

Design Victoria is

a Victorian Government initiative delivered by RMIT University in collaboration with industry stakeholders to increase the competitive skills of designers in local and export markets, while developing the design innovation and excellence capabilities of small to medium enterprises in Victoria

Bill’s talk, ‘Designing Innovation’, gave us a brief insight into IDEO and some its clients and projects. After trawling the web, I discovered that what Bill presented was a mix of previous presentations from the past few years, some of which are available in slide form (PDF).

Bill’s key points

The most important points I noted down:

Case studies

I love a good case study, and Bill presented a couple of successful IDEO projects that I thought were worth sharing:

Perinatal Journey Home

(Kaiser Permanente)

Kaiser Permanente is a large, private healthcare organisation in the United States that operates hospitals (among many other things). in 2005 they worked with IDEO to assist new and soon-to-be mothers understand their ‘journey’ through the hospital – that is, all the normal events that would occur during their stay.

The project followed IDEO’s process to:

  1. observe
  2. ideate
  3. prototype
  4. scale and spread

IDEO designers conducted a thorough research stage involvingĀ  patient and staff interviews, creating patient ’stories’ and field studies at Target(!). The design team found that through the use of storytelling – using photo, videos and drawings – concepts were easier to understand and more compelling than the written word.

Brainstorming (the ‘ideate’ phase), using hundreds of Post-It notes, was conducted with multi-disciplinary teams comprising IDEO designers and process participants (nurses, physicians, hospital managers, etc). The group decided on a ‘Journey Home Board’ that would contain cards representing all events that were to occur during the stay. This would enable patients to be more aware of what was going to happen to them and their new baby, reduce levels of anxiety and increase parents’ confidence in planing their return home with a new baby.

In the prototyping phase, ideas were dramatised by design team members to help all participants understand the concept of the prototype and the tools involved in making it work. The prototype (processes and physical ‘products’ such as brochures and the ‘Journey Home Board’) was continually refined, then implemented in several hospitals for localised, real-world trials.

Since then, Kaiser Permanente has used IDEO’s approach to innovate in other areas of their business, including the Nurse Knowledge Exchange.

A more detailed case study about the Perinatal Journey Home is available from The Permanente Journal – Fail Often To Succeed Sooner: Adventures in Innovation



Shimano, a large bicycle manufacturer, was looking for ways to combat the declining sales of bikes, and approached IDEO to find out which market segments could be targeted to increase sales. IDEO conducted research with non-bike riders to understand why they were not riding bikes, uncovering physical and mental barriers, pre-conceptions, and self-conciousness. For example, many of the non-cyclists interviewed recalled cycling as a happy, childhood pastime that they had abandoned in adulthood after they started driving; many non-cyclists were intimidated by the ‘elite’ nature of many bicycle stores.

IDEO recommended that bike riding be ’simplified’ and made more accessible; features adopted included:

Bike stores that were to sell the new offering were remodelled to ensure the in-store experience was not confronting or intimidating.

All these features were packaged up into a bike called Coasting that was supported by a marketing roadshow of the United States to encourage non-cyclists to consider ‘casual’ bike-riding. The product subsequently won design awards and was very successful commercially.

More detailed information is available:

More design case studies?

Do you know of any other successful design projects you could recommend for me to have a look at? Maybe you have a great case study of your own? Let me know in the comments!


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