To demonstrate our process for innovation for a 1999 episode of ABC’s late-night news show Nightline, IDEO created a new shopping cart concept, considering issues such as maneuverability, shopping behavior, child safety, and maintenance cost. The show concentrated on IDEO’s design process, recording as a multidisciplinary team brainstormed, researched, 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.
Note: The footage of the Nightline episode featuring the shopping cart is owned by ABC. They've made it available for purchase to stream, or as a DVD, here.