Last summer, my husband purchased a Coaster bike. It’s a cool throwback to the bikes we had as kids-back-pedal brake, wide handlebars and a wide seat. I didn’t think much about our Coaster until I read Tim Brown’s book, Change By Design.
Tim is CEO/President of IDEO, an innovation design company that created the Coaster bike. IDEO leads the pack in the science of design thinking. What can training designers learn from the Coaster? In Change by Design, Tim describes the process of innovation that led to the Coaster capturing a new market-the 90% of adults who no longer ride bikes. Tim described the innovation process used to create the Coaster. Here’s what it looks like through the lens of 4MAT:
Why do adults no longer ride? We all have fond memories of tooling around the neighborhood on our Schwinn, so why do 90% of adults no longer ride? Tapping into this uncovers the true need.
What new category of bicycling might capture the imagination of the consumer? IDEO identified a need for a bike built for pleasure not sport. What does this look like? Big handlebars, no cables, comfy seat and little to no maintenance.
How? The how moved beyond how to manufacture the bike to how to tell the story of the Coaster. Development of a brand that defined coasting, in-store retailing and collaboration with local civic associations were all part of this process.
If? The process began here. What if a bike manufacturer moved from struggling to slice off a fraction of a percent of the existing market and instead expanded the market? What would this look like? New possibilities emerged and the performance metric was defined-capturing the 90%.
The 4MAT Design process applies to innovation at all levels—from the innovation stage to the implementation stage. Creating a culture of innovation and performance begins with the language of design.