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Analysis of Ideo Shopping Cart

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Analysis of IDEO shopping cart project

BUS 540 Organizational Behavior


This paper will be discussing on the basis of ‘IDEO shopping cart project’ video. The video tends to show how the individual behavior and processes effect innovation in IDEO. It discusses the methods used by IDEO to make the working environment more creative and innovative. This discusses how the working environment and culture of an organization shape the innovation and creativity in the organization. It also discusses the various characteristics of creative person and how it connects with the environment of an organization to develop an innovative organization.

Keywords: innovation, creativity, culture, habitat

Analysis of IDEO shopping cart project

IDEO is an international product development firm in the world. It is also a consulting firm situated in Palo Alto, California in 1991. The company is highly involved in organizational design as well. The company uses experts in finding process of how to design stuffs and applying that process to innovate. Their innovations include high-tech medical equipment, computer mouse for apple, Nike sunglasses, NEC computer screens etc. It is a company of creative people from all over the world.

IDEO Shopping Cart Project

This case concerns IDEO, who were presented a challenge by ABS news to redesign the common shopping cart in five days. Through this case they wanted to see how the design process actually worked in IDEO. They were able to showcase the process of innovation and product development that took place in IDEO. They improved the safety, speed and effectiveness of the cart through innovative ideas with the same level of cost efficiency. Their design and innovation was backed up by ethnographic market research. Research was carried out by interviewing and observing users, as well as talking with purchasers and repairers of shopping trolleys. They also carried out secondary research to determine the need for such a product. Teams were created and brainstorming sessions were carried out to generate the best idea among so many. Many prototypes were developed and best elements of each were incorporated into the final design.

IDEO Working Environment

From the video it can be decoded that inside IDEO, a project manager is chosen not on the basis of seniority but on ability to work with groups. Team work is carried out and the team selected for the design process is eclectic which includes people from diverse fields such as engineering, business, psychology, biology, designing etc. It is evident from the video that there is no hierarchy system into use and each member has a democratic say to the process. No titles are given to the employees and assignments are also not permanent. Everyone appears to be equal and work is carried out mostly by exploring rather than sitting on the desk. They boast a playful environment with constructive chaos that leads to creative ideas. Employees generate ideas and those ideas are narrowed down by trial and error to get a better idea. Status is obtained by generating best ideas not by seniority or titles.


Creativity is a key ingredient in decision making for competitive advantage and individual career development (Griffin & Moorehead, 2008). Creativity is a novelty that’s useful and provides value. It is a way how expertise of individuals can be used to come up with unique solutions to solve a given problem in a more simplistic and easy way. For instance, in the given case the employees of IDEO came up with unique ideas and alternatives in designing of modern day cart such as scanner for quickness, hand baskets in metal frame for safety etc.

Characteristics of creative person

• Imagination: Creative people posse’s traits such as high openness to experience, low need for affiliation and strong values around self direction. These values form openness to change which motivate to innovative ways.

• Practical knowledge and experience: Creative people have practical knowledge and experience to discover or acquire new knowledge. There expertise helps them to bring out creative solution to problems.

• Persistence and attitude: Creative people have persistence and need for achievement. They have positive attitude and high level confidence.

• Cognitive intelligence: Creative people have been able to synthesize, analyze and apply their ideas.

Attributes of innovation in organization

From the IDEO cart project what we can observe is that an organization itself cannot be innovative but the employees who work there can make it innovative. An organization needs to recruit creative individuals. The individual characteristics combined together with the environment culture, habitat and resources guides the organization in the direction of innovation. As we can notice in the IDEO shopping cart project that the individuals having different creative characteristics combine as a team to innovate a traditional shopping cart into a modern shopping cart that solves the problems associated with the traditional one.

Through the video we can also observe that IDEO had a working environment different than the traditional corporate environment It was developed in such a way that employees were able to portray their creativity and knowledge to generate innovative ideas. The key attributes for an organization to become innovative are following:

Habitat is one of the key attributes in the working environment where the employees spend their time working. IDEO developed their environment as playful because creativity is high when the environment allows the creativity to flow. A dull environment makes the working less creative and interesting. If the working environment is lively and energetic then the employees are able to generate more ideas. If they get a freedom to create and enjoy then they will bring out imaginative ideas.

Imagination is another attribute which is very important and a habitat that allows imaginative atmosphere is able to get the best ideas out of the employees. IDEO encourages their staff to be imaginative. They allow them to build



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