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Shimano – less means better

DESCRIPTION

Shimano, a company based on technological innovation always made efforts to identify most prospective ways of product development to secure its market position. However, at one point Shimano faced a situation when even innovative solutions did not generate revenues nor set any market trends. Shimano decided to invite IDEO to obtain a holistic view of the problem by using the Design Thinking method. IDEO proposed an unusual approach to the issue of the lack of demand for mountain bikes in the USA. The starting point was to create an interdisciplinary team of engineers, designers, behavioural psychologists, sales and marketing practitioners. In-depth interviews allowed to notice an interesting pattern. The biking stories of the Americans often brought their memories to childhood where riding a bike was simple and free of stress. Many people reminisced with nostalgia about their first bicycle, biking trips, contact with nature. The bicycle was a synonym of having a good fun, independence, adventure, travels. Why did not these positive associations encouraged adult people to continue their biking experience? Thorough market research, questionnaires and interviews with bike users revealed that almost everyone had a bike in their garage. However, these bikes had broken tires, chain or shifting mechanism and did not feel like repairing it. The conclusion was clear: bikes for kids are easy to use, a simple design does not require regular maintenance, adjustments and workload. This is in contrary to popular mountain bikes that are equipped with abundance of novelties: gears, absorbers, hydraulic or disc brakes. Even simple repairs need consultations with an authorized service centre. These conclusions were key for further work under the Design Thinking framework. The team started design work on a new product called a casual bicycle. A prototype was first built and then the final model of a simple casual bike for adult users was presented. Its design referred to classic old bike models. The bike was equipped with puncture-resistant tires, a hidden chain, and an automatic gear-changing. Sales values exceeded team’s expectations. Shimano, IDEO and other partners of this project obtained an International Design Excellence Award for this innovative solution that popularized biking across the USA. Soon, this casual bikes became fashionable in other parts of the world.

JUSTIFICATION

Thanks to implementation of the new solution (casual bicycle) Shimano was able to recapture the leading position in the industry. The correct Design Thinking process allowed for the novelty in the bicycle market that met the needs of customers and won their impressive interest. It is worth emphasizing that the project has been awarded at an International Design Excellence event.

REFERENCES

http://designthinking.pl/shimano-mniej-znaczy-lepiej/

IMAGE SOURCE

http://designthinking.pl/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/shimano_ideo.png

TYPE OF EXAMPLE

 

GOOD

DETAILS

YEAR

2004

PREPARED FOR

Shimano

COUNTRY

USA

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