The Innovation Lab is on ‘Target’
03-12-12 - Students redesign the experience of shopping for children’s apparel and accessories at Target.
On Monday, March 12, students in the “Innovation, Creative Problem Solving” class, taught by Lecturers in Business Sirietta Simoncini and Tracy Brandenburg, presented their solutions to a challenge sponsored by Target: to redesign the experience of shopping for children’s apparel and accessories.
The students invited the campus community and welcomed visitors, Susan Sheffield, design director of newborn, infant, and toddler apparel, Target, Minneapolis, Minn.; and LaToya D. Ingram, leadership facilitator, JetBlue, Queens, N.Y., to come test five new shopping solutions that were based on the needs of shoppers at Target in Ithaca, N.Y.
The solutions ranged from a shopping “cart of creativity” that would entertain kids so a mom could shop in peace, to a “project runway” that would make back-to-school shopping interactive and fun for kids with a runway and iPad tablet, to “Target’s toddlers” that would redesign and reorganize the toddler clothing and accessory section making it more child-friendly and easier for parents to shop. The five teams of students followed the creative problem solving methodology consisting of developing empathy, prototyping process, collaboration, iteration and feedback to redesign a new shopping experience based on the needs of the people they met at the Target in Ithaca, N.Y.
The Target challenge was presented to the College this past fall after Sheffield and Ingram met Professor Brandenburg while taking her executive education “boot camp” on design thinking at the Stanford Institute of Design, Stanford, Calif. Sheffield then presented Professor Brandenburg’s class with the challenge to “redesign the experience of shopping for children’s apparel and accessories.”
Since its inception in the spring of 2011, and in addition to the Target sponsored challenge, the Wells College Innovation Lab has participated in three other challenges hosted by OpenIDEO, run by the world renowned design company IDEO; and has also received recognition for being the only school to make the OpenIDEO challenges part of a class assignment. Most notably this past fall, out of 164 ideas submitted to the Amnesty International sponsored challenge on OpenIDEO, ”Help I’m Being Detained and I Can’t Get Free,” the idea from a Wells College Innovation Lab team was one of 20 selected to make it to the “refinement” stage.
Both visitors from Target and JetBlue were very impressed by the students’ creativity and ability to better their solutions with testers’ feedback, and Sheffield told students to “watch out for the use of tablets in our Target stores. We’ve already been thinking about this.”
The Wells College Innovation Lab attempts to solve real-world problems, locally, globally, and within the Wells community. Students can take a class in design thinking—BUS 250 Innovation, Creative Problem Solving. This class teaches students first-hand about the creative problem solving methodology consisting of developing empathy, prototyping process, collaboration, iteration, and feedback. The objective is to enable students to address challenges in business and other disciplines, such as the social and physical sciences. The development of Wells' innovation lab was made possible in part from a gift in memory of Louise Bingham Hatch, Wells College Class of 1938, from her family.
Clare Scott, 315.364.3404, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy Brandenburg, 315.364.3270, email@example.com