Toyota + Net Impact set out to envision the future of mobility and challenge conventional
patterns of innovation.
Spring | Summer 2016
“Mobility should not be limited to people in wealthier parts of the world. It should be safe, efficient, and enjoyable. And it should be economically and environmentally sustainable; the success of our mission over the next century will only be ensured if increased mobility is in harmony with changing infrastructure and patterns of urbanization” – Akio Toyoda, Chair, Toyota Mobility Foundation
Innovative options now transport us from one place to another. Car and bike sharing services are enabling commutes in major cities and alternative fuels provide power to new vehicles’ no-longer dependent on gasoline. Self driving vehicles are on their way. Experts predict these types of services and solutions will be commonplace within 25 years.
“The arrival of the ‘information everywhere’ world has opened up new opportunities to make the existing transportation network far more efficient and user-friendly.” — William D. Eggers Director, Public Sector Research Deliotte; Deliotte Report, Digital-Age Transportation: The Future of Urban Mobility
“The design challenge will be to create inclusive options. We need to ensure that new forms of mobility help us develop better civic infrastructure and enhance our cultural and natural environment.”<h/5> — Dr. Mary McBride, Chair and Professor, Creative Enterprise Leadership Initiative, Pratt Institute, School of Art
From Fall 2015 to Spring 2016, Toyota, Net Impact and the Toyota Mobility Foundation have been on a campaign to address the future of mobility. In campuses across the U.S., 15 daylong workshop events were held to challenge undergraduates and graduates from diverse fields of study to envision the future of mobility. The Toyota + Net Impact Next Generation Mobility Challenge encouraged teams to leverage skill sets, training, culture, imagination, creativity and more.
NYU Stern School of Business hosted one of the Northeast events.
Catalyst leader and Pratt’s Chair of Design Management (DM) and Arts and Cultural Management (ACM) Graduate Programs Dr. Mary McBride acted as an advisor and judge alongside other accomplished specialists. Toyota specialists Kristen Tabar, Meghan Adams, Eileen Ellis, and Suzanne Lee with expertise spanning engineering, innovation, and strategy. They were joined by Greg Lindsay from New Cities Foundation. Net Impact’s Lily Mathews and Harris Bostic II facilitated the design process and ensured the event ran smoothly. Participants from Pratt’s Design Management program were invited to attend.
“We were immersed into a journey and encouraged to ideate using exercises and activities, integrating human-centered design (HCD) strategies. As designers, we took on the challenge to combine design and technology to address societal issues and to generate solutions with long-term viability and positive impact. One learning-we see it’s necessary for us to work with specialists from many backgrounds.” – Aria Chili, Pratt DM, class of 2017
“Organizers formed our teams around different backgrounds and cultures purposely and we engaged in activities that helped the us to exchange knowledge during the competition. This is how successful design firms work today.” – Ana Cecilie Celaya, Pratt DM, class of 2017
The first, step we took was to “discover” and build an understanding of different personas to determine the people we wanted to help. Next we framed the problem they were facing. Then, we began to be more creative and “imagine” novel ways to solve that persona’s mobility issues. To finalize, we had to create the “prototype” of that idea and present it.
Below are three examples extracted from a toolkit of several models, which served as a roadmap for the day. The persona profile brief, strategic design models and ideation exercises helped teams to define, structure, and present their ideas.
The best work generated at the nation-wide Mobility Challenges will be developed during a Summer Internship Program. The team selected for their idea will receive assistance from Toyota and specialists. The top three selected concept winners will attend the 2016 Net Impact Conference.
We found at our Mobility Challenge that teams formed quick bonds, and the process and outcomes were both novel and enlightening. The Toolkit and Judge’s feedback clarified how design strategy and HCD considerations, coupled with diverse skill set and knowledge, open-mindedness and enthusiasm will help us with similar challenges we take on during our studies and career aspirations.
Thank you Toyota! Thank you Net Impact!
“Transportation is not simply one mode that moves a person or a good from A to B. It is much more interesting and useful than that. It is a system, or rather a ‘system of systems’ connecting modes, services, technologies and designs according to the best option for the purpose.” – Susan Zielinski, managing director, SMART, University of Michigan
About the Authors:
Aria Chiu, Pratt DM, class of 2017 and Ana Cecilie Celaya, Pratt DM, class of 2017, participants at the Challenge
Leslie Kirschenbaum, Design Manager at Mount Sinai Hospital, Marketing and Communications, Adjunct Professor and Pratt Catalyst, Leadership.
Net Impact: “is a community of more than 100,000 student and professional leaders creating positive social and environmental change in the workplace and the world.”
Toyota Mobility Foundation: “We believe in the power of mobility. The freedom to move is fundamental to our evolution. When people are free to move, grow and explore, they’re free to realize their dreams and fulfill their potential.”
New Cities Foundation: “Shape a better urban future for all by fostering urban innovation and entrepreneurship…”
Human-centered design (HCD): “Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for.” – IDEO