Dave Pickett / The Cleveland Institute of Art
This is a very interesting service proposition, for both consumers and the target implementing company, that capitalizes on existing services and infrastructure. Its touchpoints, and the interplay between them, are well thought-through, and the branding and communications are creative and well-integrated. The project is somewhat light on consumer research, and the jury would have liked to see a more robust process exploring user needs to ground the otherwise very strong concepts.
1. The Nutshell: In plain language, tell us what your project is, what it does, and what it’s comprised of.
It is a product and service that provides urban dwellers easy access to an out-of-the-box type of camping experience. The design system is made up of a partnership, online community, and product. First, by co-branding with Zipcar, a membership-based car sharing company, urban dwellers are provided a more seamless and accessible camping experience. The online community helps improve the camping experience by making it predictable, so that users have a better idea of what to expect. Lastly, an easy, out-of-the-box type of camping experience, through a compact modular system, delivers improved usability compared to the traditional camping experience.
2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Since its peak in the mid 90’s, interest in camping has been on a steady decline. While the root cause of this decline is unclear, several possibilities include: America’s heavy reliance on technology, insufficient funds, negative experiences, inadequate knowledge, and a shift in macro cultural trends.
By redesigning the outdoor camping experience - through harnessing existing and developing technologies to challenge our perceptions of ourselves, and the ways we communicate and inhabit space - we can redefine what it means to go camping in America and rekindle the urban American public’s love of the environment.
Through a new understanding of urban dwellers’ relationships with nature, this concept aims to redefine our current vision of camping and to create a new compelling and more relevant way for urban dwellers to experience nature in the future.
3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
Instead of redesigning a classic camping system like a tent or camper, that only satisfies one of the many problems associated with the decline in camping, I took a breakthrough approach. v
By leveraging successful business models from other markets like car-sharing programs and a travel websites and integrating an intuitive out-of-the-box camping solution, I was able to reinvent the way people go camping and meet the needs of urban dwellers in a new and compelling way. Furthermore, the simplicity and ease-of-use of the BaseCamp experience will attract traditional users and transform the way they think about this category. The partnership, online community, and product create a unique catered experience that seamlessly connects users to a great camping experience outside of the city limits.
4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
A segment of my research involved interviewing everyone from subject matter experts like National Park Rangers, anthropologists, and high tech backpackers to people who go camping rarely or not at all. These interviewees comprised of people from several different generations, which helped piece together how camping has changed in the last few decades and validated several reasons associated with the decline in camping.
I used this information as a set of checks and balances to make sure that the BaseCamp experience was not only a new and compelling solution for urban dwellers, but that it was solving the existing problems associated with the decline in camping.
BaseCamp signifies a new kind of camping experience in the outdoor category, but also represented an extension of Zipcar’s expertise in providing transportation to city dwellers when they need it. Here’s a quick outline of benefits associated with the BaseCamp experience:
Benefit to Users
-No need to own a car
-No need to own gear
-Less prep time
-Less clean up
Benefit to Zipcar
-Zipcar will profit from this new market opportunity.
-Together, Zipcar and its users will help redefine our current vision of camping to create a new, compelling and more relevant way for urban dwellers to experience nature in the future.
5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
BaseCamp’s unique and innovative design starts with the system design as a whole. The partnership, online community, and product work seamlessly with one another to cater a great camping experience from start to finish.
By partnering with Zipcar, there’s no need to own gear or a vehicle, so consumers can try the activity without having to buy into it. Forget about prep and clean up, because Zipcar uses a fleet management service to maintain and equip the Zipcars for the BaseCamp experience. In addition, co-branding with Zipcar makes it possible for this camping experience to be advertised through their already successful advertising campaign. This is beneficial in generating new market opportunity for Zipcar as well as promoting the use of our beautiful state parks and other public lands.
The online community, which functions similar to a travel website, helps users better understand what to expect through reviews and advice on campgrounds, activities, etc.
The modular system – tailored for a specific zipcar - is made up of six essential components for users to enjoy a great camping experience. These components include first aid, a lantern, food storage, shelter, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. One of the many intuitive features built into the modular system are QR coded tags. If you’re not sure how something works, use your smart phone to scan the code and connect to a mobile-optimized site that has more information about that element of the vehicle or modular system.
6. Outline the steps of the service; what are the intended behavioral patterns or “scripts” for the actors interacting with the service?
The BaseCamp experience consists of four simple steps: Join, Reserve, Drive, and Camp! I’m going to show you how Dave, our newest Zipcar member, uses BaseCamp.
1. Joining Zipcar
a) Dave applies online. After we check his driving record, we send him his very own Zipcard.
2. Reserving BaseCamp.
a) Dave visits Zipcar.com/basecamp to play with our interactive homepage, which will help acquaint him and his guests with the BaseCamp experience.
b) Dave clicks on the campgrounds tab to start planning his adventure! (This section uses a similar platform to travel websites, which makes it extremely easy for Dave to search for his destination.) Whether it’s a city or a park name, we’ll round up all of the campgrounds, activities, and rentals nearby for him and his guests to consider for their adventure.
c) Reserving is as simple as selecting the duration of the trip and the number of guests. Reservations can be made months in advance.
3. Drive to your destination
a) Most Zipcar locations are never more than a few blocks away, so on the day of their trip, Dave and friends make it to their BaseCamp vehicle in less than a 5-minute walk.
b) Dave accesses the vehicle using his Zipcard.
a) The modular system carries six essential components for Dave and friends to enjoy a great camping experience. After the experience, Dave returns the BaseCamp vehicle to a Zipcar location and we take care of the rest!
7. How did you identify the possible leverage points in the service system? How did you evaluate the importance of each, and determine the mix of interventions that would have the greatest impact?
While generating concepts, I identified an opportunity to co-brand with a service like Uhaul or Zipcar, which would help deliver a more accessible experience to an untouched market of urban dwellers that have an interest in camping, but don’t possess the means of transit required. Assuming this new, untouched market of urban dwellers have never camped before, I developed an online community that functions like a travel website, which accommodates consumers with insufficient knowledge of the camping experience and provides them with predictability throughout their experience. The last leverage point in the system is the modular product experience. The overall goal was to create a system of components that provides the user with great usability as they camp and minimizes the opportunity for a poor experience. BaseCamp is a catered experience from start to finish through the perfect balance of accessibility, predictability, and usability.