Re-Inventing Shopping: International Design WorkShop with Cornell Tech

How will we shop in the future? How will millennials change the shopping experience? What will be the future of tailored shopping? What will be the future of virtual retail assistants and advisors? 

During the week of Jan 10-14, an event of joint creativity was held in Israel for the first time: The event brought together lecturers, graduates, and students from Shenkar College, MBA students from Cornell Tech in NYC, and representatives from Sears Israel that are developing the field of social commerce. 

In one intensive week, participants took on the fast track of brainstorming, developing and designing innovative startups that attain to reinvent shopping. The highlight of the week was on Thursday, the final day, when participants presented their developments in front of an external panel that included industrial and design professionals.  

The week kicked off in a Sunday as participants were divided into 10 brainstorming teams, each team consisted of seven or eight participants. By the end of the day team were ready to present their ideas to leading angel investors in the industry and receive feedback.

Using the feedback they received, Shenkar designers worked day and night to reassess and reassemble the four leading projects. Each team included top designers from all of Shenkar’s departments, mentors, advisors and brilliant young entrepreneurs. 

On Thursday, the last day of the activity week, designers met with the Cornell Tech students and formed new teams for the four leading projects. Each team then consisted between 20 to 30 participants. 

The end result was fascinating. By the end of the day, four new startups were born. They were refined, packed and ready to give their best shot in the startup ecosystem. The dialog between team members was inspiring and stimulating, which lead the entire event to higher levels of excellence. 

The young American students were astound by the way design can give their work extra leverage, and designers learned how to build and process a theoretical idea into a polished investors deck. Together, teams managed to bring their wildest ideas into life. 

Orit Dolav, industrial designer and Shenkar graduate whose designs are sold in Apple stores around the world: "Working in a multidisciplinary team, comprised of participants from various backgrounds was an educative and enriching experience. The true magic started when the groups were mixed and we started working together. These days, having a good idea is not enough. A company’s strength bursts out as it successfully creates harmony between technology, design and business, and creates a product that offers a substantial experience that is also profitable."   

The event was a joint initiative of Tamar Many, director of the international studies at Shenkar and at the Department of Visual Communication; Professor Roni Michaeli from Cornell Tech and Moran Haviv, product VP at Sears Israel. Their vision was to create a new kind of dialog between industry, design, business, and technology, in an attempt to establish a unique multidisciplinary learning experience. 

At the end of this weekm Many said: "it was fascinating to see this type of project becomes a reality for the first time and to be a part of the massively creative energy vibe. For a number of days Shenkar College was turned into a live stage for an interdisciplinary productive dialog that triggered a new educational debate where we brake boundaries between disciples, language and countries."

The final projects:

PowderFul: Every day, millions of people carry heave grocery bags consisting a variety of bottles – shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap and more. Cargo containers transfer a heave weight packages of personal hygiene products from continent to continent.

The team investigated the products and surprisingly discovered that an average shampoo bottle contains only 20% materials and 80% water. Why transport water from place to place? Between continents? From the grocery store to home? The team concluded that it is possible to save an enormous amount of time and money, if the product would be reduced to powder alone.

Cricket: Cricket is a digital retail platform where consumers declare how much they are willing to pay for specific items. An app and a chrome extension enables users to name the price they are willing to pay for a specific item. The platform tracks the item in different retail websites, and once the item is offered for the asked price, the platform alerts the user.

The platform also benefits retailers that are able to learn about potential clients’ shopping habits and pricing preference. 

XOU: The day when our entire personal data will be collected digitally is approaching - from locations, eating habits, social connection and up to biological and physical body measurements. The question is not whether this is going to happen, but rather, how can we benefit from the data. 
XOU offers services for both consumers and shoe retailers. A special sock that helps to create a perfect 3D scan of the user’s foot and used with a matching technique between the shoe and the foot structure.

Super Detective: Super Detective offers a fresh new shopping experience that invites parents and their children to experience the grocery store space as a detective style board game. They play detectives on a mission in the shopping area loaded with interesting and intriguing information. 

The game encourages interaction and constant conversation between the parent and the child as well as supervised movement spectrum for the children close to the parent. As they enter the store, parents connect to their app and received the clues according to their natural movement inside the store. The child receives a wearable technology gown, designed like a detective’s coat, and a special magnifying glass that will be used to identify clues around the store.

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