Launched by the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, the Beyond the Shopping Bag challenge is an open contest for innovators to submit unique solutions to tackle retail bag waste and redesign the way goods are carried home.
The short list of finalists was announced by OpenIDEO on November 2, 2020. OpenIDEO is an innovation platform open to people from all corners of the world who collaboratively tackle some of the toughest global issues through launching challenges, programs, and other tailored experiences.
Twelve students from Dr. Tony McCaffrey’s 3D design classes in the summer and the fall participated in the Beyond the Shopping Bag challenge. They collectively designed the VersaCart, a durable and reusable mobile shopping cart.
VersaCart is designed with multiple and stackable wheeled bins that can be used for large or small shop-ping trips—either by individual shoppers or by delivery services. It also telescopes and folds for easy transport and storage. With all bins fully loaded, the VersaCart can easily hold a week's groceries for a medium-sized family. There is even a thermal insulated bin for perishable items.
“If we are fortunate to be selected for the top ten, most of the curriculum for my students would change to covering all aspects of making VersaCart into a viable business, including business model development, design, prototyping, talking with potential customers, sustainability, branding, and marketing,” explained Dr. McCaffrey. “It would be so exhilarating for me and my students to take on the development of an idea that could have such far-reaching consequences for retail and sustainability.”
The next steps to reach the top ten, in which the students would win prize money for building a proto-type of their design, require the students to create a video, provide written answers to more questions, and go through interviews with IDEO designers and retail experts at Target.