Making Petty Parking Problems Go Away


As a rule, I don’t write much on metacool about my work at IDEO.  It’s less that 120% of my IDEO stuff is swarming-ninjas-will-be-sent-out-to-slay-me-in-the-silence-of-the-moon confidential (which it is), and more that this blog is my personal sandbox.  It’s about everything I do at work, but it’s not about my work.  But today I make an exception, because I reckon the story is pretty cool.

Context: Parking in Palo Alto, where I work, is tough.  Not as tough as, say, downtown Tokyo, but certainly on that end of the bell curve.  The Palo Alto Police ticket mercilessly.  Even though I’m extremely careful, I’ve been known a ticket or two.  Come to think of it, given the taxes I kindly fork over each year, I should be gifted a diamond-encrusted personal parking spot by my local elected officials.  As well as a gold-leaf wrapped box of Macanudos.  Monthly, via FedEx.  But I digress.

Blogger and IDEO client Robert Davis tells a delightful story about the frustrating experience of parking solo near our Palo Alto headquarters, and then about the delightful experience of parking with the aid of the IDEO Experience Team.  Listen to my favorite bit of his post:

Here’s what: service is sometimes about giving the user the tools to
manage the situation themselves; sometimes it’s about making the
problem just go away. IDEO has figured out that when you’re bringing
people in to do creative thinking about a business problem, you’re
better off making their petty problems, like parking, just go away.

I won’t even pretend to be able to say it better.  Thanks, Robert!