When it came time to redesign the colorful bikes scattered about Google's massive Mountain View, Calif., campus, the company knew exactly who to turn to for next generation of its GBikes: Googlers themselves.
Last fall, the company launched a competition among employees to replace the 2-year-old fleet of bikes available to workers at the Googleplex to pedal from one building to another. The idea was to come up with a user-friendly, low-maintenance bike.
"We've got an entrepreneurial and innovative culture," said Brendon Harrington, Google's transportation operations manager. "We said, 'You tell us what you think is a cool design.'"
The company listed four design criteria. The bike had to be easy to produce. It needed to be affordable. The bike had to be both comfortable and secure. And, in a nod to its culture, the bike had to be Googley, using novel components, structure, and appearance.… Read more