Our client challenged us to think up an idea more powerful than a charity donation. Our answer, Project Courage, is a national initiative aimed at reducing stress and anxiety for children in the hospital.
This project doesn’t fit neatly into a box. It’s part charity, part innovation. It comes from the unique collaboration between our agency, American Honda Motor Company, Inc., and Children’s Health of Orange County. For Project Courage, we created the Honda Shogo, a small electric vehicle made just for kids in hospitals that allows them to drive themselves down the hallways to their treatments, turning what could be a stressful journey into a fun ride.
To bring the Honda Shogo to life required a collaboration between a team of engineers at American Honda Motor Company and a team of medical professionals at Children’s Health of Orange County (CHOC). Each feature was built around the specific needs of hospitalized children. The project was part of a national initiative from American Honda Motor Company to bring joy to hospitalized children and will be rolled out in participating hospitals across the country.
The electric vehicle has power controls, a go/stop mechanism on the steering wheel, and an adjustable speed of 1–5 miles per hour, which is controlled by a handler such as a nurse or caregiver. Shogo was built without doors so it would be safely and easily accessible for all patients, even those with mobility challenges. Other features include central seating with steering controls suitable and accessible for a child, and smooth and soft-to-the-touch surfacing that is easy to keep clean in a hospital setting.
The Honda Shogo also allows for continuous ventilator support and includes an IV pole holder for patients who require an IV drip. The vehicle has a push bar that offers caregivers the option to manually push the vehicle for patients who cannot drive themselves. Features to make the child’s experience more comfortable include a toy bucket in the front of the vehicle for items the child would like to bring along with them, cup holders, a center horn with different sound options, and a customizable license-plate slot to display the name of each rider.
American Honda Motor Company engineers worked hand in hand with the staff at CHOC to verify the feasibility of the concept. This included testing Shogo through a dedicated course inside the company's research and development facility. The course was designed to replicate a hospital hallway route with actual children and parents present, to ensure the electric ride-on vehicle would be safe to operate when delivered to the hospital. The collaboration with CHOC was critical in understanding how Shogo would be used in the real hospital environment, so the team could continue to make additional adjustments.
Medical professionals have seen dramatic results from the use of the Honda Shogo. Dr. Peter Yu says, “You can really see the impact that the Honda Shogo has made in a patient when you speak to them after a ride. They have more energy and excitement. It is a great tool to help engage patients and get them back to full health.” This is only the beginning for Project Courage. More vehicles are being rolled out across the country this year as Honda remains committed to improving the lives of young patients.