Assignment 7

Idea Selection and Pitch

For the selection process, I created a Pugh chart with the categories:

Market opportunities
Unique/competitive advantage
Personal Interest

I chose the sled backed jacket as the benchmark idea since it is relatively middle of the road in relation to the other 4 ideas. From my previous research, I chose to nix the seminar and incentive ideas since they are fairly well established in many areas and would only need some tweaks and backing to be implemented better in our area. I also added a past idea since I started out two short. This was ShinSkis (ski-like attachments for your shins. Similar to the market of the sled backed jacket, this seemed like an applicable addition since it can be related to the surveys I conducted.


From the pugh, the ShinSkis seemed to be the most promising concept. This is because it is a more original concept for the same sort of market as the Slacket, and the other two ideas would need heaps more effort to make them stand out and fit into the niches they would belong in. So, decidedly, the ShinSkis were the idea to go ahead with.


From a patent and google search, the only similar idea was a fairly poorly thought out version of skis that attach to the shins and require a hand-held component, called Shin Skis (what a coincidence!). This was present in the form of what was being called a patent, but only linked to an image. After additional searching, I was unable to find this patent.

Since the name Shin Skis was used by the mysterious patent picture, a new name seemed appropriate. For this process I utilized an online tool for mashing words together. This generated candidates, from shin and skis as seeds, such as Shininki, Shinhiki, Shinki, Skihiin, Shinskiin. None of these were all that great. I wanted to go with Shinskiis based on these, but that name already had another association. I decided to try dropping the second s to give an endearing sort of sound that harkens the straight combination of ShinSkis: Shinkiis


The name might not be perfect, but it grew on me.

Elevator Pitch


Assignment 6


For my polling, I created a simple survey to get feedback from college-aged and active individuals. I utilized questions similar to those suggested in class, such as:

Would you use this?
Do you know someone who would use this? Explain.
Could you see yourself buying this?
If so, how much would you pay for this?

I sent my survey out to 32 people. Unfortunately, I only got 12 responses. These produced the following data for the 10 ideas:


From this, and the written feedback, I determined the 5 most potentially marketable ideas. These were:



Winter biking safety and informational seminars/campaign:
Bicycle incentive. This evolved from the biking for the poor idea based on feedback:



Research resulted in some insightful discoveries:


This revealed that there aren't "low" cost options for a completely enclosed unit. There are some low cost shielding options to protect from wind, but there is room for a relatively affordable system designed to be easily outfitted for winter, but also available for summer use.


This showed that there is available a similar product for ~$15. Otherwise, there isn't available products that are terribly similar that are on the market and in the price range of someone who isn't making an investment.


This showed that there are quite a few different resources available around the twin cities, but their exposure is lacking. No one that took the survey was aware any of them existed, but they thought it would be a good thing to have.


This showed that there are some interesting programs already established elsewhere that could be applied in Minnesota. They could be something specific for a winter program, too.


This revealed that there is a potential gap in the market for a Razor-Scooter-level consumer product. Touring unicycles (with handlebars) cost several hundred dollars.

I am going to have to bite the bullet on this one. I have the information I need to make a decision on what to go forward with, but I can't seem to not (double negative) spend copious amounts of time on each section of this (apparently I enjoy searching these products a little too much). What is here is here, some of the gaps will be included in the next entry.

Assignment 5



To explore a structural approach to creativity, I first explored how people might SCAMPER about in the winter. Specific to winter biking, what better archetype than the bicycle? The bicycle applies, obviously, to either of my problem statements:

Mike (the anti-enthusiast) needs a way to feel confident in biking in the winter because he fears being cold and the potential dangers.
Guy (the guy behind the counter at VB&T) needs a way to keep aware of his surroundings because he is forced to bike close to traffic in unsafe conditions.

The 7 scamper prompts are: substitute, combine, adapt, magnify/minify, put to other use, eliminate, reverse/rearrange.

Following some of the questions in the lecture slides, I took time to think of several ideas for each prompt.


One idea of interest from substitute was:


Which relates to the "Can I substitute one part for another?" question from the slides.


One idea of interest from combine was:


Which relates to the "Can I combine or merge with other objects?" question from the slides.


One idea of interest from adapt was:


Which relates to the "What could I copy, borrow, or steal?" question from the slides.


One idea of interest from magnify/minify was:


Which relates to the "Can it do more things?" question from the slides.

put to other use

One idea of interest from put to other use was:


Which relates to the "Can it be used by people other than those it was originally intedned for?" question from the slides.


One idea of interest from eliminate was:


Which relates to the "How can I simplify it?" question from the slides.


One idea of interest from reverse/rearrange was:


Which relates to the "What other arrangements might be better?" question from the slides.

Table-based tool

I decided to use a TILMAG matrix for my table-based tool. Again, the product I chose was the bicycle:

TILMAG matrix.jpg

Ideas from this exercise included:

From trampoline/shoe, a spring loaded pedal to return energy from the downstroke and promote a consistent frequency. Also could provide suspension when standing on pedals
spring pedal.jpg
From swivel chair/snuggy, a form following shielding to block wind from the rider's body and protect the bike from snowfall when not in use
From seeing skis/rollerblades, a combination of a rollerblade and ski that can traverse diverse terrane

Blue sky ideas

While a couple highly rated ideas from the blue sky brainstorming session seemed silly, most were fairly practical. I had thought up more reasonable ideas for some sillier ones in the previous post.

These included:

Night vision/car seeing goggles -> A HUD display for the bicyclist that senses nearby cars/traffic.

Car bike disguise -> An enclosed bike system optimally designed for winter.

Glowing bike -> Custom LED system to trick out the bike, light up the snow around it (with color?), and increase visibility.

Communal bike ride -> Multi-person bike system for "bikepooling".

And lastly

Helmet siren -> Proximity alert system:


Top 10

Here are my top 10 picks for ideas that might have potential. There were others as well, so if some don't work out, I have other options.

A spring loaded pedal to return energy from the downstroke and promote a consistent frequency. Also could provide suspension when standing on pedals:
spring pedal.jpg

A new toy for mastering balance in a new way. Like a skateboard with handles is a scooter, a unicycle with handles is a ScootiCycle:


An enclosed bike-like vehicle optimized for the winter:
This could be a system where spinning class bikes could be hooked up to recharge touring electric bikes for the elderly, physically impaired, or the lazy:
The PedalBus; a community transportation system with a driver that pulls up to bus stops. People with bus passes can ride just like the regular bus. Pedals are in each seat that could run a flywheel or other system to store energy and control its release:

A combination of a rollerblade and ski that can traverse diverse terrane:


Sled-backed jacket for impromptu or planned sledding:
Winter biking safety and informational seminars/campaign:


Sponsors to donate to a charity when you check in after biking to campus:


Getting paid for services such as road/bike-lane/sidewalk salting:


Assignment 4


The two problem statements I chose to convert were:

Mike (the anti-enthusiast) needs a way to feel confident in biking in the winter because he fears being cold and the potential dangers.
This became:
How might we make non-winter cyclists more inclined to bicycling in the winter?
I gave some explanation behind this to my participants, saying that some common issues are that they think they will be too cold, that it will be dangerous, and, for the most part, they just don't try it and assume it is best to use other modes of travel.

Guy (the guy behind the counter at VB&T) needs a way to keep aware of his surroundings because he is forced to bike close to traffic in unsafe conditions.
This became:
How might we make winter cyclists safer or feel safer.
This came with an explanation that winter bicyclists have safety concerns such as running over ice and having excess snow on the sides of the streets that can force them to have to ride closer to the car lanes.

As for the group of people...I had originally asked 7 people (actually 9, but two were out of country) 6 days in advance. After hearing back that some were busy and others could help me out, all but two ended up flaking. While I frantically asked around for others, and not having access to the people I know from class, I ended up with two friends and a monkey to take part in my brainstorming:

David, me, Lazy Monkey, and Catie Jo:

While few in numbers, I was assured by my stormers that they were likely crazy enough for at least 4 people (apparently they were under the assumption that crazy was all you needed for brainstorming).
My participants (but for the lazy monkey) had come prepared with a few ideas based on the HMWs, as I had asked them to. Before beginning the brainstorming, I initiated a few of the warmup games. These included zip zap zop, and the samurai sword game. I chose those two mostly because it seemed funny to play with only 3 people (monkey ended up acting like a total jerk and didn't even participate in these). I also had them come up with some bad ideas for either idea, some favorites were:

For reflectivity.
cat eyes.jpg

Inebriation motivation.

Biking is faster than running.

Done left handed: "You have to bike eventually!"

Fear is a powerful motivator.

If you don't like to bike, try a unicycle! (Half the wheels, half the work?)

As for creating an inspirational warmup, I had them draw sketches of an idea in 10 seconds, and had the other person come up with the label without an explanation. A few of these included:




Unfortunately, lazy monkey just sat around and twiddled his thumbs for these portions.

Now, finally, the actual brainstorming. Throughout the two sessions, I used various methods from class. I gave out lists of words, ideas for personas to take on, dark chocolate, and shouted the amount of time left as inspiration (the last one may not have been from class...). Each session was timed at 20 minutes. The first session was for How might we make winter cyclists safer or feel safer. For this session ended up with an IPM of 0.9. This showed that though very few people were involved, the rate at which ideas were generated was pretty top notch!

First round (some ideas are not included in the picture):
Round 1.jpg

We ended up sorting these into categories that went along the lines of: modifying the bicycle, communal effort, infrastructure/control beyond self and the bike, wearable accessories, wireless tracking/alert technologies. The top 5 from this were:

From David, this could also be adapted as any type of alert system or short range tracking:
bikle glass2.jpg

From me, this is something that can increase visibility and warmth/wind displacement:

From Catie Jo, this could be implemented as a customizable LED system or just glowing tape:

From David, this could be implemented as a multi-person bike that might pull up to bus stops to offer rides to those who are waiting:
peddle pub2.jpg

From Catie Jo, this could be a proximity alert system on cars or bikes:

The second session was for How might we make non-winter cyclists more inclined to bicycling in the winter? This session ended up with an IPM of 0.925. Again, top notch!

Second round:
Round 2.jpg

These were sorted into: Propaganda/campaign, Financial or other incentives, Added play value, communal cooperation/programs, Increased comfort. The top 5 were:

From david

From me

From Catie Jo

From Catie Jo

From me

Overall, some decent storming was accomplished! I may trick more people into further storming at a later date to generate additional ideas (and I will probably not ask lazy monkey back).

Assignment 3


Winter biking, my sub-theme, has two main components that make it unique to other seasons: It's typically cold, and there is usually snow and/or ice. It was difficult to find the latter, but there was a fair amount of cold to work with for my research.

First, as consistent with the chronology of the assignment instructions, I started with the ask portion of the assignment. I ended up talking to two people I would consider experts, one person who had some experience on the subject, and one person who was...less than an advocate.
I asked each a variety of broad questions such as: How do you prepare your bike? How do you prepare yourself? What experiences have you had? What experience do you have with winter traffic? Is there anything you can think of that might or might have improve your experience? ...etc. My notes ended up being frantic and scattered, but useful:


In the future, I would probably ask if recording audio would be alright with the interviewees.

Kevin (from the shop) and a worker at Varsity Bike & Transit (VB&T) were my experts. Kevin had been consistently biking season-round for more than 20 years, and the VB&T worker had used a bicycle as his only source of transportation for several years. A worker in Erick's was my third interviewee who had done some winter biking in the past, but has not done it regularly. He was, however, not against winter cycling. He suggested that people should not be scared to try it as long as they are properly prepared. My anti-expert can be summed up with the quote "I'M NOT GOING TO BIKE IN THE WINTER!" This was a friend of mine that I knew would bike in the warm seasons but not in the winter.

Some commonalities in these conversations stressed cold and dressing properly as a major concern. It wasn't simply a matter of keeping warm by bundling up, but wearing proper layers. Generally, it was suggested that one should have a bass layer that will pull moisture from the body, an insulating layer that will keep heat in, and an outer layer that will resist wind and moisture. Breathability was cited as an issue. Since you are being active in the cold, having stuffy clothing would make you uncomfortable and potentially overheated under your core layers. Ideally, it seemed to be consensus that clothing that was able to breath but resisted wind from the outside would be ideal.
An emphasis on the limbs, digits, and face being properly protected from the cold was also evident.

While it was generally agreed that consistent general maintenance of a bicycle is the best way to "winterize" a bicycle, there were a couple different opinions on the best options for tires. One option was to buy (relatively spendy) studded tires, which included metal studs in the knobs of the tire. The drawback to this was the cost and the increased resistance when cycling on normal terrain/pavement. Another option was to have knobby tires that were slightly deflated to increase contact area and traction. This had the downside of decreased efficiency as well. The third option mentioned was to use treaded, non-knobby tires. It was suggested that this would allow you to cut through slush and snow to maintain contact with pavement. The downside to this would be riding on ice.
None of the interviewees thought much of the bicycles made specifically for winter biking (the fat-tire bikes). These were said not to be worth the extra work required, and that they were mostly for off-road recreation purposes, rather than practical transportation.

Being visible and avoiding traffic was a concern across the board as well. More so than being able to see, lights were deemed necessary to increase the biker's visibility to others, as the winter season has an increased duration of darkness. Grievances were apparent regarding the lack of proper bicycle lane maintenance. It was communicated that a winter cyclist will typically have to ride towards the center of the car lane due either to cars being parked away from the curb, due to remnant piles of snow from plows, or because only the car lanes being properly plowed. One of my experts said he always is aware of his surroundings and has a plan of escape if things start to go wrong on the road.

My non-enthusiast was mostly concerned with being cold and a fear of slipping. He said he had once or twice gone for groceries on his bike in the winter complained that the experience was cold and difficult for the slickness of shoveled sidewalks and the substantial increase of resistance when biking on snowy grass. The bad experiences may have contributed to his distaste for the motorless mode of movement.

One interesting bit of information I gathered was that if you are using normal lubricants (as many do, rather than buying and applying cold-weather product), it is wise to bring your bike in periodically in order to allow the lubricant to fully thaw.

Experience was the next stage of my investigatory journey. While the snow and ice were not readily available to me, or a bicycle for that matter, I was able to do the next closest thing. I ended up bundling myself up and hitting the road on my razor scooter. This was cold at first, but I quickly felt uncomfortably warm under my scarf, jacket, sweatshirt, and t-shirt, while still having cold fingers under my gloves and a chilled face. I was not prepared quite properly for the temperature and amount of work I was doing. it would have been nice to have my face protected from the wind, warmer hands, and a more regulated system for my torso. When I was done with my excursion, I immediately tore off my scarf, opened my jacket, and unzipped my sweatshirt as I stepped inside to warmth to save my digits. My warmth accessories and scooter are shown below:


Finally, and out of order to the assignment instructions, I did some observing. I spent time on the corner of 15th and 4th, periodically stepping into the McDonald's for warmth. Mostly I observed people who seemed ill prepared, but maybe they knew something I didn't? Or perhaps they just had relatively short rides. Many did not have anything covering their ears, had thin gloves not dissimilar from what I was wearing when my fingers got cold on my scooter, and a winter jacket. I didn't see anyone that seemed terribly professional looking in regards to sporty biking gear, and most did not have helmets. I suspect more helmets might come out when the snow actually falls.

A couple problems I could pull from this are:
Mike (the anti-enthusiast) needs a way to feel confident in biking in the winter because he fears being cold and the potential dangers. This comes from his reasoning behind not wanting to take part in the activity.
Guy (the guy behind the counter at VB&T) needs a way to keep aware of his surroundings because he is forced to bike close to traffic in unsafe conditions. This comes from his description of needing to be on his toes and have ready an escape plan at all times.
Kevin (from the shop) needs less expensive accessories because he feels that he would buy things like studded tires and fancy accessories if he had the extra money.

Assignment 2


To get my playful and creative juices flowing, I ended up making an impromptu song while making bean-dip in the kitchen after a melody entered my head. The entire process took around 20 minutes from start to finish and involved clinking bowls, plates, cups, and other dish-ware that was around me in the kitchen. I took out my laptop and started recording around a simple melody and added some effects to make things more interesting. It is complete nonsense:
Chips (and stuff like that)I.m4a

I then went to work on a mind map in my notebook. It honestly didn't end up terribly in-depth or divergent, but it influenced some ideas I ended up with for the the 10 sketches portion of the assignment.


The three sub-themes I chose from this were winter transportation (mostly non-motorized options/things useful for students), christmas trees (something new or a multiuse version), and stuck cars (ways to get unstuck or prevent getting stuck, etc.).

The 10 ideas were:

Disco Tree


Plow Boots


Plow Bike


Wrapping Paper Jacket


Camo Snow Jacket


Shovel Gloves


Warm Snowman


Hand Turkey Gloves


Cool (not hip) Snowman Jacket (keeps snowman cold)

Snowcano Kit (like science experiment)



This ended up being more of an educational experimentation exercise than a tastiest cookie creation exercise...but I can now share a few lessons that may benefit the public at large! I thought the result was creative for the process it took to get to the end result, and the fact that I have never had a cookie with popcorn and coffee in it (tasty!).

The end result here was the Salty Mocha Popcorn Pop:

...But I first had to get through this:

My original vision was to find a way to create a moldable, solidifying structure using some mix of ingredients...and a blowtorch. The blowtorch was partially motivated by my lack of proper oven access. I started with a basic no-bake cookie recipe of 1 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, 1.5 cup oats, 0.5 teaspoon vanilla, and melted (via blowtorch) chocolate chips to desired consistency. I thought about using the peanut butter I had, as suggested by the recipe, but it seemed like a bad idea if I wanted solidifying structure since it was natural peanut butter and contained lots of oil.

From there, I did some experimentation with ingredients. I thought pretzel sticks would work well for a skeleton with the sticky batter I had made. This lead me to see if I could build up a human form. Unfortunately, the batter was too soft while it was sticky enough to adhere to the pretzels. So, naturally, I tried to torch the batter to see if I could "bake" it to solidification...It mostly got burnt and melted:

The apparatus shown was built as a custom piece for this project.

Since that seemed to flop, and since I was already using the torch, I decided it would be neat if I could pop popcorn in the batter to get that explosive flavor right in the batter (I was also thinking it would make for a good battle scene if I was successful with the human form making)...this lead to more fire and a very disappointing "popping" of the kernels:

More torch experimentation with adding oil and breadcrumbs ensued, with less than successful results (yes, I was a little torch-happy) As it was getting late, coffee sounded pretty desirable. So, why not, coffee was now an ingredient. From the popcorn and the pretzels and the lack of bacon fat that may have been tasty with the sage, I came up with what I found to be a satisfying end product. The Salty Mocha Popcorn Pop was born from finding that mixing the popped popcorn in the batter was a pretty great texture, using the pretzel sticks as a handle, and adding coffee (which is not bacon, but still seems to make everything better...when you are tired enough).

As a final attempt at finding an actually useful use for the torch, I thought I could try and form more spherical pop tops...more burning and melting:
photo (2).jpg

Final recipe:
1 cup sugar, pinch of salt, 1.5 cup oats, 0.5 teaspoon vanilla, melted (probably not via blowtorch) dark chocolate chips to desired consistency (half cup maybe), coffee grounds (amount varies with level of tiredness), pretzel sticks, popcorn, and love...or other, more disappointed in torch performance emotions.

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Recent Comments

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