It all comes to an end.


  1. Champagne bottle popper
  2. Consumer-filled party popper
  3. Pets for rent
  4. Party popper with loop
  5. Artificial Xmas tree + New Year's Eve ball drop

Pugh Chart

For my Pugh chart I chose the Loop Popper as my baseline because it's the least radical innovation of the bunch (just adding a loop to the end of the string on a party popper). The chart represents my gut reactions for each product/criteria. After completion I was concerned by the obvious patterns, but decided that my gut reactions were accurate.

With the Pugh chart it was plain to me that I could narrow my choices down to 3: the Champagne Popper, the User-Fillable Popper, and the the Xmas Tree + Ball Drop. I went back to my market research to see if that could offer any other insight into which should win. The Champagne Popper and User-Fillable Popper each had 61% say "yes" they would buy the product, while only 41% said yes to the Xmas Tree + Ball Drop. The average amount respondents would pay for the Champagne Popper was around $20, $100 for the Xmas Tree + Ball Drop, and $3 for the User-Fillable Popper.

Based on all of this, I've decided to select the User-Fillable Popper.


Brainstormed ideas:

  • U-Pop

  • U-Popper

  • Fill-its

  • DIY Popper

  • Creative Poppin'

  • Custom Pops

  • Fill Your Own

  • Prep Your Own Pops

  • Mad Pops

  • Kannons

Mad Pops won by a landslide.

Here's my pitch:

Mad Pops Pitch.mp4

And here's a sketch:
Mad Pops Sketch


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Hello to you, you, you, you, and you (I assume only 5 people will ever read this blog)!

My top 10 super duper products from last week were:

  1. An artificial tree that converts into a New Year's Eve ball drop
  2. A scarf with a built-in drink bladder
  3. A champagne bottle that shoots confetti when you pop the cork
  4. Pet rental
  5. Inter-generational parties
  6. A gym segregated by experience level
  7. A temporary gym operating for those who make fitness-related New Year's resolutions
  8. A party popper that can be filled by the consumer
  9. A party popper triggered by "whipping" the string
  10. A party popper with a loop on the string for easier use


After conducting market research with a survey that asked the participant whether they would buy each product and, if yes, how much they would pay for it, I narrowed the list to the 5 top products (those with the most "yeses"). Data based upon 33 participants.

  1. Confetti champagne bottle - 61%
  2. Consumer-filled popper - 61%
  3. Pets for rent - 55%
  4. Party popper with loop - 41%
  5. Xmas tree/ball drop - 41%

Based upon feedback from the survey, I would a) make sure the scarf doesn't get too heavy when filled with liquid and b) make sure that the pet rental includes an option to adopt.

Next, I searched for similar products to find out if my new products are actually new.

1) Confetti Champagne Bottle
My research did not reveal any real champagne bottles that include both alcohol and confetti. One of my survey respondents mentioned that her night club gets $2000 for a bottle of champagne with sparklers, so it certainly seems believable that there is a demand for novelty champagne bottles. I decided to just compare current bottle-shaped popper novelties.

Champagne 2x2

Patent: Confetti Projector
A patent for a device that projects confetti with compressed air. The trigger mechanism is very different from a cork being popped, but the principles are the same.

2) Consumer-Filled Popper
I was unable to find any products that allow a user to fill their own popper, or even choose from a variety of items. A piñata is the closest parallel I can think of for the user-customizable aspect. There is surprisingly little variation/innovation in the piñata field, although there are "pull piñatas" which are opened by pulling a streamer rather than hitting with a stick.

Pinata 2x2

Patent: T-Shirt Cannon
I think a t-shirt cannon is a technical parallel to what I'm trying to make. This one uses cartridges rather than loose material, but it's the only one I could find in my Google search.

3) Pets For Rent
Pet rental services do exist in different places around the world. The most prominent in the U.S. seems to be Hannah, a service in which the consumer keeps the animal as if they owned it, but Hannah provides supplies and medical care for a monthly fee. A different pet rental service that tried to open in Boston was actually stopped by a new city ordinance banning pet rentals. I ultimately could only find enough info on two services: Hannah and Humane Society adoptions. Neither are the short-term rentals envisioned by my new product, but they are similar. Hannah is quite expensive and would cost thousands over the lifetime of a dog, while the Humane Society (or other shelters) offer far fewer services in exchange for a much lower cost.

Pet 2x2

Patent: Animal Registry System and Method
A centralized electronic system for storing animal registry information, to be called up automatically in case of any action involving the registered animal. I couldn't find anything directly related to rental, but this is close.

4) Party Popper With Loop
There are a few different activation mechanisms in use in poppers: the pull string, the twist, and the trigger. In large cannon devices, the twist is most common, but also very difficult to use. String pulls are by far the cheapest - 144 can be had for $14. Triggers are much more expensive than string pulls - about $1 per unit, and more for a reusable unit.

Loop Pull 2x2

Patent: Confetti Dispersion Device
A patent for a confetti dispersion device (read: party popper) triggered by a pull string.

5) Xmas Tree + Ball Drop
There are, unsurprisingly, no tree/ball drop combos. More interestingly, there don't seem to be any ball drop products on the market.

Tree 2x2

Patent: Christmas Tree with Lamps
I tried looking for "ball-droping" mechanisms, but I really didn't know what I was reading on any of the patents I found, so I went with a simpler item - a lighted, artificial tree. This patent seems to relate to a novel method of joining/assembling the sections of the tree.


Confetti champagne bottle
My biggest concern here is ensuring that the ejected material a) actually pops out of the bottle in a satisfying manner and b) doesn't detract from the champagne-drinking experience. Nobody wants confetti in their champagne (unless it is altered to be beneficial/tolerable in a drink). Based on wholesale prices of $2.20 for a glass bottle, I estimate the cost for a bottle to be roughly 50 cents. Add in the low cost of a popper and this should cost around 55 cents.

Consumer-filled popper
My biggest concern for this is ensuring that being filled by the consumer doesn't decrease the popper's quality. The popper would have to be made in such a way as to minimize the risk of operator error. The cost of this popper would depend heavily on size. I estimate a popper would cost 10 cents or less for units slightly larger than the classic popper based on pricing for those.

Pets for rent
My biggest concern is the animal rights angle. I know from my research that pet rental has been controversial, so this would have to be executed carefully and thoughtfully. This one is hard to price. At a minimum, the annual cost of ownership for a medium-sized dog is roughly $700. Including one-time costs, the first-year cost is close to $1500. If a dog is rented out 1000 hours in a year, it costs roughly $1.50 per hour in the first year.

Party popper with loop
My biggest concern is packaging - how does the loop fit with the popper shape to make it compact? A popper identical to the classic popper besides the loop should cost perhaps 5 cents based on pricing for those units.

Xmas tree + ball drop
My biggest concern is construction - how do you make a ball drop mechanism that can work on a "trunk" that has to be easily assembled and disassembled? This is a doozy to estimate costs on. Using the 10% cost estimate, a 7', pre-lit tree costs around $8 to manufacture. Using the same method, a disco ball (similar to what might be used) costs around $2. Including complications and mechanics, I would estimate the costs to be $15 for this tree + ball drop.




Hello, loyal followers!

As you'll surely remember from my previous posts, my theme is New Year's Eve (NYE) and my problem statements are:

Kevin needs a way to work out without being bothered by these new gym members (at least until they quit or learn the ropes) because people make resolutions to lose weight and then go to the gym for the first time.


Julia needs a way not feel lonely when she can't spend New Year's Eve with friends and family.

As I thought of archetypal products for each of these problem statements, I realized that they were almost completely unrelated to winter. For exercise I thought mostly of gym equipment, and for loneliness I could barely even think of an archetypal product (ice cream? TV? stuffed animals?). Thus, I cautiously stepped back and decided to try an product related to my theme in general. The product most commonly associated with New Year's Eve seems to be the party popper (based both on my personal experience and research from previous weeks), so I went forward with that.



Fortune Popper


Streamer Shell


Whip Popper


Jumbo Popper


Loop Pull Popper


Pinch Popper


Fill Your Own Popper


Next, for my table-based method, I used TILMAG.


The two best ideas I came up with were:

Squeeze Popper

Whistle Popper


Contrary to what one of my commenters said, I felt that the ideas produced by my brainstorming session last week were fairly feasible. However, some were obviously better.

For NYE loneliness:
- Social network for singles on NYE
- Public ball pit
- Blind date matching/speed dating event
- Animal rentals
- Intergenerational socials

For dealing with new gym members:
- Give headphones to experienced members
- Free personal trainer if they stay with gym through June
- Separate pods for each person to work out in
- Temporary gym in January for new people
- Separate rooms for new and experienced exercisers.

TOP 10

After looking back at all the ideas I've collected over the past weeks, this is the list of the top 10: the best of the best, creme de la creme, cream of the crop, most spectacular ideas.

Xmas Tree and Ball Drop.png

The Ball Drop Tree (week 2)
Feasible: Yes
Usable: Yes
Novel: Yes

Thumbnail image for Camelbak Scarf.png

Camelbak Scarf (week 2)
Feasible: Yes
Usable: Yes
Novel: Sort-of

Thumbnail image for Confetti Champagne.png

Champagne Popper (week 2)
Feasible: Maybe
Usable: Yes
Novel: Sort-of

Animal Rental

Animal Rental (week 4, problem = NYE loneliness)
Feasible: Yes
Usable: Yes
Novel: Sort-of

Intergenerational Mixer

Inter-generational Mixer (week 4, problem = NYE loneliness)
Feasible: Yes
Usable: Yes
Novel: No

Separate Gym Rooms

Separate Gym Rooms Based On Experience (week 4, problem = new gym members)
Feasible: Yes
Usable: Maybe
Novel: Maybe

Temporary Gym

Temporary Gyms for Resolutions (week 4, problem = new gym members)
Feasible: Maybe
Usable: Maybe
Novel: Yes

Thumbnail image for Fill Your Own Popper

Fill Your Own Popper (week 5)
Feasible: Maybe
Usable: Yes
Novel: Sort-of

Thumbnail image for Whip Popper

WhiPopper (week 5)
Feasible: Maybe
Usable: Yes
Novel: Sort-of

Thumbnail image for Loop Pull Popper

Easy-Pull Popper (week 5)
Feasible: Yes
Usable: Yes
Novel: Sort-of



... last week on The Real Creativity Students of Hennepin County...

I arrived at two problem statements after three interviews and an online survey:

Kevin needs a way to work out without being bothered by these new gym members (at least until they quit or learn the ropes) because people make resolutions to lose weight and then go to the gym for the first time,

Wunmi needs a way to experience the excitement of the ball drop closer to home because she thinks it would be really fun but Times Square is too far away.

And now, the continuation.

I was worried about my problem statements. They seemed specific, obscure, and not likely to be easily solved by a product. So, I revisited my research. After scouring my online survey for new problems, I found a trend that many people's worst experience with New Year's Eve was being alone. Perhaps we could address that problem? I decided to add it to the mix.


My session was a bit of a struggle. I began work to recruit participants for my session on Thursday, and had a sufficient lineup for a Sunday session. Then, one by one, as I went to their doors, they gave various excuses as to how they could not participate. I was left with two. I was able to get two more, but then one of them didn't show up. So, when my session began I had three people. They all forgot to come with solutions to the problems I'd sent them.

But let's back up. To prepare for this session, I purchases a pack of jumbo Post-It notes and grabbed some Sharpies, air freshener, and a camera, and found a study lounge. I arranged the furniture for optimal brainstorming (keeping in mind that one of my participants is wheelchair-bound), laid out the pads and markers, sprayed some Cashmere Woods Glade (seriously the best scent), and turned on some music. I used the smells and music to try and create as fun and interesting an environment as possible. I also dressed in bright colors and wore an old-school hat to keep things funky.

Brainstorming Table

Once my three participants showed up we began with some warm ups. We played the classic Zip Zap Zop to start and then moved on to a new one, The Scream. In The Scream everybody puts their head down, and on the count of three looks either to their left or right or straight ahead. If you make eye contact with someone else in the circle, you scream. When playing with a lot of people, those who made eye contact would be eliminated, however, with only 4 we just kept going. To finish off, I introduced a new warm up I'd invented, called Black & White. Two people step forward, and one of them begins by saying a word. This begins a volley of opposites: each person tries to say and opposite of what the other just said, without repeating words. An example of a volley: red, green, dead, alive, bored, nail, screw, and so forth. The idea is to force people to think differently than what has already been said and avoid obvious associations. To keep the game going, anybody in the circle can "tap out" one of the speakers and replace them if they have a good response.

After under 10 minutes of warm-ups, I explained the guidelines for brainstorming and brought out some dark chocolate.


Then, we began. I started with a quick, five-minute session on, "How might we improve New Year's Eve?" to get the juices going.

Brainstorming candid

Next, we started to address the real issues. We drafted a janitor to join in. The schedule went like this:

15 min = How might we give people who don't have anyone to be with on New Year's Eve a way to not feel lonely?
5 min = opposite/worst ideas

20 min = How might we find a way so that regular gym members don't have to deal with all the new people who make New Year's resolutions to work out?

5 min = How might we give people a way to experience the ball drop without having to travel to New York City?
5 min = different perspective (choose your favorite TV/movie character)

I did the ball drop session just to have some back up in case the first two didn't yield good results.

For the last five minutes or so I actually had 5 other people (another person showed up 53 minutes late).

5 Brainstormers


Idea Wall

We ended up with a rate of about .6 ideas per person per minute. We spent about 5 minutes doing a silent sort, much like in class. I got permission to post the sketches without giving credit to the artists. Categories that emerged:

Being Alone: parties/events, human substitutes, & self-reflection
New Gym Members: incentives, shunning/temptation, and separation

I was ultimately disappointed with the results and feel that I needed to give more guidance or better prompts. Perhaps if I'd phrased the "how might we" statements more concisely and broadly, the participants would have made more creative ideas. Nonetheless, here are my top 10:

Top five for being alone:

NYE Social Network

NYE Ball Pit

NYE Speed Dating

NYE Animal Rentals

NYE Inter-Generational Mixer

Top five for new gym members:

NYE Headphones

NYE Personal Trainer

NYE Workout Pods

NYE Popup Gym

NYE Separate Workout Rooms



The topic of New Year's Eve (NYE) poses some challenges for research in early November. It is not yet New Year's Eve, people are not thinking about New Year's Eve, and the weather is not very similar to that on New Year's Eve. However, I valiantly pushed forward to complete this assignment.


Because I realized that my ability to "observe" and "experience" would be limited, I tried to "ask" a little more. I created a brief Google form survey about NYE and posted the link on Facebook. The results were interesting and heart-warming, even if they were a bit dull from a research standpoint. I asked for best and worst NYE memories and well as an idea of a perfect NYE, in addition to what traditions they've partaken in. Answers had a wide range, but the trend was that NYE is about spending time with friends and family, and most memories centered on interactions with other people. Most answered the questions well, but didn't yield many unique insights into challenges facing NYE participants. Without a doubt, I was not asking the right questions. In the future, I would try to ask questions that are designed to reveal challenges the respondents have faced. Perhaps "What is the most frustrating thing about NYE?" or "Explain your process of preparing for NYE."

Sample responses:
"My favorite New Year's Eve memory is losing my virginity."

"I shot myself in the face with a party popper when I was very young, and it scared me half to death. I didn't go near a party popper for years."

"[My favorite memory is] the TV going out five seconds before the ball dropped. It was amusing and brought the group together."

The full results are found here. New Year's Eve (Responses).pdf

New Year's Survey Stats


  • Nearly everybody has celebrated NYE at some point

  • I'm rather bad at designing surveys


I, of course, also conducted the three required interviews. I recorded them on video to free myself from having to take notes.

Andy Groban Andy: senior student, Community Advisor Andy lives in the U.S. with his immediate family, but the rest of his family is in Egypt. NYE has always been an intensely familial holiday for him. His family always shared memories and challenges from the past year as they waited for midnight, and his parents never let him go to parties with friends.

Wunmi Wunmi: sophomore student, someone I'd never talked to before Wunmi is from Ghana, and never celebrated NYE as a child. In the U.S., she has stayed up to watch the ball drop, but she considers the most of the holiday to be "awkward" because she doesn't have a lot of people to celebrate with and she's worried about getting home after midnight. She would like there to be local ball drops to make it easier to attend.

Kevin GerberKevin: sophomore student, neighbor Kevin feels that holidays are mostly overrated. However, he has celebrated NYE and became rather intoxicated last year. He thinks resolutions are stupid and gets frustrated when people who resolved to lose weight flood the gym and don't use proper etiquette.

From this research I arrived at the following problem statements:

Kevin needs a way to work out without being bothered by these new gym members (at least until they quit or learn the ropes) because people make resolutions to lose weight and then go to the gym for the first time,

Wunmi needs a way to experience the excitement of the ball drop closer to home because she thinks it would be really fun but Times Square is too far away.



For this assignment we were to make a mind map of winter and then ideate 10 fun and silly products based on the associations we made.


We must play a game!


I played a game of Scattergories in order to put my brain in "fun" mode and help stimulate creativity.

An intense game

After the game I was ready to do some mind mapping. I started in my notebook to get my raw ideas down. I kept pushing myself to come up with ideas that hadn't been shared in class, but was struggling to do so.

Winter Map - Sketchbook.jpeg

Unsatisfied with my results, I changed and refined my categories for a large-scale map on larger paper. The resulting categories were: New Year ('s Eve), Wool Clothing, Snow Transportation, Christmas Trees, and Illnesses. I felt that these gave a diversity of ideas while being neither too broad, specific, nor divergent.

Winter Mind Map.jpeg

From this map I selected three categories to focus on: New Year's Eve, Scarves, and Christmas Trees. I found myself instantly ideating products that crossed between and out from these categories. I made a mind map of just these categories to solidify the connections before making my product sketches.

Sub theme map.jpeg

Finally, I came up with 10 silly ideas for products:

Scarf Bling.png

Confetti Champagne.png

Knit Wrapping Paper.png

Kleenex Noise Maker.png

Tinsel Popper.png

Cut Your Own Scarf.png

Camelbak Scarf.png


Gift Wrap Gun.png

Xmas Tree and Ball Drop.png

Two Days

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After spending two days in my back pocket, my idea notebook is quite warped...




I'm really glad that I decided to come home this weekend, because this would have been difficult to do in the dorms!

My final product is something like an apple empanada. A cinnamon cookie folded over an apple slice with cinnamon and brown sugar inside. I won't claim that these are radically innovative, but at the time I felt that folding the cookie and using a large piece of fruit - rather than small pieces mixed in - was innovative. Some research on the Internet proved me wrong. It's been done before. Or, at least making a cookie with an apple slice inside has been done before. Nonetheless, they do taste good. So... novel = maybe, valuable = yes, feasible = yes. Cookie1.jpg The dough recipe is taken from a cookbook, although I modified it slightly and added Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

  • 1c flour
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 1/2c Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • 1/4c butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3T milk
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1/4t baking powder
  • 1/4t salt

+ 1 apple, sliced into 1/2 rings
+ cinnamon and brown sugar, sprinkled inside.

Now, I had initially tried to be much more creative with my recipe. I started thinking of curry cookies, but quickly found that curry is not a completely unique cookie flavor on its own. So, I turned to BBQ, I thought that the smokey flavor could bring a lot to cookie flavor, so I quickly found some smoked paprika, BBQ seasoning, golden raisins, and hickory syrup.

My first attempt looked like this:


And they eventually congealed into a viscous mass in the middle that was reminiscent of a sea sponge.

Next I used more flour, added baking soda, and removed the syrup (they weren't as dark as they look in this photo):


For my final entry in the BBQ cookie saga, I added more flour, less sugar, less butter, and added an egg. The result looked like a scone:


All of these BBQ cookies had a distinctly smokey flavor, but none were satisfying. I gave in and went back to the drawing board. I wondered what how a cookie with a full slice of apple would be. I made a few test runs:

And then the winning ideas came together for the aforementioned recipe1

A Test of the System

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In which we make sure the blog works.

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Recent Assets

  • Mad Pops Sketch
  • Pugh Chart
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