Assignment 7

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IDEA SELECTION AND PITCH

PUGH CHART
In order to analyze my final five product ideas, and see which concepts have the most promise going forward, I created a Pugh chart. The following represents what I came up with, based on the categories of Novelty, Feasibility, Marketability, Clear Need and Competitive Advantages, all compared to the "Extend-a-Fender" idea as the benchmark:

pugh chart.png

From a quick glance at this chart, it seems like the winter product idea with the most promise that I came up with was the "Turn Signal Fender". Based on what I had already come up with in previous blog posts, I would agree with this assessment, as I was very surprised to see that no such product exists on the market today.

FINAL PRODUCT IDEA, NAME, AND SKETCH

Thinking of a clever and catchy product name just might be the hardest part of this process so far. For the purposes of this elevator pitch, I have decided to go with the name "Sender: the signaling bike fender". This name is easy to say, familiar sounding, rhymes with "fender", and will be easy to remember. The hopes are that this name reminds consumers of its two main useful functions; a fender for stopping spray debris, and a turn signal/ bike light combo for safety. Also, I feel like Sender could have an interesting logotype and branding.

The following graphics represent the final sketches I have come up with for this idea:

sender_500px.jpg

sender_signals_500px.jpg

ELEVATOR PITCH
For my elevator pitch, I wanted to remember to just be real, and tell the potential audience what the key features and advantages of my product idea are, in a casual non-rehearsed way. Here is a quick pitch of my product:

sender_small.wmv
sender_small.mp4

Assignment 6

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MARKETABLE

In order to show if any of my 10 best product ideas in the area of winter travel are novel, marketable, and/or feasible, I started with a simple survey to judge the interest of consumers. I sent out a short questionnaire with a rough sketch of my idea along with a brief description, followed by questions about people's interest in buying that idea. I got about 10 responses per idea, which I thought was pretty good given the short timeframe. Here are the results in graph form:

SURVEY RESULTS

Based on the survey question: Would you buy this product if a functional version were available today?, I analyzed the results of the 10 ideas I put forth and eliminated the 5 that had the lowest percent of interest. Here were the results for each corresponding idea in terms of percentage of people who would buy the product:

80% - Extend-a-fender
67% - Fan Fender
80% - Turn Signal Fender
50% - Radio Hood
60% - Turn Signal Jacket
70% - Cinch socks
22% - Arm Strap Turn Signal
73% - Magnetic glove-sleeve Attachment
43% - Holiday Bike Treads
33% - Shape Cutting Snowshoe

One of the things I found most interesting from these results was that the lowest score I had was actually the idea that I thought would be the best product. I feel that the results generally leaned towards the ideas with the best drawings, however the Holiday Bike Treads was probably the best presentation-wise and was the 3rd lowest score. Going forward I selected the top 5 ideas from this list as follows:

1. Extend-a-Fender
2. Turn Signal Fender
3. Magnetic Glove-sleeve Attachment
4. Cinch Socks
5. Fan Fender

The next thing I analyzed was the price that people would pay for these ideas, to see if they were economically feasible to produce. The following shows the average amount that people said they would pay for these top 5 ideas:

1. Extend-a-Fender = $31.63
2. Turn Signal Fender = $36.33
3. Magnetic Glove-sleeve Attachment = $22.40
4. Cinch Socks = $16.90
5. Fan Fender = $19.33

Interestingly enough, the more popular ideas tended to be 'worth' more to the consumers in general.

NOVEL

2X2 CHARTS

In order to benchmark these ideas against what is currently on the market, I searched both Google and Amazon for similar products. If there were no similar products I used the closest thing to what my idea was. Using these ideas I then created a 2x2 chart of each of the 5 top product ideas that I had.

extenda fender 2x2.jpg
For my Extend-a-fender idea, there was really only two telescoping fender options on the market, and none which were immediately available to buy. Both of these options also seemed either flimsy/ cheap, or did not look like they would provide much spray protection. There is a product opportunity here for an extendable fender with a higher end build quality and spray protection.


turn signal fender 2x2.jpg
For my Turn Signal Fender idea, there was really nothing I could find even close to this idea. I was extremely surprised that I couldn't find a single product that even combined head/tail lights with a fender. I think there is a major product opportunity here in creating a quality fender that also has lights including turn signals. My blog image was actually one of the first thing that showed up in a Google search.


magnetic sleeve 2x2.jpg
When searching to a similar product to my idea of soft magnet strips in the end of a jacket sleeve and glove collar to attach seamlessly to keep weather out, I didn't find anything that was really that close. The only things I found were extremely expensive expedition type jackets that had mittens actually built in. The other things I found were mostly home remedies of ways of attaching gloves to a jacket.


cinch socks 2x2.jpg
For the cinch sock, there are many bike-specific shoe coverings that exist already for shedding water, however none use the actual sock as a way to cinch around the pant leg. This may be because a cinching sock might be uncomfortable though. There is a general lack however for a cheap shoe cover for commuters, so maybe this idea could be modified to be a shoe cover that is made out of cheap plastic bag-like material that is disposable after a few uses.


fan fender 2x2.jpg
The idea of bike fender that acts like a traditional japanese fan that folds out has not been tried on the market yet as far as I can tell, however there are two similar inventions that recently got funding on Kickstarter. Both of these ideas combine concepts that I think the fan fender would incorporate, and seeing how quickly these concepts received crowdsourced funding makes it obvious that there is a market for relatively cheap and foldable bike fenders that can be stored when not in use. The benefit of a fanning bike fender would be that it would provide more coverage from spray, as it could fan out wider to cover the entire area behind your rump.

PATENT SEARCH

1. Extend-a-fender. There was a patent I found for a retractable bike fender, Patent US6367832 B1. This patent was filed in 2000 though. The following is a diagram of the patent:

US06367832-20020409-D00000.png

2. Turn signal fender. A Chinese "Telescopic spash guard" patent was found that mentions attachment for a turn signal, and also having the guard be made of "luminous" material. However there are no diagrams or images, and the translation is very poor.

CN 203078661 U

3. Magnetic Sleeve Attachment for Gloves. I couldn't find a patent specifically connecting jackets to gloves with magnets, however I found a Chinese patent for "Magnetic combinational jacket and pants". These would have magnetic attachments to change the length of the pant legs and jacket sleeves.

CN 201754813 U

4. Cinch Socks. I found a patent for "Vapor-permeable waterproof sock". This sock has no cinching mechanism however.

US 20120198601 A1

US20120198601A1-20120809-D00000.png

5. Fan fender. I didn't find anything that resembled what my idea was, however there was a Chinese patent for a "Novel bicycle rear fender device", which describes a "fan" shape. However their diagram looks nothing like a fan.

CN 201419755 Y

fan fender lol.png

FEASIBLE

In order to prove some of my product ideas as being feasible to be produced I did a rough manufacturing cost assessment.

1. Extend-a-Fender. This product could definitely be produced, and the product market that is not being taken advantage of is a higher quality extendable fender so I will attempt to make it out of alumnium. I found that Aluminum is selling at about $0.77 USD/ pound right now, and the approximate weight of this device would be 1 pound.

The manufacturing cost would then be $1.54 (2x bulk material cost). The wholesale price would then be about $4.62, and the retail price would thus be around $15. I am going to assume that with a retractable mechanism however, manufacturing cost would go up and I would be looking at anywhere from $3-5, to give me an approximate retail cost of $30-35. This falls in line with my survey results which said they would pay an average of $31.63 for this.

2. Turn Signal Fender. This product has not been produced, however to do a quick and rough estimation of the manufacturing cost, I will work backwards from the retail price of bike lights and fenders combined. Thus if fenders + lights cost $40 total, the material would cost around $4, and the manufacturing cost would be around $8.

3. Magnetic Sleeve Attachments. These could be included into any glove via an adhesive backing ala 3M. I found some flexible magnets with adhesive backing on Amazon for around $8, however these do not use the grade of adhesive I would be looking for to last a long time on a jacket. I think with a higher grade foam adhesive from 3M, these would cost around $15 for a pack, so around $1.5 for just the material. The manufacturing cost would then be around $3.

4. Cinch Socks. Since waterproof socks already exist, these are easy to estimate at around $25 a pair. If they included a cinch attachment, it may incur a little extra cost so I'm going to estimate them at around $30 a pair. Giving me a manufacturing cost of about $6. However if I went with a cheap plastic disposable version, plastic costs about $1 per pound and I would sell the covers in packs of 10 which would weigh maybe a half a pound. This would give me a manufacturing cost of around $1.

5. Fan Fender. This would have an identical manufacturing cost to the existing plastic fender solutions which around $20 retail. Working backwards this would give me a rough manufacturing estimate of $4.

Assignment 5

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STRUCTURED IDEA GENERATION

In order to create more directed innovations towards a new product relating to my problem statements in the area of winter travel, this week I applied a structured idea generation process. The first step of this process was applying the SCAMPER to an existing product related to one of my problem statements. My problem statements were as follows:

1/ Neil (late 20's, bike mechanic) needs a way to be able to wear everyday casual clothing that also protects him from winter weather and the elements while riding his bike to work.

2/ Nick (early 20's, winter driver) needs a way to improve the driving abilities and road condition awareness of other drivers on his way to work so he feels safer driving in inclement weather.

I tried to use an existing biking jacket as the archetypal product that I would be modifying, however I didn't come up with much. I decided to change it up a little and go with a bike fender as my product to modify.

SCAMPER
SUBSTITUTE
For each category of SCAMPER, I made a list of possible product ideas/ modifications and then pulled the best idea out of each to sketch. Here are the results of substitute:

- attaches to seat instead of frame
- tire tread that doesn't spray
- reflective material
- flared shape
- closer to rider
- call it "winter commuter kit"
- more attractive/ exciting packaging
- call it "slush stopper"

The idea I pulled from this category was a fender that attaches to the seat instead of the frame, and is therefore much closer to the rider. The following image illustrates this idea:

substitute.jpg

COMBINE
Combining features of a fender with other features that would be useful, this is what I came up with:

- combine with bike light
- combine with turn signal
- combine with reflective flag
- combine with proximity sensor/ horn
- combine with car designer (sleek attractive design)

The idea I pulled from this categories was a combination turn signal/ headlight fender which would both provide illumination as well as signal to other bikers/ drivers your turning intentions for safer biking. The following image illustrates this idea:

combine.jpg

ADAPT
Adapting processes/ elements from existing things to the idea of a bike fender, I came up with the following:

- oriental folded fan
- hose spray fender (other use)
- emulating tail feathers
- emulating fish fins
- clothing that is superhydrophobic (lotus effect)
- fibers like duck feathres

The idea that I thought was the most practical solution was a fender that attaches under the bike seat and fans out, emulating the classic paper oriental fan.The following image illustrates this idea:

adapt.jpg

MAGNIFY/ MODIFY
Thinking of what I could extend or enlarge or exaggerate on a bike fender, I came up with the following:

- extendable from seat post
- oversized fender
- modular (additions to make it longer/ wider)
- huge umbrella shape covering tires

The idea that I picked from this group that seemed the most innovative/ feasible was an extendable fender that would telescope out from the bike post. The following image illustrates this idea:

magnify - modify.jpg

PUT TO OTHER USE
In order to put a bike fender to other use, I thought of similar things that it is shaped like that it could serve the same function as. I came up with the following:

- use as a snow shovel
- walking stick for the elderly
- used as a fan if modified
- recyclable material (reusable)

The idea I picked from this group was using it as a shovel as well, creating a fender that doubles as an emergency snow removal device. The following image illustrates this idea:

put to other use.jpg

ELIMINATE
In order to innovate a product, sometimes eliminate certain unnecessary parts or materials can create something new. I came up with the following ideas that eliminate something from an existing bike fender:

- use frame for support (eliminate attachments)
- super thin (eliminate extra materials)
- retractable (eliminate wasted space)
- super small (only cover areas where most spray comes up)

The idea that I found most useful from this group was a fender that is only attached to the frame on the rear brake mount/ bracket (in between the two top back bars). The following image illustrates this idea:

eliminate.jpg

REVERSE/ REARRANGE
When thinking about a bike fender, it was rather difficult to imagine many parts that could be reversed or rearranged while still maintaining functional. However I came up with the following ideas:

- water collector (collect spray from tires)
- upside down shape (flare up towards rider)
- convex instead of concave

The idea that seemed most useful to me from this group was a convex fender, which would make it so snow doesn't clump up under the fender and make it harder to ride. The following image illustrates this idea:

reverse - rearrange.jpg

MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
The next structured idea generation method that I employed towards innovating the bike finder, was the morphological analysis table method. In this method I thought of the the three functional attributes that a fender must have to work well, and then thought of other ways that these attributes could be achieved and sketched images. Here is an image of the table I created:

morphological analysis table.jpg

The three functional attributes that I think a fender should have is "Attaches to bike", "Deflects spray (water/snow)", and "Lightweight (won't make riding more difficult)". I came up with several ideas that I thought could make a useful product innovation, the first being a combination of "magnet", "fan", and "small". This would be a small fan that is magnetically attached to the bike frame, illustrated by the following image:

morphological analysis 3.jpg

The second combination I came up with was a "velcro" + "plastic" + "fan" fender which would be velcro'd to the bike frame and fan out with a thin plastic material. The following image illustrates this idea:

morphological analysis 2.jpg

The third innovation I came up with from this table was a "small" + "balanced" + "windshield" fender which would be a much smaller fender only blocking the necessary areas, that balanced on the rear brake mount and was wedged between the bars making attachments unnecessary. The following image illustrates this idea:

morphological analysis 1.jpg

BLUE SKY IDEAS
During the blue sky idea generation process last week, there were several interesting and innovative ideas that came up. The ideas that I thought could be useful product innovations were light up bike lanes (or lights for bike lanes) so that drivers and bikers alike could clearly distinguish bike lanes at night, and also a turn signal jacket that would have light up signals on the sleeves when turning. Another idea that intrigued me was "socks that would be waterproof so you wouldn't get wet going through puddles". This idea could be manipulated into a sock that had a waterproof cinch that would seamlessly cover your foot and leg. The following is an illustration of this idea:

cinch sock.jpg

TEN BEST IDEAS!
From all of the ideas I have created throughout the course of this creative process, I have selected the top 10 ideas based on feasibility, functionality, and creativity. Numbered in no specific order (not best through worst).

#1: Magnetic sleeve-glove attachment. Tiny flexible magnets in both the end of a jacket sleeve and in the collar of a glove would attach the two firmly to create a seamless connection that wouldn't let cold air/ rain/ snow in.

magnet sleeve.jpg

#2: Cinch socks. Water-proof socks which would cinch around your pant legs to create a seamless connection that wouldn't let cold air/ rain/ snow in.

cinch sock.jpg

#3: Arm strap turn signal. An adjustable velcro cloth arm strap would have LED turn signals inside that could be controlled with a tiny accelerometer.

arm strap signal.jpg

#4: Holiday bike treads. These would be holiday patterned treads for bike tires, so that holiday shapes such as snowmen would be imprinted into the snow as you bike.

holiday treads.jpg

#5: Shape cutting snowshoes. These would be similar to the holiday bike treads, where there would be holiday shaped grips on the bottom of snowshoes to create fun patterns/ shapes.

shape cutting snowshoe.jpg

#6: Turn-signal jacket. This jacket would have a small LED light on the back of the sleeve, controlled by an accelerometer to signal turns when biking.

turn signal jacket.jpg

#7: Radio hood. Small soft speakers in either side of a jacket hood would be connected to a simple FM/AM radio with soft buttons on the sleeve to control it.

radio hood.jpg

#8: Fan fender. This fender would be accordion out to cover your rump from snow/ rain/ what-have-you. It would be plastic so it could be wrapped around the seat post for easy storage when you don't need it, and would have velcro and magnetic attachments.

morphological analysis 2.jpg

#9: Turn signal fenders. These fenders would incorporate bike lights on the front and back as well as turn signals which could be controlled by a simple switch on the handlebars.

combine.jpg

#10: Extend-a-fender.This fender would telescope out from its holster, saving space when not needed. It could be stored on the seat-post or on the seat-tube and then telescope between the from and rest on the rear-brake mount.

magnify - modify.jpg

Assignment 4

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BRAINSTORM!

THE SETUP
The goal this week was to plan and facilitate a brainstorming session to come up with interesting and unique solutions to my two problem statements regarding the theme of winter commuting. My two problem statements were as follows:

1/ Neil (late 20's, bike mechanic) needs a way to be able to wear everyday casual clothing that also protects him from winter weather and the elements while riding his bike to work.

2/ Nick (early 20's, winter driver) needs a way to improve the driving abilities and road condition awareness of other drivers on his way to work so he feels safer driving in inclement weather.

I turned these statements into "How might we..." questions in order to promote creative solutions to these problems, and prompt blue sky idea generation! The statements turned into:

1/ How might we find a way to make winter biking clothing more functional & fashionable for the every-day rider?

2/ How might we clearly indicate winter road conditions to drivers and bikers alike, to improve visibility and thus safety?

I created a Facebook event for this brainstorming session and invited some friends to come in with some ideas regarding these two prompts.

THE SESSION
I ended recruiting four friends to help me brainstorm solutions to my "How might we..." questions regarding winter travel. Nick, Ally, David and Danielle all came with the prompt in mind to help jump-start their creation of ideas. Nick's dad ended up coming early into the first brainstorming session as well, which helped add some diversity age-wise to the group.

chocolate!.jpg

The first thing I had them do was... eat dark chocolate! They particularly enjoyed this activity, because let's be honest: who doesn't like to be encouraged to eat chocolate? The idea behind this warm-up activity was to increase dopamine levels, and thus stimulate creativity! I encouraged them to take a chocolate break throughout the brainstorming sessions whenever they needed.

orchestra!.wmv

Next, I had them do several creativity warm-up activities that we had learned in class. The first one I had them do was "Zip, zap, zop!". This seemed like a good place to start because it is one of the most simple activites and gets the creative juices flowing. The next activity I had them do was something I call "Orchestra". In this activity, everyone picked a musical instrument and "played" that instrument with the hands, air-guitar style. It goes to a clapping rhythm with one person starting, doing their instrument's motion then somebody else's. The person who's instrument they played then had to respond to the beat by playing the instrument and then someone else's, and it goes in circles like this til the rhythm is broken. I borrowed part of this activity from a drinking game that we like to play with groups of people. They had a lot of fun with this one, and I think it put everyone in a good mood for the meat of the brainstorm!

Brainstorming ideas.jpg

After they felt sufficiently warmed-up, we moved onto the actual brainstorm. For each session I reread them the "How might we..." prompt to get them focused on the particular topic of interest.

During the first 10 minutes of each session, I encouraged them to think up as many ideas as possible, ridiculous or feasible. Each person had a different color giant post-it sticky pad and I took their notes and put them up on the wall to display.

For the next 5 minutes, I told them to think of as many "bad" ideas as possible, to change up the pace in case people got stuck or in a rut.

The last 5 minutes of the brainstorm was spent using "characters" that I wrote down for them on giant post-its and laid out on the table. These varied from Superman to Harry Potter to Fry Cook. I think changing the pace up throughout the brainstorm session helped keep it fresh.

picking favorites.jpg

Following each 20 minute brainstorm session, I had them go to the wall with all the ideas and hand out 3 stars to their favorite ideas. From these ideas we narrowed it down to 5 final ideas for each prompt.

THE DELIVERABLES
After each individual brainstorming session, I tallied up all of the ideas we had divided by the number of participants and the duration to get our IPM or ideas per minute. These sessions had surprisingly similar results, with each session getting approximately 0.7 ideas per minute per participant. I thought this was a pretty good number for a group of random people that weren't self-proclaimed "creatives".


Each session produced a set of 5 final "best solutions" that we all voted on collectively. I grouped these together, documented, and saved them for later inspiration.

top 5 ideas.jpgtop 5 - visibility + safety.jpg

The top ideas for the first session were: Warm water-proof biking socks. A radio hood. Form-fitting clothing for women. Bright colors. Reflective materials.

The top ideas for the second session were: Scalloped/ rumble-strip bike lanes. Turn-signal jacket sleeve. Snow-melting lane paint. Light-up lanes. Bikes with turn blinkers.

THE REFLECTION
Overall, this activity was very fun and enjoyable for all. I was surprised how enthusiastic everyone seemed, and even my friend's dad (former Navy commander) really got into the creative spirit. The warm-up games helped lighten the mood and make things loose and carefree for all, and the chocolate was rewarding for their valuable time that they volunteered with me.

The ideas that came out of this activity that I liked the best came from my friend Danielle, who doesn't like to bike in the winter because most winter clothing is not form-fitting or flattering for women. It was intriguing to have that insight, and it would definitely be an area for improvement in winter biking apparel for women. After reviewing the ideas that we liked each time, they tended to be based around a few key categories. For the bike clothing it was socks and jackets, and for the visibility issue it was bike lanes and turn-signals. I think that this activity produced some interesting and very usable material to work with going forward!

Assignment3

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ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH

The topic I had chosen for my winter sub-theme was winter travel. I chose to focus on the commuting aspect of travel, as I think that this area would have interesting and fun opportunities for change or improvement of related products. With this idea in mind, I went about the ASK, OBSERVE, and EXPERIENCE aspects of my ethnographic research.

ASK
In order to find an interesting area for improvement or innovation in the area of winter commuting, I interviewed three unrelated people about their winter travel habits, likes and dislikes. I came up with a simple 5 question interview to use as a base for all three, which made it easy to ask follow-up questions as I saw fit in the situation. Here are the interview questions I used as my basic structure:

1. What are the methods of transportation you use in the winter?
2. Of these methods, which do you enjoy the most and why?
3. Of these methods, which is the most frustrating and why?
4. What area of winter travel do you think could be most improved upon and why?
5. Can you think of an experience you had with a product or service relating to winter travel that stuck out to you as exceptionally positive or negative? Please explain.

For these interviews, I tried to get a variety of transportation usages so I asked a friend who drives/ bikes/ rides the bus to work, an acquaintance who only drives in the winter, and a local bike mechanic who rides his bike year-round.

Interview #1: Gregg, male mid 40's, message therapist. Gregg said that his only method of winter transportation was his car, and that the farthest he regularly drove was 7 miles. One of the things about winter travel he found enjoyable was his heated seats and steering wheel in his new car, as well as the power and acceleration. One of his biggest frustrations with winter travel was traffic congestion, and he thought that snow removal could be improved the most especially in the inner city where he lives. When asked what he thought caused this he said probably the logistics and priorities of different neighborhoods within the city. Other drivers in the winter were also an issue, as many people drive poorly in the winter.

Interview #2: Neil, male late 20's, bike mechanic @ Varsity. Neil was interesting to interview because he was definitely an expert on winter commuting, as he rode his bike year-round to work, and had some interesting tips for winter travelers especially as it relates to biking. Neil really enjoys that you don't have to find parking when you bike, and as opposed to public transportation, you can leave whenever you want and not have to schedule your trip. He said as long as you have the right equipment, winter biking can be quite enjoyable. A few of the products he mentioned being important for winter biking were studded tires, full-coverage fenders, and warm socks. Neil's big frustration was the massive variability in road conditions, both plowing and drivers giving bikers a negative reaction in the winter. Some equipment issues he mentioned related to bike equipment that wasn't designed to be used in winter because winter bikers are somewhat of an outlier. He would like if there was more winter biking clothing that was designed for the everyday rider/ commuter, because a lot of winter biking apparel is borrowed from other areas (skiing, etc.).

Interview #3: Nick, early 20's, sales representative. Nick had some interesting input in regards to winter travel, as he used several methods in the winter, primarily driving but also walking and public transportation (bus). One of his frustrations with public transportation was that you had to time it and schedule your trip. He enjoyed driving the most because it is the warmest and he gets to listen to his music. Nick mentioned clearing the sidewalks and bike lanes as being an issue, and one of the reasons he didn't bike in the winter. Two things he suggested that could be improved were windshield wipers and tire traction. He really likes when the snow removal people use the brushes rather than just plows, because they cleared the sidewalks much better and provided more grip and traction underfoot.

One of the things I noticed that all of these people mentioned as an issue was snow removal on the roads and bike lanes, as well as traffic congestion/ bad driving in the winter.

OBSERVE

winter-driving-boise-meridian-garden-city-eagle-Idaho-oil-changes-e1355339843378.jpg
(not looking forward to this.)

One of my immediate observations of winter travel as the weather is starting to get colder is that there aren't nearly as many bikers on the roads, and that means more drivers and thus more traffic congestion. I noticed early this morning (low 20s with a windchill of 7F), that the bike racks on campus were nearly empty. Contrast this to the first week of September, when you could barely bike through campus without running into to one another, and it's fairly obvious that the average person does not enjoy winter biking. I think that this stands as a glaring indicator of a product opportunity for change and improvement in some way. Another thing that I notice when it comes to public transportation, is that there are no immediate and obvious indicators when the next bus comes, important info if you're gonna brave the cold wait.

EXPERIENCE

1453338_10152052909373384_78531943_n.jpg
(Empty bike racks at St. Paul campus).

I am somewhat a combination of several of the users that I interviewed, as in the winter I utilize driving, biking, and public transportation as means of travel. I primarily bike, while also using the bike racks on the campus connectors when it is really cold or windy, or I am going to St. Paul campus from the East Bank. One of the frustrations I experience the most often in the winter is when the exposed skin between your jacket/ gloves or socks/pants gets cold and makes winter biking uncomfortable. Another frustration I notice quite often which Neil (bike mechanic) also mentioned, was that cars don't always give you enough shoulder room while biking, and especially when the snow piles up they start parking closer and closer to the bike lanes, making it dangerous to bike in the winter.

PROBLEM STATEMENTS

1/ Neil (late 20's, bike mechanic) needs a way to be able to wear everyday casual clothing that also protects him from winter weather and the elements while riding his bike to work.

During his interview Neil mentioned that there isn't much clothing that is both functional for biking in the winter while also being fashionable/ functional for everyday life. I have also experienced this in my own winter biking travels.

2/ Nick (early 20's, winter driver) needs a way to improve the driving abilities and road condition awareness of other drivers on his way to work so he feels safer driving in inclement weather.

All three people that I interviewed mentioned both road conditions as well as other people's winter driving abilities as being issues in winter travel, and these both could possibly be related in a way if something could solve part of both of those issues.

Assignment2

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Before beginning this assignment, I watched a few episodes of a funny animated TV show on Cartoon Network called Regular Show to get the creative juices flowing. I like the idea of watching or doing something creative or humorous before starting a creative assignment, it works as sort of a mental warm-up for your mind. The Regular Show was a great choice as a creative mental warm-up, as in this show they always have ridiculous solutions to seemingly simple and obvious problems. Watching this show reminded me of the "more than one right answer" thing that we talked about in class, as the two main characters in this show usually have rather odd and non-obvious solutions to normal problems. For example, the episode I watched was about cleaning their room, and instead of simply cleaning it, Rigby decides to get a movable wall to divide the room around the mess.

While doing this "mental warm-up" I jotted down ideas for a mental mind map of the winter theme. I came up with a lot of the same ideas that we had discussed in class, and found that I was able to branch out a little more after getting in the creative mood. Here is what I came up with for my mental map:

winter mind map.jpg

The three sub-themes that I decided to focus on are Winter hats, winter commuting, and comfort food.

From here, I decided to move onto the 10 silly product ideas by using a method we used in class; Cross-Products. I like this method because I was able to somewhat arbitrarily pick something I came up with on my winter mind-map and think of a random every day object it could be combined with in a strange (hopefully creative) way. I found this activity fun, and I think doing it while watching cartoons helped the creative process and my ability to come up with non-obvious solutions that may be silly and ridiculous.

silly idea 1.jpg

For the first idea I combined a scarf with a toothbrush, to create a winter-themed toothbrush that could wrap around your wrist while brushing to keep your hand warm. Definitely ridiculous, and probably messy and not very useful, but fun nonetheless.

silly idea 2.jpg

For the second idea, I combined a winter hat with a cell-phone to come up with hands-free hat holster device for your smartphone. One of the ear-flaps would have a little pocket for the phone to slide into.

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For idea 3, I combined a winter mitten with a coffee cup to come up with a coffee mitten-sleeve. Pretty self-explanatory.

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For idea 4, I combined the idea of a cookie cutter with a snowshoe. The snowshoe's grip on the bottom would be in the winter-themed shapes (i.e. Christmas tree) to create a fun imprint in the snow when you walk around with it on.

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For idea 5, I created a similar idea to the snowshoe imprint but this time with a winter bike tire. This winter tire would have winter-themed treads that press fun shapes into the snow while you bike.

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For idea 6, I combined a wreath with a sled to create a Wreath-sled! So a round sled covered in wreath that you sit in. Festive!

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Probably my most practical idea, number 7 is a pair of headphones lined with flannel fabric. Cause why not.

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This may well already exist, but sounds delicious to me nonetheless. A "hotdish" made up of winter desserts. Yum.

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Idea 9 combines ice skates with a pencil or other drawing device to create skates that would "draw" designs on the ice while you skate. They would dispense ink or dye into the track left by the skate to create colorful ice designs.

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Last but not least, idea 10 is an amalgamation of disco ball and pine tree. Disco-tree! Or as I like to call it, Pine-Ball!

I found it fairly beneficial to be mentally warmed up for these creative assignments, and I think I might just have to make it a habit to watch the Regular Show before doing homework. Sounds productive.

Assignment1

| 3 Comments

Creating a new type of cookie was partly an exercise in creativity, and partly an exercise in baking for me. While I love to cook and do so frequently, baking is something I usually leave up to mom. Luckily, I live just 25 minutes south of the cities, so mom's expertise came in handy with this assignment.

My first thought that came to my head after getting this objective was a combination spiced/ citrus cookie, inspired by a dessert that is served at the cafe that I work at on St. Anthony Main. I jotted down some notes of things that would be interesting to create this flavor combination; cayenne, chili, chipotle pepper, lemon zest, orange zest, lavender. I thought of ways to combine these flavors in cookie and realized that a chocolate-based cookie would be the best route for the flavors I wanted. However, I don't particularly like chocolate cookies.

Back to the drawing board! While going through my mother's cupboard I found an ingredient which I love and which has a sort of "spice" of it's own; ginger. Again I thought of citrus flavors that would blend well with ginger and came up with the idea of creating a ginger and lemon zest cookie. Now I had to find a base from which to create said cookie. My mom quickly suggested a sugar cookie, which made sense to me, and specifically the base I used was as sour cream drop sugar cookie.

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With my ingredients and base recipe in place, I started creating the first iteration (read: batch) of cookies. I added 2 tsp of ginger paste to the recipe, as well as the zest of one small lemon. Another addition which came as a last second decision was to add some lavender sugar that was in my mom's cupboard.

The verdict on this first batch were that they tasted good, but they tasted more like a plain sugar cookie and needed some more zing. So onto the next batch. This time around I changed up the recipe a little more, using some fresh ground ginger as well as the 2 tsp of ginger paste. A little more lemon zest was used as well. Another idea I had was to incorporate some candied (crystallized) ginger on top, so I pushed a small piece of candied ginger into the top of each cookie. This batch turned out much better, with more ginger and lemon flavor. However I didn't like how the candied ginger was incorporated.

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So, final batch! This time around I made a simple frosting of butter and confectioners sugar, and pressed a small piece of candied ginger into the frosted cookies. These were great, and the keepers.

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This is the final recipe for the lemon-ginger sugar drop cookies:

1/4 C shortening
3/4 C sugar
1 egg
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/3 C flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp lemon zest
candied ginger for garnish (cut into small dime-sized pieces)

Combine dry ingredients in bowl, set aside. Combine wet ingredients and mix well until light and fluffy. Mix in dry ingredients slowly to wet batter, blending all along. Dollop spoonfuls onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper (roughly golf ball sized). Bake @ 425F for 7-8 minutes until light brown.

The process of innovating a new cookie started as a practice in simple baking methods, but turned into a fun iterative process of trial and error. I was definitely pleased with the final product.

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