Week 5: Manipulating Ideas


Structured Ideation

SCAMPER Applied To Snow Shovels
A large amount of the extra travel time in winter is preparing to leave home. In this SCAMPER exercise, I looked at snow shovels.

Substitute the rigid plastic with a flexible plastic lead to fit under the snow.
Pull the shovel like an oxen plow, rather than pushing it.
Create a scoop like a scythe for swinging to clear snow rather than pushing.
Use the shovel as an industrial dust pan.
Gamify the shoveling process to make it fun.

Snow Scoop

Teflon coat the shovel blade.
Put electric heat coils in the blade.
Combine shovel with a rake to collect leaves in Fall.
Combine shovel a hand-pushed grass cutter to break up snow and mow environmentally consciously.


Snow Cutter

The scoop could create a roll of snow to use as snow fort building material.
It is like a spoon.
It is like a fork.
It is like a knife.
It is like an ice scraper.
It is like a dirt shovel.
Make the blade softer for use on porches and patios.
Make the blade with a brush underneath to scoop betweenn tiles.
It is like the scoop on a train engine.
It is like the toe of a boot.
It is like a garden trowel.
It could be used on the beach.
It could be used on construction sites.
It could be used during heavy rains.


Snow Log Maker

Make the scoop wider but shallower so it slides under ice and snow rather than moving it.
Make the scoop narrower to dig out small pathways.
Make the scoop smaller to fit under vehicles.
Instead of a handle, use a wide yoke-like cradle to fit against hips for pushing.


Full Weight Shovel

Make the blade flat but wider to just cut under snow and ice, rather than remove it.


Ice Cutter

Put To Other Use:
Use it to carry firewood.
Use it to carry coal.
Use it to carry sand.
Use it to lay cement.
Use it to pull up carpet.
Use it as a pry bar.
Use it to push boxes on the ground by lifting one edge and lowering surface area.
Use it to carry lasagna pans.
Use it to move pizza.
Use it to carry artillery shells.
Use it to carry water.


Firewood Carrier

Make the shovel a single piece of molded plastic.
Eliminate joiner bolts and nuts by using snap-fit parts.
Remove the staff of the shovel for an arm-distance scoop.


Remove Staff

Use the shovel to smooth out snow to create a freshly-fallen appearance.


Snow Smoother

Make the handle vertical instead of horizontal for a pistol-grip like interaction.


Vertical Handle

Table Based Idea Generation


TILMAG Matrix for a Snow Shovel

I used the matrix to search for existing products that fit the Ideal Solution Elements for an archetypical snow shovel. I continued to work with a snow shovel because snow removal is a major part of winter travel. Even pedestrians need to clear snow from their sidewalks and driveways to leave the house or provide access for postal workers and deliveries.

Ideal Solution Elements (ISE)
1. Pushes Something (Snow and Ice)
2. Lifts Something (Snow and Ice)
3. Cuts Something (Snow and Ice)
4. Person Movable (One person operates)

I began using the TILMAG Matrix by drawing the grid on an 8.5"x11" paper.

I used the same numbering as when I recorded the qualities of a shovel.

Thinking about those qualities, I mostly thought of construction and garage elements. There were some surprises, like the Pie Spoon/Server, though that is somewhat similar to a shovel. Similarly, the Pizza Cutter is something that is pushed that also cuts.

Pushes Something/Person Movable

Pushes Something/Cuts Something
Lawn Mower
Pizza Cutter

Pushes Something/Lifts Something
Garden Hoe

Lifts Something/Person Movable

Pie Spoon/Server

Lifts Something/Cuts Something
Crane (with teeth)
Disposable Razor (lifts hair and cuts)

Cuts Something/Person Movable
Hot Wire Saw

TILMAG Influenced Ideas


The Ice Breaker

The Ice Breaker combines a forklift with a wheelbarrow and a plow. The user pushes the blade under the snow and ice. A foot pedal lifts the blade, which collapses into a vertical knife-edge to break the crust from underneath.


The SnHoe

The SnHoe (Snow Hoe) combines the leverage of a traditional hand held hoe with a hot wire saw's heating element and q serrated knife blade for snow and ice breaking. It is used before the shoveling process to break up problem areas for easier removal.

10 Ideas That Could Be Products

Examining the ideas from previous weeks, I used the Novel, Useful, Feasible (NUF) test to see which could be made. Some, like the full-spectrum moon roof or RADAR/GPS communicating autos are good ideas, but beyond my capability to prototype.

Many of the ideas from this week are more practical. They often rely on simple mechanical forces with an adjustment to the shape or function of existing products.

Some ideas from last week's brainstorming are included below, with new pictures. They are called out in the descriptive text. The Carden is interesting. It seems there are winter-blossoming plants that might be able to survive the winters of Minnesota.


1. Carden (Car Garden)
This was one of the ideas from the Brainstorming activity that was redrawn for this week.


2. Singing Instruction Alarm Clock
This was one of the ideas from the Brainstorming activity that was redrawn for this week.


3. RFID Clothes
This was one of the ideas from the Brainstorming activity that was redrawn for this week.


4. Snow Scoop


5. Snow Cutter


6. Snow Log Maker


7. Vertical Handle


8. The SnHoe


9. The Ice Breaker


10. Full Weight Shovel


Hey James!

This is really hard to critique!
You did a really good job covering the assignment. Your drawings are really good! Writing the topic and sub-topic with two different colors on each sketch is really smart. It made it easier to read.
Your ideas are very practical and real. I can see them being used in real life!

First of all, I loved your sketches. They were colorful and detailed. I could understand all of your concepts right away by looking at your sketches.
I could see that you had put a log of work into this assignment. You explained your idea very clearly, and even pointed out some features on your product such as the SnHoe. I really appreciated that.
Your blog looked great. The only question I had would be where was your part 3...I didn't really see you talking about some ideas from last week could be improved and made into a real product. Maybe they were in the 10 best ideas, but it would be better to point out those evolved ideas from last week since it was part of the assignment.

Great job and happy Thanksgiving!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by cospe002 published on November 25, 2013 2:18 AM.

Week 4: Host a Brainstorming was the previous entry in this blog.

Week 6: Preliminary Idea Evaluation is the next entry in this blog.

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