Assignment #7

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Well here we are, the final blog post of the semester! What a bittersweet moment... Anyway, moving on with the post... To recap, my top five product ideas were:
1. A reusable shopping bag with an adjustable strap
2. Scented wrapping paper
3. A phone app that scanned the quality of different products
4. A removable shopping bag handle wrap
5. A reusable shopping bag with zippered pockets on the outside

For my Pugh Chart, my categories were:
1. Can I communicate it easily?
2. How good is the timing?
3. Is it easy to use?
4. How unique is the idea?
5. Is it a feasible product?
6. Is it environmentally friendly?

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After analyzing the chart, I decided that the best product would be the quality scanner phone app. The hardest part by far was coming up with the name. I wanted something that would portray the app's use, but also be catchy. The working title is EcoScan (because it scans the ecological impact of the product, as well as other things). I would really appreciate other name suggestions though!

I made a little mock-up of what the app might look like:

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Finally, I made my elevator pitch video! I couldn't figure out how to import it directly to the blog, so I made it a YouTube video, sorry! Here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmgNSHbslp4

Looking forward to your input! Thanks!

Assignment #6

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Hello everyone, welcome back to my blog!

To recap, my top ten ideas from last week were:
1) A shopping cart that automatically scanned your items as you put them in the cart
2) A phone app that could scan products for a quality rating (materials, "green" status, use of child labor, etc.)
3) A phone app that automatically updated your bank account balance right after buying something, and alerted you of the new balance while shopping.
4) A reusable shopping bag with pockets on the outside for your phone, wallet, etc.
5) A removable comfy shopping bag handle wrap so your hands don't hurt over time
6) A reusable shopping with separate compartments for different items
7) Scented wrapping paper in different "flavors"
8) A shopping bag that folds down into a box for wrapping a gift
9) A reusable shopping bag with an adjustable handle
10) A reusable shopping bag that resembles a Chinese take out box

And now.... IS IT MARKETABLE?

I created a survey that I posted on my Facebook and conducted with people in person, too. It included all ten items, and asked if you would buy or rent that product, and if so, how much you would pay for it. A lot of people wrote other things in the survey, too, like suggestions for improvement or what would make them buy it. A total of 25 people had answered the survey when I started collecting the data. From there, I narrowed it down to my top five products.

1) The phone app that could scan products for a quality rating (materials, "green" status, use of child labor, etc.) - 80%
2) Scented wrapping paper in different "flavors" - 44%
3) The reusable shopping bag with an adjustable handle - 56%
4) The removable comfy shopping bag handle wrap so your hands don't hurt over time - 60%
5) The reusable shopping bag with pockets on the outside for your phone, wallet, etc. - 44% (but a lot of people said they would buy it if the pockets actually protected your stuff)

NOVEL

I took to the internet to see if these items already existed in some way, shape, or form.

1) The phone app that could scan products for a quality rating (materials, "green" status, use of child labor, etc.)

There are a ton of phone apps that use scanning technology, but I only found one app that does something similar to my product idea. It's called GoodGuide, and it's free in the Apple App Store. It's purpose is scanning products to see if they're safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly, so it has one of the components of my app idea. Here's the Apple Store's description and image:
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Patent: Barcode Scanner
There was no specific patent for the purposes of the barcode scanner, but it's at least specific to phones.

2) Scented wrapping paper in different "flavors"

After a quick Google search, I found that this product already exists, although there is only one on the market, an artisan wrapping paper that comes in a variety of patterns and scents.

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However, all of these patterns are floral, which means that although the scents may have variety, there's a market for more pattern themes. Maybe that's where the winter theme could come in?

Patent: Pet Wrapping Paper
This patent is for flavored and scented paper that is used to attract animals. Seeing as my product idea is meant to attract humans, I shouldn't have an issue with the patent.

3) The reusable shopping bag with an adjustable handle

I found only a couple reusable bags that featured any kind of "adjustable" handle. The ones that I did find usually had very limited adjustability (ideally, my product would allow for cross-body carrying) or was more complex that I had intended.

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Patent: Shopping Bag System
The only time this patent says anything about adjustable handles is when relating them to grocery bags, and that's not what my product idea is used for.

4) The removable comfy shopping bag handle wrap so your hands don't hurt over time

After trying different phrasing and websites, the only product I found that was similar was the luggage handle grips that are used mainly for luggage identification. However, the structure is pretty comparable to that of my handle wrap idea, so I just mapped out the state-of-the-art for the luggage grips.

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Patent: Removable Grip for Shopping Bag Handles
This patent didn't really have a written description, but its image resembled a similar structure to my product idea, but without any comfortable material to protect one's hands, which was the aim of my idea.

5) The reusable shopping bag with pockets on the outside for your phone, wallet, etc.

The main issue a lot of people had with this product was the risk of the items in the pockets being stolen if they weren't secured properly, so I modified the product to include zippered exterior pockets. My internet search came up with a few bags that had pockets, but they either weren't very safe, or there was only one pocket, both of which are two main aspects of my design.

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Patent: Reusable Foldable Environmental Protection Shopping Bag
This patent was directed mainly at an average foldable reusable shopping bag, but mentioned the use of an interior pocket, and my design didn't include any interior pockets to begin with.

FEASIBLE

1) The phone app that could scan products for a quality rating
My biggest concern is whether or not companies would be willing to release certain information to the consumers, like whether or not the product was made using child labor. Also, just collecting all of that information, especially for smaller companies, might be difficult.

2) Scented wrapping paper in different "flavors"
I'm most concerned about how best to differentiate this product from the one that already exists, because I know that it's otherwise a feasible idea.

3) The reusable shopping bag with an adjustable handle
My main concern with this is that the price of the adjustable handle might make the overall product too expensive for consumers to want to purchase.

4) The removable comfy shopping bag handle wrap so your hands don't hurt over time
My main concern is how I'd design the wrap so it's easy to take on and off the bag's handle, especially if there are multiple bags being carried.

5) The reusable shopping bag with pockets on the outside for your phone, wallet, etc.
My main concern is designing the pockets so it's most helpful for the user. I want to make sure they know that pockets are meant for their own personal items, and I want to ensure that they'll be as safe as possible.

Assignment #5

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As some as of probably already know, my winter theme is holiday gifts. For my structured idea generation, I chose an archetypal product that pretty much everyone needs to shop for their holiday gifts: a shopping bag. It already has a pretty simple structure, so it was hard to come up with creative ideas to make changes to it, but the SCAMPER method still worked pretty well!

SCAMPER

SUBSTITUTE:
Replace handle with padding to make it easier to hold
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COMBINE:
Combine the bag with a purse's function - pockets on the side for your phone, wallet, etc.
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ADAPT:
Copy the design of a take-out box with a fold-up lid so your items don't fall out
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MAGNIFY/MODIFY:
Make the handle bigger/adjustable for cross-body carrying
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PUT TO OTHER USE:
Fold down into a box for packaging and wrapping the gift
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ELIMINATE:
Combine the handle and the bag, or use the same material for both
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REVERSE/REARRANGE:
Make the bag material wrapping paper so it's used for wrapping presents, not buying them
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TILMAG MATRIX

The four attributes I chose for the shopping bag was "easy to pack/unpack items", "portable", "easy to hold", and "carries many different items"

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Here are the three product ideas I came up with from the TILMAG matrix:

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TEN BEST IDEAS

1. Shopping cart with a scanner that checks out your items as you put them in the cart (week 4)
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2. Phone app that tells you the quality of a product (materials, background, child labor, etc.)
(week 4)
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3. Name tag or sign in the store that tells you the "stats" of each employee (length of employment, rankings, etc.) (week 4)
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4. Phone app that instantly tracks how much money is left in your bank account right after you buy something. (week 4)
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5. Custom scented wrapping paper with the recipient's favorite scent. (week 4)
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6. Shopping bag with pockets on the outside for phone, wallet, etc. (week 5)
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7. Shopping bag that folds down into a box for packaging and wrapping the gift. (week 5)
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8. Shopping bag with adjustable handle (week 5)
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9. Shopping bag with design of a fold-up take out box so items don't fall out (week 5)
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10. Shopping bag with cloth padding for easier carrying (week 5)
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Assignment #4

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For the brainstorming session, I found it pretty difficult to get a wide range of people that were all free for an hour. Good thing I have five other roommates that wanted to help me out! The people involved in the session are all pictured here:

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From the left to the right there's Xavier, Emily, Simge, Anna, and Becca (who originally was reluctant to do the brainstorming, which explains her face...)

To start off, we did an improv game that I made up, kind of going off the "Red Ball" game we learned at Huge. The game was to throw an invisible object at another person in the circle, making the noise that the object would make. The other person would have to then pretend to be hit by a completely different object, and make the noise that that object would have made. People ended up getting really into it, and Xavier even fell on the ground at one point after getting "hit" by an especially heavy object.

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QUESTION ONE: How might we make the holiday shopping experience easier and quicker to navigate?

After we were playful and in a creative mood, I set them up with markers and index cards. I had to explain a couple times that no, they didn't have to be possible, and that actual products were encouraged (Emily insisted that the best products were phone apps), but then we were on our way!
For the 20 minute session, we averaged about 0.42 ideas per minute.

I mainly chose the ideas that people had voted for the most. It was surprising how many ideas people thought were both useful and creative! Here are a couple favorites.

My idea: a shopping cart that checks items out as you put them in the cart.
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Simge's idea: a scanner that tells you the quality of a product before you buy it.
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My idea: a scanner that tells you which employee in a store is the best.
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Anna's idea: a search app that you type a keyword into and it tells you where it is in the store.
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Emily's idea: an app that tracks how much money you still have left in your bank account instantly after purchasing items.
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QUESTION TWO: How might we increase the emotional value or meaningfulness of a holiday gift?

This one seemed more difficult, because it dealt with something more personal. However, we got a lot more creative answers with this question, probably because there aren't too many products out there with the sole purpose of increasing emotional value. A lot of these ideas were also illegal, and involved a lot of stalking and breaking into people's homes. The average amount of ideas per minute was about 0.4 for the 20 minute session. Again, to pick my favorites, I mainly chose the ones who were voted for most. Here they are!

Emily's idea: a book with a page for every day of the year. On each page there's something like "for a good memory of the two of us, turn to page 105" or "Turn to page 33 for a funny joke"
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Simge's idea: pheromones to put on a gift so the person receiving it automatically liked the gift.
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My idea: a service that sends people things from their favorite place/things that you can only get in a certain place.
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Anna's idea: something that takes a homemade thing (card, poem, drawing, etc) and makes it look professionally finished.
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Becca's idea: something that goes through a person's online shopping history (this is one of those more illegal ideas, but still useful!)
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Everyone did a great job at coming up with creative ideas, and they were really supportive of everyone else's ideas, too! The biggest issue we had was people having side conversations about the ideas during the sessions, but that happened rarely. It was cool how much people got into it, and Becca even admitted that she had a fun time afterwards!

Assignment #3

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My winter sub-topic is HOLIDAY PRESENTS and when we were assigned this week's activity of interviewing people, my first thought was "Who on earth qualifies as an expert on holiday presents?" After some brainstorming, I came to the conclusion that "experts" on holiday present would fall under the categories of personal shopper, professional gift wrapper, someone who has worked in retail during the holidays, and Santa. Santa wasn't a viable option, so I decided to interview someone who worked in retail, because they probably had the most hands-on experience with people and holiday presents. For the other two interviews, I interviewed a classmate of mine who's a junior at the U, and a 14-year-old boy who's a friend of my brother's. I thought this range in age would generate some different insights.

INTERVIEW #1: MATT (14-YEAR-OLD BOY)
Matt's most common problem with holiday presents was the process of buying them, mainly because of his lack of money and transportation. To make up for this, he usually concentrates his efforts into making thoughtful and creative cards for his family, and spending about $5 on candy and small trinkets from Target for his friends. He said that he had done Secret Santa a couple times with his friends, but that his main holiday present traditions were with his family. One of his favorite gifts he's ever received was a second-hand TV that he uses to play video games on, because he wasn't expecting such a big gift, and he uses it all the time. His least favorite part about holiday gifts is when he picks out a gift that he ends up wanting for himself, and one thing that would make the process easier for him is if people told him exactly what he wanted.

INTERVIEW #2: JILL (PARTNER AT THE ONLINE JEWELRY STORE "ZEEBERRY")
My interview with Jill focused mainly on the pros and cons of online shopping for holiday presents, for both the employee and the buyer. She said that she spends the time before the holiday season prepping for inventory, while the actual buying season is spent mainly on solving unknown problems that come up with online shopping. Sales tend to start rising as early as the week after Halloween, and she's noticed that people really tend to like the convenience of online shopping, especially for holiday presents, because you can avoid crowds and explore your options more. However, she said that her experience with retail and holiday shopping hasn't made her better at picking out holiday presents, partly because she doesn't really like shopping. Her least favorite part about holiday presents is when she can't find a good gift for someone, and has to pick out something mediocre just to have something. She also said that with all the holiday rush at her store, she doesn't really have time to find, buy, ship, and wrap all her presents until the very last minute.

INTERVIEW #3: EMMA (CLASSMATE AND JUNIOR AT THE U OF M)
This interview was pretty similar to the one with Matt, but she was a lot more receptive and talkative, plus she had a lot more experience with holiday presents, so I was able to generate a lot more answers. For Emma, the most best holiday gifts that she had received were so great because they had a lot of sentimental value. She got a huge stuffed animal tiger when she was really young, because she loved exotic animals, and she still has it! Her main problem with holiday presents is the pressure that is put on you to pick out the perfect gift for every person on your list. She's also noticed that during college, it becomes a lot more difficult to make time to go shopping for holiday presents, because she's trying to study for finals, too. This usually means that when she does go shopping, she ends up being stuck in crowds and not finding the best gifts.


EXPERIENCING
I usually don't start shopping for holiday presents this early in the year, and it's much too early to experience the act of receiving holiday presents, so I decided to just go through the motions of holiday shopping instead. I visited some websites that I thought people would tend to go to while shopping for holiday gifts online (Target, clothing stores, makeup stores, Hallmark, etc.) Not surprisingly, they were all already advertising their "holiday collections" or "best holiday gifts". I explored the sites a little bit, and noticed that most of them centered around sales and pre-made "gift baskets". Here a a couple screenshots I took of the websites.

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THE SURVEY
I couldn't think of a good way to observe people with holiday gifts, so I decided to make up for it by conducting a survey for my Facebook friends. I asked questions like "Do you like to give or receive gifts more?", "Do you have any gift-giving traditions during the holidays? What are they?", "Are you good or bad at giving gifts? Why?", "What is the best gift you've given/received? Why?", and "What's the hardest part about shopping for holiday presents?"

The survey generated a lot of similar answers. About 2/3 of people liked giving gifts, and 1/3 liked receiving them. People who thought they were bad at holiday presents felt that way because they never knew what to get people, and the people who thought they were good at it said so because they got really thoughtful and personal gifts. Many people's gift traditions revolved around family, and special little rituals that they had come up with. A couple other people listed White Elephant and Secret Santa as other fun traditions. For most people, the hardest part about shopping for holiday presents was figuring out the best gift to get, or budgeting their money.

RESULTS:
Matt needs a way to buy gifts for his friends without spending too much money or just getting them random things.

Jill needs a way to navigate around the holiday shopping scene, and a way to find time to get her shopping done while still keeping up with her work.

Emma needs a way to feel less pressured about buying the "perfect gift", and she wants to be able to avoid huge crowds without just being confined to online shopping.

Assignment #2

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I was really excited when we got this assignment, and who wouldn't be? We had to have fun and draw silly pictures!
After the workshop at HUGE, I decided to actually see a show there on Saturday night. There are three shows a night on weekends, but due to timing we could only see one, which was called "The Mess". Basically, it was an hour of different scenes, completely improvised on the spot. The only theme seemed to be "make it as crazy as possible", which they definitely accomplished. It was hilarious, and if the field trip on Thursday didn't make you want to go, I hope this does!

For the mind map, I started off pretty basic, with sub-categories like "holidays" and "winter drinks". However, it got pretty interesting as I continued, and I was surprised at how many sub-sub-categories related to each other! Here it is...

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The three sub-themes that I chose from the mind map are "winter drinks", "sledding", and "Christmas".

The silly pictures were actually a bit more difficult, and not just because of my poor drawing skills. It was tricky combining different winter things to come up with something totally silly, because a lot of them were still kind of related because of the winter theme. Here they are!

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Assignment #1

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The moment I found out the assignment of the week was to create an innovative cookie, about a dozen ideas came to mind.

A random sampling of my idea of an "innovative cookie" includes:
- Cookies made not in an oven
- A savory cookie
- An already-existing food, but in cookie format (this one sparked many other sub-ideas, ranging from curry cookies to a cookie basically made up of 99% candy and 1% actual baking ingredients)
- A cookie used as a container for other ingredients (used as a bowl, a sandwich, or a shell)

Out of all those things, the idea that stemmed the most intriguing options was the "already-existing food" one, and I started thinking of meals that could most feasibly be made into cookies. I am not an experienced chef, and on one baking occasion I literally forgot to add the flour to a batch of chocolate chip cookies. My main concern was to keep my kitchen intact.
After quite a bit of brainstorming, I decided that a meal that was considerably lacking in cookies was breakfast food. My original idea was a breakfast sandwich cookie: essentially, two or three aspects of breakfast in one cookie, separated into layers. I planned for a sweet layer consisting of either French Toast or waffles, a savory layer with some breakfast meat, and a third layer filled with breakfast fruit.
That idea was almost immediately revised. The savory layer idea brought to mind mostly bacon-inspired recipes, which is decidedly un-innovative. This modification narrowed it down to a waffle cookie, which I decided to amp up a little by adding whipped cream and strawberries.
For my recipe, I started with waffle mix and added some ingredients I thought were essential to a basic sugar cookie recipe: eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder. I added less sugar and flour because I figured the waffle mix already included some of that, and I wasn't planning on adding any at all, but the batter was too runny otherwise. To add to the waffle aspect, I added some maple syrup and cinnamon. About halfway through the baking process, I added some chopped strawberries and cinnamon to the cookies. Once they were out, I just topped them with some whipped cream. They actually turned out well, if a little fluffy, and although they obviously didn't look like waffles, they tasted pretty comparable.

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Side note: I wanted to see how the cookies would turn out if I cooked them with something other than an oven, so I stuck a couple cookies into my Panini maker. The Panini maker made them super flat, though, so although they were still fairly waffle-like and yummy, they were too flat to consider them cookies.

Recent Comments

  • tebej001: I think your so would be really helpful with consumers read more
  • wall0752: Hey Chloe! I love the idea for the app. Additionally, read more
  • Josh Thorson: Hey Chloe! Your app ideas seems like a resource that read more
  • aixxx020: I loved when you referenced back to the ten ideas read more
  • armst429: Hey girl, To start off, I'm sorry this is late: read more
  • alfal003: Hi Chloe, Good job with coming up with so many read more
  • bauer548: It looks like your group came up with some really read more
  • bens0468: It sounds like your improv was pretty successful! did you read more
  • Masha: Chloe, Though it was required by the guidelines not to read more
  • boujn001: I'm glad that you interviewed people from different age groups, read more

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