Assignment 4


For this assignment, I sent out a plea for help on Facebook. Within a few minutes, my group was forming. One guy commented, then his roommate wanted to help, and voila! I had a group of guys all in the same house. Scheduling was made easy! I let them know the two problem statements I wanted them to be thinking about:

1. Natalie is a hockey lover who wishes to be able to participate in the sport; however, she finds ice skating too difficult to master.

2. Darien is a girl who wishes her brother's hockey equipment took up less space and smelled better.

I reformatted them into HMW statements:

1) How might we make it easier to learn how to skate?
2) How might we keep hockey equipment from smelling so badly?

Tom is a biosystems engineering major. Kraig is a chemistry major. Mark is a environmental systems landscaping something (his major confuses me). Lucas is a mechanical engineering major - he was not as enthusiastic as the rest, and came up with very few ideas, sadly. I, Hanna, am an interior design major.

I then went to the bookstore and picked up some big, colorful sticky notes. I searched my apartment and came up with a bunch of Sharpies. I came up with a game plan.

To begin: Play some improv games!
1) Dogs are great...60 seconds, then switch partners.
2) Sports train - this is the game I came up with. It involves one person saying a word that relates to a sport. The next person in the circle has to come up with another sports-related word beginning with the last letter of the last word spoken. We went around the circle about 3 times, then the second phase began. I had a tennis ball along. One person began spouting off words related to hockey while the ball was being passed around the circle. Once it passed him twice, the next person had to come up with words related to hockey. This took about 5 minutes.

Then, I explained what we were going to be doing a little more in depth. "Think of an idea. Sketch it, label it, and briefly present it. (If you can't sketch it, just write it concisely in words). It can be crazy, funny, and doesn't have to be feasible!"

Next: How might we make it easier to learn how to skate?
I let this session go for about 10 minutes, then I pulled out an inspiration card to choose a user:
Choose a user.jpg
10 minutes later, this session was done. There were a total of 29 ideas with an IPM of 0.3/person.
Below are the five ideas that we chose to be the best during the categories/multi-vote.

1) Hover Skate (Hanna). Hover feature helps keep you on your feet.
Hover Skate.jpg

2) The Handicapper (Kraig). Bubble/bumper system keeps the skater from falling over.
The Handicapper.jpg

3) Train Track Skate (Tom). It's like training wheels on ice!
Train track skate.jpg

4) Zamboni Pusher (Hanna).
Zamboni Pusher.jpg

5) Nuclear-Powered Rocket Skates (Tom). Just focus on keeping your balance, and the skates will take care of the moving forward part.
Nuclear powered rocket skates.jpg

Second: How might we keep hockey equipment from smelling so badly?

This time, I let the session go until I felt people were a little stuck. I then threw a Brute Think card at them.
Brute Think.jpg
In total, this session lasted 15 minutes. There were a total of 27 ideas, resulting in an IPM of 0.4/person. Below are the five ideas that we chose to be best during the categories/multi-vote.

1) Built-In air conditioning unit (Mark). He didn't know how to draw this, yet it was one of the top-ranked ideas.
Built-In Air Conditioning Unit.jpg

2) Odor killing lamp (Hanna).
Odor killing lamp.jpg

3) Cage washer (Tom)
Cage washer.jpg

4) Super evapo-textile (Hanna). Sweat evaporates instantly and the textile self-cleans to keep smelly substances away.
Super Evapo-Textile.jpg

5) Brine wash (Kraig). Salt kills microbes, so soak your gear in this special brine wash to kill the smell.
Brine wash.jpg

Finally, I had my group come up with "bad" ideas for about 10 minutes just for fun.
They laughed at me and said that's what they had been doing the whole time - however, they really were coming up with some great ideas! I had them mark each "bad" idea with a number 3 so I wouldn't get things mixed up. Below are some of the bad ideas they came up with. This portion had an IPM of 0.2/person.

1) Spike skates (Hanna)
Spike skates.jpg

2) Ryan Braun's "Special Skating Enhancement Pills." (Mark). He likes to make fun of me for being from Wisconsin...
Skating enhancement pills.jpg

3) Skate-less skate (Tom)
Skateless skate.jpg

4) Electric Skates (Mark)
Electric skates.jpg

5) Salt Lubers (Kraig).
Salt Lubers.jpg

This brainstorming session went surprisingly well. Overall, there were 67 ideas, 45 minutes, and an IPM of 0.3/person. I think the IPM would have been higher if everyone had focused a little more - they were a chatty group! They weren't thrilled about drawing, but by the end they were all having a great time. I had to remind them several times to keep things appropriate, but boys will be boys apparently. They also offered to help me out with any other brainstorming sessions I would need help with, so I think all in all this was a success!

I noticed that they built off of each others' ideas. One would say "rocket skates," and another would say "nuclear powered rocket skates." It was interesting to watch people unrelated to design follow the same pattern the in-class brainstorming sessions follow!


I like how you provided context for the assignment throughout your blog post, like adding the people's backgrounds and then writing a little analysis of the results at the end. I also thought your game was creative, especially because it related to sports, which kind of led into your brainstorming topics. Your "how might we" questions were good, although the second one could be seen as kind of leading (what if they thought most hockey equipment smelled great?). It would have been nice to have your second question go a little longer, even though you said they were getting stuck. Maybe a broader "how might we" statement could have generated more ideas? Also, did they vote on the most useful and creative ideas? You could have added something about that. Good work though, and it seems like you got some great ideas!

Good job with the images on this post -- they were clear and really made the sketches stand out. I One thing that would have been nice to see in you post is an image of the group together mid-session to get an idea as to the environment they were in, time of day, etc. These factors can play a major role in the idea generation process (I learned this the hard way when I asked my group to do the activity on a Sunday night, when they apparently were exhausted from a long weekend of travel. I really needed to get them going to start thinking creatively.) I liked your "Sports Train" game -- it was kind of like the game I came up with, which was a modified game of Scattergories. It also helped that the game theme matched the theme of your brainstorming session, which I bet aided in the quality of the idea generation. I guess one nit-picky thing would be to, in the future, try to get a group of people with a little bit of variance in their backgrounds (i.e. not a group of roommates). I had a hard time with this too in a short period of time, but I just think its something to keep in mind if you were to do another brainstorming session in the future.

You did a super thorough job doing the brainstorming, and telling us what you did! I think posting to Facebook to find a group was a great idea; I had a terrible time coming up with a group in person.

Doing the bad idea portion is great, but would be more useful if you did it near the beginning, rather than the end! I think it would get people loosened up and ready to give any idea, good or bad, without worry of being judged.

I'm curious whether you felt you needed the inspiration you gave your group, or did you just decide you were going to do that and did it whether or not it was needed?

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This page contains a single entry by degro085 published on November 18, 2013 11:32 AM.

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