Assignment 4:


How might we better hang Christmas lights?

How might we better store Christmas lights?

Based on problem statements developed through research and interviews last week about the topic of Christmas lights, I chose the two above and held a brainstorming session to develop ideas on how to fix them. My brainstorming team consisted of a group of my friends: Luke, Matt, Adam, and Miranda. I participated as well as facilitated the session.


Before we started the brainstorming, we tested out an idea generation game that I made up. To start, a theme will be given. We used outdoors. For 2 or 3 minutes, the participants write down all the ideas they can think of that fit into the outdoors theme, similar to developing a mind map (exercise, trees, water, sun, camping). After those two or three minutes, an adjective or verb descriptor is given. For outdoors, a natural adjective can be green. The participants then narrow their focus to green things outdoors (grass, leaves, gardening, solar power). These can be the same things as before, as well as new ones. Finally, after a couple minutes, another adjective or verb is given. We could say living (algae, grass, lizards, plants).

The thought is that the activity works with convergent thinking, associations, and pushing to develop different, more creative results. Towards the end options will seem limited, and hopefully the participants can be clever and push the bounds to come up with creative solutions.

Following, we completed the two brainstorming sessions. The second session seemed to go much more smoothly than the first. To start a couple of the participants were hesitant and critical of other ideas in spite of the directions otherwise. Looking back it would have been wise to do a quick five minute brainstorm for some random topic beforehand in order to get them more comfortable and aquatinted with a successful brainstorm. Regardless, we had a pretty successful session and came up with a number of creative and interesting solutions to the problems at hand. We ended the first session with a .35 ipm (ideas per minute) and the second session with a .45 ipm.


After we got done with each session we took the ideas generated and sorted them into categories. The categories ranged from the pretty straightforward 'stringed lights for trees' to the bizarre 'genetically developed trees'.

From there we each marked three ideas we thought were the best, whether it be because it was very novel and creative or particularly adept at solving the solution. From this, the top five in each of the problem statements were chosen. They are shown below.

How might we better hang Christmas lights?
Attach two points to the gutter and pull the lights across like blinds. Credit: Zach Fadness
The lights will float by using semiconductors. One of the more out there ideas, but super novel. Credit: Matt Ries
The lights are netted. You blanket it around your tree. Credit: Zach Fadness
The lights are wound like a spring. Starting from the top of the tree, you pull it down and it holds tights around the tree. Credit: Luke Mallory
Again from the top, the strings of lights roll out vertically using gravity to hang on the tree. Credit: Adam Kubat

How might we better store Christmas lights?
Lights wrap around rods that are then able to hang up in a closet. Credit: Adam Kubat
Plug the tree in and an electromagnet runs. Attach individual magnetic lights to the tree to use. Storage is in a box. Credit: Zach Fadness
The lights are in rigid segments for gutters. They unattached and are stacked to store. Credit: Adam Kubat
The lights unroll to be rigid, but upon bending roll into a spring, similar to the snap bracelets. Credit: Miranda Moen
When done with lights for the season, put them in a flexible coating, then wind them up and avoid tangles. Talked about vacuum sealing them as well. Credit: Adam Kubat


I personally really adore Christmas lights (I have some hanging up in my room) and am so jealous that you got them for your topic to research. I liked how took individual pictures of everyone who participated in the assignment. It was a good addition to the blog so we could feel just a little more connected with the people involved.

I thought your game was an excellent choice given the type of assignment this was and the task at hand for your participants. It related to what they were going to be doing with your theme of Christmas lights and probably helped them get their brains in the right mindset for the activity as well as get them thinking outside of the box.

My group had the same issues that yours did once the second brainstorming session came around. I did mine in 20 minute intervals and I think after the first 20 minutes of trying to think up as many ideas as they could, their brains were completely fried. I agree that maybe 5 or 10 minute sessions would be better.

Your picture formatting is really good. I like how you were able to make them appear with a transparent background. It helps give your blog a good flow. However it was kind of hard to decipher what was going on in a few of the products pictures. A few looked like random scribbles and I know that's not really your fault because you didn't draw them. It was a good touch to add the descriptions to them because that helped me understand what exactly these products were. What I did was that I redrew the top choices to make sure I fully understood what the idea was that the creator invented. Also maybe rephrase your how might we statement to "how might we hang Christmas lights better" just because it sounds awkward the way you originally wrote it.

Overall I think you have some great material you'll be able to work with during the rest of the semester. My personally favorite product was the lights that worked like blinds. I think that one is definitely do-able and would be very efficient for putting up lights.

You seem to have put a lot of thought into your game, and it sounds like a great warm up to the brainstorming activity.
I enjoyed the quality of your pictures. It was cool how they blended into your background, as if they were actually drawn right onto the post.
It would’ve been nice if you wrote the description of what the pictures were before the actual pictures were posted. For example, I was curious what the 2nd big picture in you blog was of – obviously I knew they were ideas from the brainstorming sessions, but are they just a random selection of them? Or a sorted few? Then after the picture you wrote about the categorizing that happened after the brainstorming but it would be helpful if that was written before the pictures so the reader knows what’s coming.
I appreciate that you explained the ideas. Again, kind of like I mentioned before, I think it would be better if you described them before the pictures appeared. To me that would make it easier for the reader.
Maybe you could write something quick at the end of your post, summing everything up.

Overall, good job!

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This page contains a single entry by fadne019 published on November 17, 2013 9:12 PM.

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