October 2011 Archives

Concept Selection

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Pug-h Chart:
I had to post this adorable picture since Pugh charts make me think of pugs and I love this picture. I cannot look at it without smiling and squealing : ) Sadly, no its not mine, I found the picture online.


Real Pugh Chart:

Product Selection- Disposable strainer bags!!

Product Name Brainstorming:

Similar Products
Saran Wrap

Words that come to mind

Product Names

  • Strain N' Toss

  • Strainer Bags

  • EZ Strain

  • Strain Aways

  • Easy Strain

Elevator Pitch Video: Strain Aways by EZ Strain

*It got a little on the infomercial side, but it was really hard to not go down that route for some reason.

Initial Concept by Brandon:

Improved Detailed Design:

Sketch Model:

'Tis the Time for Idea Evaluation



  1. Liquid-Absorbing Powder
  2. Disposable Strainer Bags
  3. Liquid Removing Vacuum
  4. Sink Strainer Shelf
  5. Water Rock
  6. Silicone Strainer
  7. Table Top Strainer
  8. Slotted Strainer
  9. Food Blow Dryer
  10. Strainer Cage

Background Research: Novel, Marketable, Feasible
*Required pricing (based on cost) was calculated using online pricing research of similar products. Pricing verification determined by asking 4-6 strainer-users, "How much would you be willing to pay for this?" and showing them a picture (or prototype).*

Liquid-Absorbing Powder
Benchmark Products

  • Powder that absorbs liquid for cleaning up spills, $9/lb

  • Diaper powder that turns into a gel when gets wet

Market Survey/Pricing
  • Cost would be approximately the same as spill cleaning powder since it would likely use a similar technology

  • Pricing would be difficult to convince users to pay since every time you strained something, you would be paying for it. I would pay only a quarter or less for each batch of pasta even if it were extremely convenient and my survey results were even less with an average per use cost of 10 cents.

Disposable Strainer Bags
Benchmark Products

  • Ziplock Bags are of similar material and size/structure

  • Coffee filters are disposable and are porous to let liquid through without particles

  • Hard plastic disposable strainer priced at $1 each.

  • Prototype was made as a solid frame with hooks to mount bag to. Similar idea to garbage bags in the garbage can. The only issue was that it was difficult to attach the bag quickly. Hooks may not be the best solution for attachment.

Market Survey/Pricing
  • Pricing was estimated at $3.00 for a pack of 50 bags. In addition it would cost approximately $8 for the solid reusable frame.

  • Surveyed people seemed willing to pay at least the estimated cost, so this could potentially be a successful product.

Liquid Removing Vacuum
Benchmark Products

  • Syringes are used to place water, but in order to do so, you need to take in water. Using this same vacuum technology, it could be used to suck up pasta or potato water. Pricing was $1.00.

  • Water cannon squirt gun designed to suck up water for bailing boats uses similar principles. It does not get clogged easily even though it takes in lots of seaweed and other such particles. Pricing was $15.

  • Used syringe to prototype idea. Tested with spaghetti and seemed to work well. Needed to empty it out several times to get all the water. A filtered tip would probably help keep it from getting plugged, but did not have a big problem with it.

Market Survey/Pricing
  • Pricing estimated around $15 for multiple plastic pieces required.

  • Pricing seemed reasonable based on survey results and strainer comparison price of around $15 as well.

Sink Strainer Shelf
Benchmark Products

  • Sink basket that holds vegetables while drying. Priced at $50.

  • sink-drain-rack-shelf-kitchen-1-small.jpg
  • Strainer/Cutting board that sits over sink when in use. Strainer was flexible to be stored in small space. Priced at $22.

  • HLb-S0If0rIv7kB_PFpuPmNqNqTy7aHZMrNty357bCbznIoyQhqIIcFxrSog3mlbkXcgFNhmtdt7dtkaBCxVJs3e8_JEK6e_J2mmp2LDEfKCPfJe_efgMkDpYJFSRBWUxniKFFtbbjuHEJ5ZUUXzL0K6G-r2sxj1Jt_XG3MNQ9-wPo_vjYSkjiU85i3ejveh.jpg
  • Corner sink strainer. Container that sits in sink and can be used at anytime to strain items. Priced at $19.

Market Survey/Pricing
  • Required pricing estimated to be $20, but possibly more if needed to be adjustable to fit in anyone's sink.

  • Pricing verified as reasonable, but feedback was not positive. Most though it would get in the way more than be useful.

Water Rock
Benchmark Products

  • Super absorbent polypropylene beads in "socks" made to soak up water in flood prone basements. Priced at $15 (for 2 large socks).

  • Diapers contain a powder that is designed to absorb liquid. If placed in a permeable bag, it could stay contained from the food.

  • Used cut up kitchen sponge in net bag to contain material. Sponge was not absorbent enough to produce the intended results. Would need special material that could absorb significant amounts of water rapidly.

Market Survey/Pricing
  • Pricing estimate of $8 per rock. Can be reused (similar to kitchen sponge).

  • Pricing would need to be lowered to have strong market. Alternatively, reuse times could be increased.

Silicone Strainer
Benchmark Products

  • Many similar existing products. Most are silicone in order to be collapsable. The typical market price is $15. There is definitely room for improvement in the cleaning focus though. Since silicone is flexible, it could be significantly easier to clean if designed right.

Market Survey/Pricing
  • Cost would be approximately the same as traditional strainers.

  • Pricing was verified. Due to similar products on the market in addition to the surveys.

Table Top Strainer
Benchmark Products

  • Similar product used for straining tea leaves. Has bowl underneath to catch drips from soaked tea bag. $13.50
    • Cost would be similar to traditional strainer, but slightly more expensive to include bowl.

    • Pricing was below required. There does not seem to be a large enough need for this to overcome the extra cost.

    Slotted Strainer
    Benchmark Products

    • Slotted strainer priced at $12. Although this product exists, I do believe there is a lot of room for improvement. I think that you could design a slotted strainer to be much easier to clean than a hole strainer, but the current designs do not seem to target this.

    Market Survey/Pricing
    • Cost would be approximately the same as traditional strainer (priced at $13)

    • Pricing was easily justified, especially if it was easier to clean.

    Food Blow Dryer
    Benchmark Products

    • Microwave is a similar concept to idea where you put items in and then push a button to dry them. It would use a fairly simple technology though, so should be cheaper than a microwave.

    • Hair dryer uses same technology. Priced at $20.

    Market Survey/Pricing
    • Cost based on technology would be around $30.

    • Pricing not verified. Use was not nearly as much as an appliance such as a microwave, thus not worth the same price. Price willing around only $17.

    Strainer Cage
    Benchmark Products

    • Pot and strainer cage sets made for draining. Expensive and only works with pot purchased. Priced at $150.

    • 2009_01_13-stockpot.jpg
    • Similar to silverware holder I own that sits in sink to allow washed silverware to drain. Priced around $10.

    Market Survey/Pricing
    • Cost would be approximately $10-$15.

    • Pricing verified as reasonable. Average price willing to pay was $14.


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Applying SCAMPER to the following idea, Liquid-Absorbing Powder, resulted in...

SUBSTITUTE-Can I use other ingredients or materials?
My ideal strainer solution does not involve a strainer. I do not like the idea of pouring out boiling water right next to your hands. Instead of a powder, you could have a solid that expands as it absorbs water. This seems to mix with food better (won't change flavor). They could also be dishwasher safe so they were easy to clean.

COMBINE-What can be combined to maximize number of uses?
If the product was small enough to fit into a ziplock, it could be used to keep food like fruit fresh. When fruit or vegetables are washed and not dried completely they have a much higher chance to mold or go bad.

ADAPT-What else is it like?
I picture this product I saw on Kickstarter recently called Coffee Joulies. They are a specially designed material that absorbs heat at first and then slowly releases it to keep your coffee at a fairly constant temperature. This idea could also be used in this design in that it could also absorb and release heat if it's available. This could cool your spaghetti water so you do not get burned and then use the energy to keep the spaghetti warm.

MAGNIFY-Can it be used more often?
This product could be extended to other areas such as "sponging" up water in a boat. This is typically an annoying job, but could be very easy if it just required placing some "rocks" in the bottom of the boat and having them absorb the water. They would be design to have the water evaporate once the water source is removed.

PUT TO OTHER USE-What else can it be used for?
A powder could be used to dry your hands after washing them instead of drying them on a hand towel. This would be significantly more sanitary and could have lotion qualities as well. Picture a Purel-like product that would be rubbed in and the water would be absorbed.

ELIMINATE-What if it had less of something?
If the powder was super absorbent, it could potentially work with food as long as it became large enough particles that could be avoidable. For example, marble sized "sponges" that would also be safe to eat if accidentally consumed.

REVERSE/REARRANGE-What if I consider it backwards?
Instead of wanting to remove water, you could use a sponge-like material to purify water. It would take in dirty water and cause a chemical reaction or have a complex filter that would not allow particles in. Thus, the product would be purified water and the sponge would safely contain the contaminants.

Product Sketches for SCAMPER ideas:


HIT Matrix: Not all the resulting products were closely related to sink/basin theme, but some interesting results turned up.


Blue Sky Brainstorming Sesh

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I found an interesting page online about running a brainstorming meeting (see below).
Research Link

My intentions to get a group of people together that were not all alike was to have a brainstorming session via Skype. This idea was not encouraged though, so I ended up getting a group of friends together.

I really enjoyed the series of events we did in-class for the tape dispenser brainstorming, so I tried to follow that as much as I could.

Step 1: Get into the Brainstorming Mood

First we did some exercises (volleyball warm-up) to increase our dopamine levels and then ate cookies to further inspire ourselves : )

Step 2: Do an initial 10 minute speed session
As in class, after each idea was drawn, it was quickly presented and then laid out onto a table for inspiration.


Step 3: Encourage the Creative Juices

To help mix things up and encourage that no idea is a bad idea, I introduced the negative brainstorming. This made everyone a lot more comfortable since there was no worry to be embarrassed.

Step 4: Finally Cross-Producting
To finish up the brainstorming, I used the same list of cross products I had found for the sink/basin theme and tried to apply them to the specific straining theme.

Total Idea Count: 54
IPM (Ideas per Minute-per person): 0.36 (5 people, 30 minutes)

After all the ideas were formulated, we did some silent sorting. It is very interesting how everyone thinks similarly even when no words are being exchanged. We ended up with the following categories: Improved Classic Strainer, Process Changing, Niche.

To narrow down the results, we each chose our favorite 5 ideas and then I selected 20 of those to be posted below. (each picture also has an added title below it to clarify those that did not get titled when drawn)


Picture 2.png
Table Strainer- Sarah Gilbertson, Speed Session
Interlocking Strainer- Brandon Nelson, Speed Session
Jelly (silicone) Strainer- Sarah Gilbertson, Cross-Products

Picture 3.png
Strainer Cover- Khushal Mehta, Speed Session
Strainer Basket- Nick Kuehn, Speed Session
Disposable Strainer- Brandon Nelson, Cross-Products

Large Slotted Strainer- Chris Hui Luo, Speed Session
Pot with Drain- Sarah Gilbertson, Negative Brainstorming
Collapsible Strainer- Chris Hui Luo, Cross-Products

Absorbing Powder- Sarah Gilbertson, Negative Brainstorming
Spaghetti Strainer- Sarah Gilbertson, Cross-Products
Bowl/Strainer Combo- Brandon Nelson, Speed Session

Strainer Bag- Khushal Mehta, Speed Session
Multi-tier Strainer- Chris Hui Luo, Speed Session
Sword Strainer- Sarah Gilbertson, Cross-Products

Multi-Purpose Strainer- Sarah Gilbertson, Speed Session
The Evaporator- Nick Kuehn, Speed Session
Sink Strainer- Khushal Mehta, Cross-Products

Funnel Strainer- Chris Hui Luo, Speed Session
Two Layer Strainer- Nick Kuehn, Speed Session

Comments: It is a lot harder to actually organize a brainstorming session than it looks. I forgot to tell the participants to title their drawings at first, which made it much more difficult afterwards to remember what each did. Also, its really hard to keep people rapidly producing ideas when they are not used to it. I was a little disappointed that the quantity not quality message did not make it across as much as I would have liked. I think most people have been taught the opposite most of their lives and its a difficult thing to overcome in a half hour.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2011 is the previous archive.

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