Winter, Mind Mapping, and Silly Ideas

For the second week of my creativity class, I was tasked with sketching ten winter-themed product ideas. As an added challenge, these sketches were required to be "silly," with the hope that they would be novel, or at the very least, interesting. Embracing this attitude, I found a frivolous and impractical activity to get myself in a creative mood.

unicycling1.pngunicycling2.pngunicycling3.pngClick here to watch an inspirational montage:

I had never ridden a unicycle previously, and I had a fantastic time. It was challenging, but I was surprised that balancing on a single wheel felt possible. I greatly enjoyed falling and awkwardly pedaling around, so I imagine being a proficient unicyclist would be even more fun.

Seasonal Mind Map

Refreshed by unicycling, I began thinking about the theme of my sketches. I contemplated winter and wrote down as many winter-related things as I could think of. Some notable associations were ice palaces, ugly sweaters, and the Northern Lights. I was required to choose three sub-themes of winter that I will explore later in the class. I chose warm beverages, shoveling, and the danger of thin ice.


10 Silly Ideas
I used a variety of methods to imagine my silly winter products. Some resulted from idea generation techniques learned in my class. Others were spurred by a connection I saw on my Winter mind map. Many were developed by simply doodling and enjoying myself.

One of my favorite ideas initially began as an attempt to combine snowshoes and the bellows of a fireplace in an interesting way. I considered how snowshoes interact with the snow on the ground and how bellows take in and release air. I suddenly thought of a practical winter-related problem, shoveling, and designed Vacuum Shoes. The user walks along her snow-covered driveway, vacuuming the snow into a backpack. The backpack then melts and purifies the snow, converting it to delicious tea.

VacuumShoes.jpgAnother idea came from the desire to stay warm while walking to class. I designed the Portable Fireplace as a rolling companion to provide warmth on the go. I began adding features, and the product became the winter equivalent of a summertime beverage cooler.

I considered the modifications drivers make to their car tires in the winter and wondered if any similar changes could be made to a snowboard. I ended up sketching a snowboard with a platform and rolling tread system, similar to a tank or snowmobile.

SnowboardTreads.jpgThis series of sketches depicts the transportation issues facing snowpeople.

SnowmanMover.jpgAnother product idea involves a scarf threaded with small tubules, allowing it to store hot beverages. The warm liquid keeps the user's neck warm, and the positioning of the scarf allows easy access to the tasty hot cocoa within.

CocoaScarf.jpgBlankets that taste like hot cocoa. Enough said.

This sketch depicts an electronic Christmas tree that can send and receive digital gifts.

iTree.jpgRather than melting snow with salt or sand, I thought it would be better to melt it with eco-friendly gas before it even hits the ground.

Thinking about snowflakes and how they interlock to form shapes, I considered snowflake-shaped nanoparticles that could be used in manufacturing. Alternatively current manufacturing processes could be used on snow. I envision a snowflake 3D printer that makes snow sculptures.

This sketch depicts a mold for making a slide out of ice. Ideally a whole frozen playground could be made to last the winter.



Proud of you for taking the first steps to your career in the circus! (I'm a performer myself and always encourage others to get in their). The dynamic shot of you on the unicycle, possibly falling, is priceless. Certainly a fun activity to get you warmed up.

I think warm beverages should be a favorite subtheme for everyone in this class, who doesn't love a good mug of cocoa when it's subzero? I think my favourite of your silly ideas would be the thermos/hot cocoa scarf. I imagine branding it as a stylish version of the beer can hat. And warmer.

Did you take product sketching? If not, then don't worry about your technique for committing these to paper so much. But if you did, so much hatching! and no construction lines! or line weights! (I hope you can hear my teasing voice in all this).

Congratulations, you did a silly thing and came up with appropriately silly ideas.

I love the Unicycle club! Not a great unicycler myself, but I'm good friends with Brett the founder of the group. Cool!

I liked how a lot of your ideas were not just one product, but involved many different scenes/steps. You can tell you spend a lot of time on each sketch. Great work! Couple things to improve: Some of the sketches have a lot of words (that are very small) and its hard for readers to quickly understand the idea you are trying to convey. Having titles that are quick and telling of the idea would help all your sketches!

Overall, the design of your blog is good. Maybe just high light some of the breaking points, to signify new content.

First of all, I love that your fun activity was so engaging. You tried something you've never done before and that was a great way to get yourself ready for this assignment.

First of all I was to say that I think you are super creative! Wow, your ideas were really interesting and fun to read! I loved all your pictures and I thought you were very descriptive as well!

One thing you could do to make your blog even better is to just design it the way Barry talked about the other day by cropping your photos. Your blog is already set to look very professional but cropping the photos would make it that much better.

Overall, great job with this assignment, I was so impressed with your product ideas and wish they could all be created for real! :)

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