For new readers, here is a brief summary of my previous blogs..
Problem/How might we statements:
- Non-wood fireplace users need a way to create a fire within their home that is as realistic as possible, because they would like to take advantage of modern technology while still maintaining the authenticity of real fireplaces. How might we make gas fireplaces (and other non wood burning fireplaces) more authentic?
- Wood burning fireplace users need a way to make the fire starting and cleaning routines more efficient because wood burning fireplaces require more maintenance than other types of fireplaces. How might we make the process of using real wood fireplaces more efficient?
Top 10 Ideas:
- Adjustable noise soundtrack for artificial fireplaces (crackling and sizzling sound of burning wood)
- Adjustable scent emitter for artificial fireplaces (pine, cinnamon, wood fire smell, etc.)
- Tool specific for marshmallow or hot dog roasting in fireplace
- Multi-function tool for wood burning fireplaces (lighting fire, brush or vacuum for cleaning up ash, etc.)
- Wood burning fireplace tools with ergonomic handles made of silicone
- Combined wood storage and paper shredding device for fire starting
- Combined air blower and water sprayer for cleaning out wood burning fireplace after use
- Wood burning fireplace tools made of clay to add lightness and aesthetic variation
- Pinching device on the end of a poker tool for wood burning fireplace sets
- Integration of tool and wood storage in the design of a wood burning fireplace
To receive feedback on these ideas, I created a survey on SurveyMonkey.com. I sent it out to a few of my friends and family, and had them send it out to people they know as well. My survey consisted of 10 questions:
- About how often do you use a fireplace?
- Please rank the following ideas from best to worst by selecting a number for each choice. Remember what your top choice is, you will use it to answer the following questions.
- Please describe how your top choice from the last question might look as a product.
- How likely is it that you or someone you know would buy this product?
- About how much would you be willing to pay for this product? (Please enter a whole number. Enter the number of dollars you are willing to pay.)
- How useful is this product?
- How innovative is this product?
- What do you like most about this idea?
- What do you like least about this idea?
- What changes would most improve this product?
To establish how relevant the topic was, I wanted to include the graph from the first question. (Asking how often the respondent uses a fireplace).
The graph shows that there will be market potential due to how often most people use fireplaces. It also shows that there will be some variation in the answers, since at least one person does not own a fireplace at all.
The second question, in which I asked my audience to rank the 10 ideas from best to worst, was very helpful as far as seeing which ideas I should move forward with. For the point system, I looked at everyone's top 5 ideas and delegated number 1 ideas with 5 points, number 2 ideas with 4 points, and so on. (Numbers on x-axis correspond to list above). The results are as follows:
As can be seen on the graph, the top 5 ideas are: Adjustable scent emitter, tool for marshmallow or hot dog roasting, multi-function tool for wood burning fireplaces, adjustable noise soundtrack, and an integration of tool and wood storage.
- Existing patent: Robert E. McCarthy, Scent Emitting Systems, September 20 1984
- Biggest concern: Deciding on a material choice, how it would be constructed
- Cost estimate: If using wax and fragrance oils, and fireproof material: $15
- Existing patent: Dominic H. Lastoria, Fire Sound Simulator, August 11 1997
- Biggest concern: Where/how it would be installed
- Cost estimate: $30
Tool and Wood Storage
- Existing patent: Jimmy H. Erskine and Hal E. Martin, Organizer rack for storage of firewood, kindling, newspaper and fireplace tools, November 24 1981
- Biggest concern: How it would be installed, balancing non-traditional with utilitarian
- Cost estimate: $80
- Existing patent: Todd Russell Ingram, Friction Grip Fireplace Tool, April 22, 2004
- Biggest concern: Combining functions in a smooth and aesthetically pleasing way
- Cost estimate: $35
Marshmallow/Hot Dog Roasting
- Existing patent: Michael McGuigan, Marshmallow Roaster, June 11 2008
- Biggest concern: Safety and ease of use
- Cost estimate: $15