Idea Selection & Pitch

Pugh Chart
I ended up using 6 categories to evaluate my final 5 product ideas. These were: novel; feasible; marketable; Can I communicate the idea clearly?; Is there a clear need?; and How unique is the idea? I used the slim boots idea as the baseline product, and gave each idea a rating of plus, standard, or negative for each category. The idea that I chose to pitch was the reflector boots.

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Final Product
Reflector Boots
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I brainstormed all of the qualities of these boots, thinking about my target market, to come up with a good product name for this idea. I settled on the name VisiBoots.

Elevator Pitch



NMF Evaluation


Survey Results & Top 5 Products

I conducted a survey about my top 10 ideas using Google Forms. I asked participants whether or not they would buy the product based on a sketch and a short description, and if they would buy it, how much they would pay for it. Based on these results, I selected my top 5 ideas. The ideas were modified slightly based on feedback from survey participants, and new sketches are included for each idea.

Product 1: Attachable Shoe Grips

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Product 2: FlakePhoto Camera

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Product 3: Snowshoe To Go

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Product 4: Slim Boots

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slim boots.png

Product 5: Reflector Boots

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reflector boots.png



Product 1: Attachable Shoe Grips

There are a lot of similar products out there to this idea. However, there are none in a lower price range that appear to be able to be worn outside and inside. The majority of products have larger spikes on the bottom that would not be functional on carpet, tile, etc.


Product 2: FlakePhoto Camera

There are no products exactly like this on the market. There are mostly adaptations to other technologies to capture microscopic images, which range from an iPhone attachment to a DSLR lens. To make this most novel, it would probably be best to develop this as an attachment as well as digital software to use with it.


Product 3: Snowshoe To Go

The ides of a collapsible snowshoe seems to be fairly novel. There are not many similar products on the market, and none targeted at students.


Product 4: Slim Boots

The closest product to this idea are five toe shoes. However, these are not developed for winter or snow, so there is definitely a place in the market for Slim Boots.


Product 5: Reflector Boots

There are really no boots on the market that specifically address the issue of nighttime visibility. Adaptations could be made by consumers to current products, but there is an open spot in the market for reflective, high visibility boots.


Patent Search

Product 1: Attachable Shoe Grips

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 10.07.10 PM.png

Product 2: FlakePhoto Camera

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 10.09.47 PM.png

Product 3: Snowshoe To Go

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 10.01.14 PM.png

Product 4: Slim Boots

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.58.43 PM.png

Product 5: Reflector Boots

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.58.58 PM.png



Product 1: Attachable Shoe Grips

  • Making this product at a lower cost than comparable products already on the market

  • Having an easier to use attachment system that is still durable and reliable

Product 2: FlakePhoto Camera

  • Being able to market an entire camera system to buyers

  • Utilizing current technology and keeping it at a low enough cost to sell

Product 3: Snowshoe To Go

  • Making these sturdy enough to walk on if they also fold in half to store flat

Product 4: Slim Boots

  • Making these warm enough to withstand freezing temperatures if they are thin walled

Product 5: Reflector Boots

  • Finding a large enough market to make a decent profit

Manufacturing Cost Estimates

Product 1: Attachable Shoe Grips
$3 per unit

Product 2: FlakePhoto Camera (Lens)
$70 per unit

Product 3: Snowshoe To Go
$36 per unit

Product 4: Slim Boots
$20 per unit

Product 5: Reflector Boots
$31 per unit



Structured Ideation

Existing Product

Snow Boots
hunting boots.jpg



Idea List

  • Sandpaper bottoms- more griping

  • Canvas covered rubber on the bottom for more traction

  • Similar inner soles to tennis shoes - more comfort for long-term wear

  • More foam-like sole for more comfort (less hard rubber)

  • Chargeable wheels, less personal energy used for travel

  • Chargeable for stored heat

Best Idea- Sandpaper Soles
Can I change its roughness/materials?
Adapt the texture of sandpaper/gripping properties of sand to increase boot traction.



Idea List

  • Shovel boots

  • Salt sprinkling boots

  • Tracks and skis like a snowmobile, remote controlled for movement

Best Idea- Salt Sprinkling Boots
Can I merge it with other objects?
Combine with snow plows and lay salt as you walk around.



Idea List

  • Make boots similar to polar bear paws- insulated fur-like lining, textured padded bottoms for comfort

  • Chunky metal texture for traction - like snow tire chains

  • Similar chemical properties to salt as a coating on soles- for melting ice

  • Contraption that shoots up your legs for balance when slipping - like ABS breaks

  • Electronic system that takes over control when its slippery - assesses ice conditions for your movement - autopilot system

Best Idea- Salt Soles
What ideas can I incorporate?
Incorporates the chemical structure of salt to melt ice as you walk.



Idea List

  • Make smaller, and multiply checkered pattern on soles for more traction

  • Make laces thicker to make them more durable

  • Make soles thicker and more shock absorbant

  • Increase the thickness of the flannel/fuzzy lining for more warmth

Best Idea- Thicker Soles
What can I make bigger or higher?
More shock absorbant and gets your feet higher out of thick snow covering.


Put to Other Use

Idea List

  • Too heavy and chunky for elderly people - make boots more streamlined for easy walking

  • Hard to lace up if you don't have full use of your hands - velcro? mechanism to lace them up for you? slip on? low top boots?

  • Can a similar format be used for dog shoes? Rubber traction, fleece warm lining
    Could a format similar to dog shoes be used for those with disabilities? More fabric-like structure, easy velcro on secure

Best Idea- Fabric Booties
How would people with different disabilities use it?
Make them easier to put on, and harder to slip off for the elderly.



Idea List

  • Bulk could be eliminated from the base to make boots more lightweight and easier to get around in

  • Laces and eyelets could be eliminated and replaced with velcro or elastic

  • They could be made out of all one material rather than two, all rubber or all canvas

  • The top half could be stretchable material to eliminate a closer entirely- make them slip on

Best Idea- Eliminate Material
What if I made it smaller?
Take away material from the sole to make them lighter and easier to move around in, still keeping traction and water proof qualities.



Idea List

  • Rubber on the inside and flannel on the outside

  • Rubber eyelets and a metal sole

  • Rubber closure and a metal toe

Best Idea- Rubber Closure/Metal Toe
Can I interchange components?
Stretchy closure to eliminate the need for laces, and a reinforced steel toe.


Table-Based Idea Generation

HIT Matrix
I created a HIT Matrix to cross components of snow boots with components of a television.


Idea 1- Button for Auto-Lace Up
Power Button/Laces
Automatic locking system, similar to a deadbolt on a door, that go across the tongue of the boots.


Idea 2- LCD Reflector Panels
LCD Screen/Canvas Top
Light up panels for safety at night.


Silly Ideas into Real Ideas

I went through my last few blog posts and picked out the ideas that I had selected, but likely weren't feasible as real products. I re-imagined a few of them to be more realistic.

Idea 1 - Water Soled Boots
This idea came from the water bed boots idea from my brainstorm session last week. Rather than have a water bed, these boots would have a gel-like insole, similar to a gel ice pack. This would add extra comfort and support.


Idea 2- Boot Shovel
This is a re-imagined boot plow. This boot would have a retractable blade that would convert the front of the boot toe into an ice pick/small shovel. This would be remote controlled.


10 Feasible Product Concepts

Idea 1- Moped-Mobile
Moped and snowmobile in one, for travel around campus


Idea 2- Adhesive Sandpaper Soles
Added traction to any shoes


Idea 3- FlakePhoto Camera
Take pictures of snowflakes and digitize the pattern


Idea 4- Snowshoes To Go
Snap on snoeshoes to any pair of shoes to walk in the snow


Idea 5- Mitten Mobile Screens
Bluetooth linked mitten screen for your smartphone. Nose useable, rather than your mitten-clad fingers.


Idea 6- Fabric Booties
See Above


Idea 7- Eliminate Material
See Above


Idea 8- LCD Reflector Panels
See Above


Idea 9- Boot Shovel
See Above


Idea 10- Rubber Closure
See Above




Subtheme: Boots

Updated Problem Statements

Problem Statement 1
Janelle, a 24 year old U of M student and Landcare worker, needs a way to work safely and keep her feet comfortable, because she works long shifts on her feet outside in the snow.

Problem Statement 2
Lindsay, a 22 year old U of M student, needs a way to easily get around campus in winter, because she doesn't want to sacrifice her stylish footwear for the protection of snow boots.

How Might We... Statements

How Might We... Statement 1
How might we work long hours outdoors in the winter without our feet getting tired?

How Might We... Statement 2
How might we transport students to class in the wintertime, in style?

The Group

Kathy: Facilitator
21, Student, Graphic Design
Occupation: Retail, Graphic Designer

Kasi (yellow)
28, No College
Occupation: Waitress

Shaina (purple)
20, Student, Graphic Design
Occupation: Waitress, Web Designer

Erin (blue)
25, Student, Sociology
Occupation: Facilities Management

Sarah (pink)
19, Student, Biology
Occupation: None

Andrew (green)
22, Student, Sociology
Occupation: Custodian

Warm Ups

When the group first got together, I introduced them to the two How Might We Statements we'd be working with. I also ran through a few examples from the lecture powerpoint to give them a little more background on what exactly I expected from them during the brainstorming sessions. From there, I gave them their supplies (different colored note cards and markers) and had them draw out a few ideas for each problem. The results were pretty generic, and most of the ideas were the same. For example, several people came up with having a dog sled or Santa's sleigh as a solution.

Invented Activity
After introducing the problems, I had the group play an improv activity. We played a combination of props and red ball. The participants had to pass an object around (such as a paper clip and a straw), coming up with new uses for it (other than what its intended use was). Each person would create a new use, and the person they were passing to would have to recognize and understand this new use before they could accept the object. The group played this game using three different objects, for a total of 5 minutes per object.

Brainstorming Session 1
For the first session the group brainstormed using the first How Might We Statement. (How might we work long hours outdoors in the winter without our feet getting tired?). The group worked on this for a little over 20 minutes, each person passing me their new idea once they had it written or sketched out on a notecard. We read through all of the ideas at the end right before we did voting.

Idea Sort & Voting
I had the group do a silent sort of ideas, similar to what we did in class. Everyone moved the notecards into groups and after about 10 minutes there were pretty clear categories. These ended up being "boot modifications," "alternative shoes," and "out of the box solutions." After the ideas were sorted, I had everyone pick the three ideas that they thought were the most creative. They did this by placing a post it on their favorite ideas.

5 Ideas From Brainstorm 1

Idea 1- Memory Foam Moon Boots


Idea 2- Water Bed Boots

i (1).png

Idea 3- Jet Pack Shoes


Idea 4- Heated Biodome


Idea 5- Cat Paw Shoes

c (1).png

Brainstorming Session 2
For the second session, the group brainstormed off of the second How Might We Statement. (How might we transport students to class in the wintertime, in style?). I ran it similarly, where everyone passed me their notecards when they had an idea completed. This time, I stopped the session at roughly 10 minutes in and read off all of the ideas I had collected. This allowed everyone to hear everyone's concepts and be inspired and build off of them once we continued brainstorming for another 10 minutes.

Idea Sort & Voting
Again, we did a silent sort of the ideas. The categories that emerged this time were "footwear," "things on wheels," "things on skis," and "things that fly." Again, the group picked their favorite three ideas using post it notes as markers.

5 Ideas From Brainstorm 2

Idea 1- Moped-Mobile


Idea 2- Personal Helicopters


Idea 3- Invisible Shoe Covers


Idea 4- Snowtire Hamster Wheel


Idea 5- Adhesive Sandpaper



My subtheme for this assignment is boots, such as outdoor winter boots. I spoke to several different people about boots they own and what they look for in good boots, as well as doing some observation of students on campus and reflecting on my own relationship with boots.


Interview 1
The first person I spoke to about winter boots was a student that works for Landcare on the St. Paul Campus. She explained that she owns two pairs of boots, one being a pair of bearpaws (similar to UGGs), and another pair of heavy duty hunting boots.


She said she wears these boots when it is wet and cold outside, not just when it is snowy. I asked if these were waterproof, since they're suede, and she said she regularly treats them with waterproofing spray, so yes, they keep her feet dry. She said these are comfortable to get to class in and easy to put on, but not good for being on her feet for extended periods of time. She also mentioned that they have little traction, so they are not good for when it is icy outside.

hunting boots.jpg

She stated that these were her preferred boots for extensive outdoor activities. These are the boots she currently uses for work (shoveling snow on St. Paul Campus, as well as other outdoor landcare activities). She said she likes these because they are lace up, which makes them easy to put on and she can secure them around her jeans to keep snow out. She said they have good traction and are very waterproof, however they are very heavy so they can make her tired if she works all day.

She is in the market for a new pair of boots exclusively for work, and would like them to be more like her hunting boots than her bearpaw boots. To improve on the hunting boots she has, she would like them to still have good traction, be water proof, and be lace up. She would also like them to be lightweight, inexpensive, warm, and comfortable, maybe something more like a winter hiking boot than a hunting boot. She said she doesn't care what they look like, as long as they are a neutral color and nothing crazy.

Problem Statement 1
Janelle, a 24 year old student and Landcare worker, needs a way to work outdoors in the winter, staying protected and comfortable because being on your feet all day requires comfortable, lightweight footwear, and working in the snow requires warmth, traction, and water protection.
(She specifically said that she would like hiking type boots that are lightweight so she doesn't get tired walking around at work)

Interview 2
The second person I interviewed was a student building manager for Coffman Memorial Union. He uses boots more to walk to school in and for ever day life, but also must have suitable shoes to shovel off the stairs around CMU while he is at work.


He currently owns three pairs of boots. The first pair (pictured on the far left) is his favorite, being comfortable and practical and showing off his love of Canada. He said these are warm and have great traction, as well as being comfortable and stylish. His one major complaint is that the top of the boot flairs out, letting in snow.


His favorite part of these boots are the tiny maple leaves as the traction grips on the bottom. He likes leaving tiny leaf imprints in the fresh snow.



He made sure to point out the tiny Canadian flags, the moose, and the flannel on the upper part of the boot as contributing factors as to why these were his favorite.


The second pair of shoes in the lineup is his newest, a leather pair he bought online. He bought these more for their style than their practicality. He got these at under $100, and likes that they're fancy without being too flashy. He can wear them everyday, but also with more formal outfits.
The third pair of boots is a pair of Keen hiking boots from REI. He said these were very practical, water proof, comfortable, and warm. He pointed out that they have a rubber toe, which helps him since he stubs his toes all the time. He wears these to keep warm, or to keep dry in the snow or rain.


He said if he were to get a new pair of boots (with no price limit or rational thought), he would want some like these NorthFace boots. He said these were the urban version of heavy duty winter boots, and liked all the features they have to offer (style, lace up, traction, warmth, waterproof). He also loves to wear Birkenstock sandals, so he thought any kind of boot that would form to his foot would be more comfortable than something overly squishy or padded.

Problem Statement 2
David, a 22 year old student and building manager, needs a way to walk around campus and work comfortably, stylishly, and warmly in the winter because there aren't boots that are both practical and offer the comfort that his birkenstock sandals do.
(He specifically mentioned that he liked the comfort level of his birkenstocks and how he would wear them all year if they were warm and covered his feet).

Interview 3
The last person I interviewed was just a student here. She owned 5 pairs of boots, mostly ones that were stylish rather than practical. She owned bearpaw boots (see interview 1) and several different pairs of lace up leather boots in different colors and slightly different styles. She had similar comments about the bearpaw boots as the girl in interview 1, such as they are warm and comfortable, however they have a flat sole which makes them unsupportive for long period wearing. She likes them because they are easy to put on and go with many outfits, however they are not very waterproof and don't have good traction. They are better for cold winter days, rather than snowy ones.


All of her leather boots have pros and cons for each style, but she mostly likes these for the style. They tend to be more supportive than her bearpaws, so she wears them all more often. They also have better traction and are more waterproof. However, they are colder since they have little insulation, unless worn with wool socks or legwarmers. Since these boots all are on the nicer, more expensive side, she doesn't like to wear them when it is snowing outside (especially not for shoveling).
She also owns a pair of white boots specifically for snow. However, these are not stylish or very comfortable for walking long distances, so she doesn't wear them very often. If anything, she will shovel her driveway or wear them on the way to somewhere if it is snowing outside (changing into other shoes when she gets to her destination).

If she were to get new boots right now, she would look for new snow boots. She would go for more protective boots, such as a hiking or hunting boot, that were more practical than stylish. Her current snow boots are on the more stylish side, and are sorely lacking in the waterproof and warmth departments.

Problem Statement 3
Lindsay, a 22 year old student, needs a way to stay protected from the Minnesota snow while getting to class, preferably with style, because it snows often and a lot in Minnesota, causing transportation issues for students.
(She specifically mentioned that her current snowboots are uncomfortable to walk around in and don't offer the best protection from the elements because they are a bad mesh of attempted style and function).

Since it hasn't really snowed yet this year, I had a hard time observing all of the aspects of winter boots. What I did observe, however, was people using boots as a part of their style and to keep warm. Many Female students on campus wear stylish leather boots, such as riding boots and lace up boots. The other large category of boots is warm boots, such as bearpaws and UGGs.

riding boots.jpg

Men don't tend to wear boots, unless it is snowing outside. I saw mostly leather or suede lace up shoes, as well as moccasins.


Again, one of the biggest factors in winter boots, snow, was missing while I was doing this assignment. However, I was able to experience boots in terms of cold protection and in comfort for walking around campus and standing. In evaluating my own collection of boots and my experience in wearing them, I found that I prefer boots that are supportive and allow my feet to stay very warm. I have issues with one of my ankles, so I like lace up boots as they offer that support in walking around. I also tend to get larger boots so I can layer up wool socks to keep my constantly cold toes somewhat warm during Midwest winters. I tend to look for more expensive boots to purchase, such as those made with real leather, because these are more substantial and will last more than a month. I do a lot of walking so my shoes go through a lot of wear and tear. Buying a more expensive product is worth it to me because it can last me several years. (For example, the heels on my favorite leather pair just wore out, and I'm investing a little money in them to get the soles redone because the rest of the boot is still worth using).


One of my favorite things to do while working on homework is watch movies with my roommates. We have a big collection of VHS and DVDs, many of which are movies from our childhood. To get in a playful state to create my winter mind map and come up with some silly ideas, we watched 21 Jump Street and the Lizzy McGuire movie. Watching movies like this always makes me laugh and helps me relax while working on my To-Do list, and usually leads to reminiscing about when we were younger and goofing off.

I chose several different color pens to use while working on my mind map, letting each color stand for a different level of the map. This led to a visually organized map, which is easily understood even though the ideas may be chaotic on the page. Three of my subthemes were Christmas, Outdoor Clothing, and Home Cooked Food.

Mind Map


After I was satisfied with my mind map, I used association mapping to come up with a list of silly ideas related to some of my subthemes. I tried to just write a list of ideas as quickly as possible, not caring how practical or realistic they were. I would look quickly at my map and pick out 2 subthemes and try and relate them somehow into a product or idea. After I had a list of about 25, I went back and picked out 10 I could easily visualize. From there, I quickly sketched out what I thought they would look like, noting any specific materials or features I though each idea would include.

Boot Plow
These boots are to keep your hands free and warm while shoveling, as well as to give your toes some leverage in breaking up tough ice chunks.


Chapstick Fingers
These gloves help combat dry chapped winter lips, while guaranteeing you won't wash or lose your chapstick. It's always at your fingertips!


Cough Drop Pez
Keeping your cold remedies fun and in the holiday spirit.

Thumbnail image for sketch-3.png

Frost-Be-Gone Mittens
These mittens help get rid of that tricky frost that can form on the inside of your windshield.


The Slush-Brella
No more surprise frozen showers while waiting for this bus with this body length, heavy duty body shield.


FlakePhoto Camera
Capture the beauty of natural patterns found in snowflakes with this high speed, heavy duty digital camera. It allows you to digitize the patterns you find in nature!


Tissue Scarf
Never worry about a runny nose while on the go again, you always have a tissue right where you need it. Hands free!


Snowshoe To Go
Don't struggle with big, chunky boots again on the walk to class. You can snap these snowshoes onto any footwear and easily get through any amount of snow.


Boot Grips
These grips are adaptable to any kind of shoe, and will cure your fear of black ice. These will create traction on any winter surface and keep you from falling.


Mitten Mobile Screens
These mittens will wirelessly connect to your mobile device and allow you to use your favorite apps hand free. It uses an interface that is built to be used with your nose, so no more cold finger tips.



Pumpkin-Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies
For this assignment, I started by doing a lot of internet research into different categories of cookies and asked people around me what weird kinds of cookies they loved. I was ultimately inspired by my love of christmas cookies and my love of everything pumpkin. I have always loves my grandma's recipe for thumbprint cookies with jam in them, and wanted to do something similar with unique flavors.


I chose to do a pumpkin based cookie using pumpkin pie filling, adding oats and nuts for texture. I wanted to pair something more exciting with this than just cream cheese frosting, so I explored a variety of fruit flavors. After researching pumpkin flavor pairing online, I narrowed down my window to try cranberry, apple, and chocolate.

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I based the recipe for the cookie base off of my grandma's christmas cookies. I mixed everything together and baked them, taking them out in the middle to create the depression that the jam would sit in.

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I had my roommates do some taste testing to see which flavor pairing was best, and we all picked the raspberry-cranberry preserves. This was the most striking and complementary of the three choices.

IMG_3010.JPG IMG_3011.jpg Finished.jpg

The cookies turned out with good texture and flavor, I had no issues with form or cooking since I based them off of an existing recipe. I ended up with a unique flavor combination and an intriguing form for my cookies.

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Recent Comments

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