Assignment 7


Hello there!

This was the most exciting assignment for me. First of all, I assessed my ideas with a Pugh Chart.


It seems that my top ideas are the click heat and flavor shots. However, I think I'm going to do a color hat analysis for each idea as well.

Red:Emotional, Gut Feelings
Yellow: Positive Optimistic
Green: Creative
Blue: Process, logistics
White: Factual
Black: Negative


Flavor Pods- Awesome, inexpensive to try. I've never had a flavor shot.

Color Change- Neat, no more burning mouth,

Heat Lid- How much would people really use this?

Click Heat- Super clever.

Eco Travel mug- better be cheap and work well


Flavor Pods- Perfect way to enjoy favorite flavors year round. Save money! Convenient and could be used at little coffee stations along with creamer.

Color change- Fun and useful. Helpful for those with sensitivities to temperature and medical conditions.

Heat Lid- No more spilled coffee! Great for offices and people with big houses. Useful for on the go!

Click Heat- Warm up coffee without plugging it in? Incredibly convenient, easy to use, non-toxic, and saves electricity.

Eco-travel mug: If I could get this every-time I went to a coffee shop, I would. It would be better for the environment than current solutions and might perform better too.


Flavor Pods- Explore new and unique flavors from around the world.

Color Change- Could be beautiful art pieces, and create a gorgeous experience for the user. Fractal or baroque designs would really make this idea stand out. Also other revealing or communicative messages could add a lot. Could be used in an awareness campaign.

Heat lid- Colors and designs could really add pizzazz. Also could come with a mug as an accessory.

Click heat- A travel version and an at home version. Have different colors. Accessories such as lids. Use to warm hands.

Eco-travel mug- customizable designs. Other products such as normal cups or normal mugs. Team up with a coffee shop like Caribou Coffee or other franchise. See if Starbucks would be interested in changing the plastic of their mugs.


Flavor Pods: The delivery system is the biggest challenge. What is the final form? A container? A melt-able candy or jelly?

Color Change: What is the best way of applying the paint. What mug shapes do people prefer? Can this be a small scale artisan production? Used in business promotions?

Heat Lid- How do we make the lid fit many cups? What is the best way to do the sizing?

Click heat- I'm not sure if this will work. And if it does work, what is the best configuration. How does one avoid patent infringement?

Eco-travel Mug- This would be best developed in conjunction with coffee houses as an in house product. If it was sold along coffee, it would be more appealing.


Flavor Pods- Single servings are common in many types of foods.

Color Change- This is a well known technology.

Heat Lid- A similar product has failed to get wide adoption.

Click Heat- People often have their coffee cool off an need a good solution.

Eco Travel Mug- Environment is a bigger concern recently.


Flavor Pods- Big companies will provide competition. Hard to get the flavor right. Other factors such as steamed milk factor into flavored coffee.

Color Change- Need to stand out from a lot of color change products. Seems gimicky.

Heat Lid- May not be that marketable. I don't think it has a high value over existing options.

Click Heat- Hard concept for people to understand. Patents cover a lot of the same ideas.

Eco-travel mug: Starbucks' new product is a huge challenge in the ring.


I chose my click heat mug. The idea interested me the most. I went to buy some of the sodium acetate hot pads to try it out. I used a rubber band and attached them to a mug. The results were disappointing. I realized that mug would be better for maintaining heat rather than increasing it.

Tepeo comes from the latin verb meaning "to be warm, to glow, to be in love"



| 1 Comment

Hello once more!

In this post I will be assessing some of my ideas for marketability, novelty, and feasibility.

Marketability Survey

My Survey

So I tried reading the document about surveys but I still found making a survey overwhelming. I had trouble figuring out what were good questions to ask.

After my results came in I made a few observations:

I made the mistake of having an "Undecided" option in "How likely would you be to buy this...?" I found this was the option many people chose. I should have not had that option and forced people into a choice. Or even had a "undecided, but leaning towards yes" and "Undecided but leaning towards no" sort of thing.

I think asking for income range would also have been useful. Someone may not buy something because they have a low income, not because they don't want it or don't think it's a good idea. Some of the ideas had a lot of people think it was a good idea, but then say they were not likely to buy it. If not asking for income, I think I should have asked why people made the choices they did.

I also had a fill in the blank for "How much should this cost?" which was fine for the majority of people, but one person wrote comments like "I would never buy this" instead of answering the question. Some people left it blank. So I saw how free-response can backfire. I did get an interesting range of prices, which I appreciated.

I realized that every once in a while, one of my ideas was poorly understood, given some of the comments. I included sketches of all of my ideas to make them easier to understand, but that didn't always help.

Also, some people didn't finish filling out the survey, so while each question had at least 15 answers, some had 20 and others had 18. To choose the five best ideas, I decided to base it on the mean of the choices people gave me. I also decided to choose it based on how good they thought the ideas were. Since I didn't take enough demographic information or ask why, I don't know what comes into play.


In this blog post, I will present the top five ideas, show the state of the art, cite relevant patents, and assess the feasibility. I used for my price assessments.

Single serving flavor shots
Flavor Pods.jpg

The average price from my survey was $0.86/shot.

Since nothing exists quite like this product, I did a HIT matrix of the features to show there is a precedent.

Infusion beverage product comprising co-agglomerated creamer and sweetener suitable for bag and filter pack brewing
Stipp, US5554400 A, 1995
This patent consists of a single serving combined sweetener-creamer. This patent also covers how the sweetener-creamer would be added to the coffee, namely by immersing the sweetener-creamer into a hot beverage by use of an infusion bag.

Cost assessment:
For a pack of 50
Box: $0.20 per piece
High Fructose Corn Syrup $0.07 lb (use 1 lb)
Food grade plastic: 1.04 per lb (use 0.5 lb)

Raw material cost pack of 50: $0.478
Retail price: $4.78

Raw material cost for one shot: $0.00974 (seems too low)
Retail price for one shot: $0.10

Some of the difficulties with this product will be to find the best delivery system. Ideally, the flavor pod would be in some low-melting-point hard candy or jelly. However, small containers might more feasible. Also, formulating a high quality flavor would also be difficult, since it would have to compete with other well established brands.

Perfect temperature color change mug
color change.jpg

The average price response was $11.04.

Food Related Color Change technology
Of all these technologies, many exist which have a single change to indicate either heat or cold. There are more color change mugs than those I indicated. I could not find something that would be a Goldilocks indicator i.e. neither too hot nor too cold.

Coffee cup with temperature indication
Russo, US20020167989 A1, 2001
There is a patent application that is very relavent, particularly in using a theromochromic ink to indicate hot, warm, cold. This patent differs in that it describes a lid rather than a mug.

Temperature-indicating container
LaGuardia, LaGuardia Jr., US7798706 B2, 2010
This patent describes an insulated container for food and drink with color change indicating the temperature within the container.

Cost assessment:
Plain Mug: $0.70/per mug
Thermochromatic Paint: $147/lb (.01 lbs used)

Total manufacturing cost for one unit: $2.70
Retail price: $21.70

The most difficult part of this product is to differentiate it from many of the color change competitors. There are quite a few mugs that change color when heated. However, this mug is a two color system which shows users exactly when their drink is the perfect temperature. It's also a bit gimmicky, which would make it a frivolous purchase rather than a needed one.

The Heat-keep Lid
heat lid.jpg

The average price from my survey was $5.13

I could find one item which is exactly like mine. The Mug Hug claims to fit 60%-80% of mugs in one of their two sizes. The Mug Hug is difficult to find online and has limited distribution. There are also lids which keep drinks in but you can't sip from. There are many variations of them, mostly with some sort of cute top.

Multiple purpose gripping lid
Hayes, US 3606074 A, 1969
This patent describes a lid for cans. However, it's important to my idea in that the lid is adjustable for many can sizes.This is done through many rings on the sidewall of the lid, each ring decreasing in diameter.

Cost assessment:
Silicone: $1.36/lb (0.25 lbs needed)

Total manufacturing cost for one unit: $0.34
Retail price: $3.40

The most difficult part about this product is showing the added value. Plenty of full cover lids exist, while this one would allow you to drink out of it. Also, the Mug Hug seems to only be available among small retailers and difficult to find online. Many of the online shopping links listed on their website expired. So clearly they aren't thriving, and that might be an indicator that the product isn't desirable.

Click Heat Mug
sodium acetate.jpg

The average price for this mug from my survey was $15.4

Nothing exists similar to my Click Heat Sodium Acetate Mug. I made a HIT Matrix of the products that provide similar functions or contain an essential element, such as being double walled. I included solutions for keeping mugs warm as well as hand-warmers using the same principle or an electric heat.

Hot cup adapted to retain fluid contents heated for extended periods of time
Dorney, US6029651 A, 2000
This patent describes a dual walled cup wherein the inner cup is made of metal (thermally conductive) and the outer cup is made of a thermally isolating material. Between the two cups is a super saturated sodium acetate solution which is triggered by a flexing a metallic material, which causes an exothermic reaction.

Cost assessment:
Silicone: $1.36/lb (0.1 lbs needed)
Borosilicate Glass: $0.318/lb (0.51 lb needed)
Sodium Acetate: $0.452/lb (0.375 lb needed)
Steel: $0.85/lb (.06 lb needed)

Total manufacturing cost for one unit: $0.519
Retail price: $5.19

This product is the most technically difficult to execute and manufacture. To make the steel trigger work properly might be a challenge. The sodium acetate would also have to be leakproof. The cup would have to be dishwasher safe.The effectiveness of this heating method is also questionable and would need extensive testing to see if it would be feasible for warming up a liquid. The temperature of the reaction is 130F and the boiling point of water is 212 F. The perfect drinking temperature of coffee is supposedly 140 F, and that ten degrees might make a difference. This product might also suffer from potential patent infringement.

Inexpensive Reusable Recyclable/Compostable Travel Mug
bamboo cup.jpg

The average cost from my survey is $5.04

Very few travel mugs are recyclable or biodegradable. Starbucks is the leader in this category along with Aladdin mugs. The Starbucks and Aladdin mugs use 5 plastics, which are not always recyclable by curbside recyling. A few products are available in mass quantities for business promotions; I did not include them in my matrix, since they were $100s.

Biodegradable thermally insulated beverage cup
Sobol, US5542599 A, 1996
This patent describes a dual walled beverage cup made of a biodegradable material. It differs from my idea in that it describes biodegradable paper, thus it would not be reusable.

Method of incorporating a promotional item into a dual wall cup
Giraud, US6889455 B2, 2005
This patent is mainly for a way to insert promotional material into a dual walled mug. However, the patent does mention that biodegradable plastic can be used.

Cost assessment:
Biodegradable Plastic: $1.54/lb (0.65 lbs)

Total manufacturing cost for one unit: $1.001
Retail price: $10.01

The cost of this is based on a two layer solution. Some concerns are the competition of the reusable plastic Starbucks' mug which is very inexpensive. Finding the right material and the right design will be essential to put this product in a competitive space. Different designs would have to be considered. For instance, adding a bamboo grip. The product could also be made of glass and easily recycled. To find the perfect combination of features will be a challenge.



Hello again!

This blog post comes in many parts.


It's SCAM^2PER^2 time!

I found this assignment surprisingly difficult. I tried to do about 5 ideas per letter in the acronym. Some of the categories had two good ideas while in others I struggled more. I decided to illustrate one idea per category. However, later on some of the ideas reappeared in the matrix or I just illustrated them anyway. My category is "Hot drinks and their containers" which makes it hard to stay on the winter theme.

My problem statements were:

  1. How might we keep a warm drink hotter longer while still being pleasant to drink?
  2. How might we make the task of cleaning tall travel mugs more convenient?
  3. How might we have the convenience of a to-go cup while being environmentally friendly and cost effective?

Most of the solutions were focused on the first one, though some of them looked at some of the other problems.


  • Glass mug option available at coffee shops, either reusable or recyclable.
  • Silicone cap for normal mug
  • Soak bomb- throw into a tall cup for foaming action and easy cleaning (like denture cleaners)
  • Bottle shaped hot drink cup for travel.

heat lid.jpg


  • Tiny travel french press
  • French press in mug insert
  • Cup with a candle in it
  • coffee/tea taste blend
  • Desk lamp with hot plate
  • Mug/teapot shaped sno-globe

hot lamp.jpg


  • Mini-electric mug heater (like an electric heater)
  • Double walled cardboard travel mug
  • wool sock/fleece covering for mug or mug sweaters
  • Tear drop shaped bottle like "Method" bottle in Target
  • Double walled metal cup- like a thermos
  • Double walled tea pot
  • Flask shaped coffee bottle (curved and kept in a pocket)

Electric Mug.jpg


  • Extra long thin sponge
  • Mug shaped umbrella holder
  • Mug or to-go cup shaped lamp and/or vase
  • Add pocket to cup to warm up gloves
  • Teapot shaped fishbowl (with teatime accessories)
  • French press terrarium

Teatime Aquarium.jpg

Put to another use

  • Mugs as pen holders
  • Travel mug "sippy cup" lid, stop spills and is easy to clean
  • Changeable handles for different hand sizes
  • Mug with slot for pen, snack, etc.
  • Mini-teapot drink out of spout

Changeable handles.jpg


  • Mug with insulating grip but no handle
  • Chemex style personal cup
  • Instant coffee pod (individual servings of instant coffe)
  • Flavor pod- favorite flavor shots at home
  • Color change at perfect temp, change when not too hot or too cold.

Flavor Pods.jpg


  • Disposable mugs with tea or coffee pouch built into the bottom

  • Two Handle mug

  • Mug handles on the bottom

  • Double walled filled with ice mug

  • Decorative stickers for mugs, you personalize your mug!

Rocket Mug.jpg


The Matrix

I wasn't really happy with either matrix, so I made two! I also made them more legible than the versions in my notebook. (By the way I can hear you muttering "overachiever", don't think that I can't)

hit matrix.jpg
bamboo cup.jpg

diamond mug.jpg


I modified and redrew some of the best ideas from the brainstorming session.

coffee stein.jpg
car powered.jpg
sodium acetate.jpg


My top ten ideas! Most of these were already in this post, and I have a bit of trouble deciding between a few. These are in no particular order. I wouldn't be surprised if some already exist somewhere on the internet.

Do you agree with my choices? If there are some you would change, let me know in the comments. :)

color change.jpg
sodium acetate.jpg
bamboo cup.jpg
Flavor Pods.jpg
heat lid.jpg
coffee stein.jpg
Electric Mug.jpg
Rocket Mug.jpg

BONUS: I love this idea even though it's the least winter themed. Therefore, it isn't in my top ten, but I wanted to include it again anyway.
Teatime Aquarium.jpg


Thank you for taking a look at my ideas. This assignment took me a really long time. I think sometimes when I'm pressed for time I tend to focus more and complete things faster. However, I had time this weekend, so I just lackadaisically worked on it and took longer than perhaps I should have. Yet, maybe it's good to practice long marathons of creative idea making rather than my normal sprints.

Now it's time for some tea. ^_^



Dear Sir or Madam,

Welcome to my assignment four blog post.

My brainstorming group consisted of five people besides myself. Unfortunately, though I had every intent to do so, I forgot to take pictures of them.

  • Luka: Photographer and digital artist
  • Carrie: Part-time MBA and full time project manager/consultant
  • Andrew: Physics PhD student
  • Chelsea: Former Chemist, currently High School teacher

I decided to make up to improv games. I had two which both were really fun and worked out well.

My Beetle

The group goes around a circle describing a "beetle" they have. The first person describes their beetle with and action. The next person repeats the previous persons action and the does their own. The next person then takes only the previous action and adds on and so on.


"My beetle likes dancing."
"My beetle likes dancing and stroking his beard."
"My beetle likes stroking his beard and watching Youtube."

I got the idea of this game from a philosophy lecture I heard where the professor talked about ideas. Imagine if every person has a box with something in it they call a "beetle" but they never see anyone else's. The thing in the box could be something different for each person but we all still call it a beetle.

Excuses Game

This game was really simple. As a group, we decided what we needed to be excused from, in this case my brain storming session. Then we went around and each person came up with a reason why they couldn't come. We went a few times around. The excuses went from mundane to ridiculous. My guests started building off each other's excuses which was fun too.

"I couldn't come because there was a T-Rex rampaging on the bridge"
"I couldn't come because the traffic in Minneapolis was even worse than usual due to the T-Rex"
"I couldn't come because I lost my T-Rex"

The Session

The method I used for brainstorming was similar to what we did in class. Each person had their own color, drew and wrote their idea, and said it out loud. However, I had ordinary note cards and we tossed them in the middle of our circle. Everyone sat on the floor in a circle due to space restraints. We also took a break in between sessions to eat.

The first question was based on my problem statement:

Andrew, Troy, Chris, Keesha, and Anna all need a way to keep their coffee warm longer because it cools off before they finish drinking it.

How might we keep a warm drink hotter longer while still being pleasant to drink?

In this idea session, it was interesting to see which people came up with which ideas. Andrew and Chelsea came up with some very interesting chemistry based ideas or ideas involving unusual physical properties. Luka tended to come up with silly ideas that made the group laugh. Carrie and I came up with the most ideas.

We averaged about 0.42 ideas per minute for the 20 minute session.


  • Wearable heaters
  • Devices which heat coffee as it enters your mouth
  • Heating technologies which involve a plug
  • Coffee shop based heating methods
  • Chemical heating
  • Double walled/highly insulated coffee mugs
  • Coverings and sleeves for mugs
  • Alternative energy coffee mug heaters

We then spread out the ideas and voted, making sure that the duplicated ideas would get one vote per idea. I decided to include the top voted ideas rather than my favorites. There were a few ties, so used my best judgement for those.
Green Stars are useful, and purple stars are creative.

car heat.jpg
Carrie and Andrew came up with the same idea
battery cup.jpg
Carrie and I came up with the same idea
coffee stones.jpg

The second was based on a problem statement from just one of my interviews. It was more challenging but also interesting because of that.

Troy needs a way to instill the pride in the art of coffee in new employees because the automatic machines make it harder to know what makes a good cup of coffee.

How might we inspire a love of making coffee in baristas as well as ordinary folks?

I had given the group several problem statements to choose from, and this one seemed the most interesting. I think the group mostly had fun with coming up with strange things rather than practical ones. There was also a lot of overlap between ideas which happened at the same time. I thought this was interesting. Luka and Andrew seemed the most conformable with goofy ideas, and Chelsea seemed the most self conscious. Carrie drew upon her business background a lot.

We averaged about 0.42 ideas per minute for the 20 minute session.


  • Menu changes
  • Barista competitions
  • Use trained judges to provide feedback
  • Hire only passionate and qualified talent
  • Have various taste testing days
  • Provide instructional materials
  • Have special training
  • Use robots/technology to brew or determine the perfect cup of coffee
  • Encourage the use of manual machines
  • Provide a unique and inspiring work environment

The procedure for picking out ideas was the same as previously. Again, I am posting the top voted ideas rather than my favorites or the most practical.

barista trauma.jpg

I got a scanner this week! Hooray! As for the handwriting... your guess is as good as mine.



Hello there,

On to assignment three. My assignment was hot beverages and their containers. I did five interviews, and then staked out a coffee shop to see what I could notice. I also had drinks at two separate coffee shops. I did interviews with strangers, acquaintances, and friends. Strangers had shorter interviews because I was nervous about talking to them. It was easier to delve deeper with friends and take up more of their time.

While it's a good idea to have a set of questions before an interview, I didn't do that. I wanted to focus on listening and following up on things. I worked on asking why people experienced what they did. I worked on delving deeper. I did consistently ask what they liked and what they disliked about drinking hot beverages. Each interview lead to insights for the next interview, and by being nimble, I could incorporate this.

For people I knew decently, I recorded the interview, but for strangers I just sat down and asked questions and took notes. I got a few pictures of drinking cups. I didn't want people to feel intimidated, which sometimes equipment can do in other experiences I've had. So maybe I should have taken more pictures than I did. I instead focused on being observant and taking notes.

Also, apologies about the inconsistent spacing between bullet points. As far as I can tell, the way I formatted them is the same, yet in the final post some have spacing between points and others don't. I don't know why. I also very possibly put too much info from the interviews.

Troy has around 6 years of barista experience at Caribou coffee and now works at the corporate office in Caribou Coffee for about 2 years. He lives in my apartment building, and we've only had brief conversations previously.

  • Due to automatic machines at their locations, Caribou employees aren't developing a passion for the art of coffee making. One manager taught Troy this and then customers went out of their way for him to make them coffee
  • The corporate office is having difficulty finding the right kind of disposable cups. They have three needs:inexpensive, good for the environment, and good performance. One of the needs is almost always compromised on.
  • Troy gets free coffee at work and enjoys using his regular mug. However, it usually cools down before he can drink all of it.
  • He has a thermos bottle that keeps heat really well, but isn't great for daily use.
  • He has a travel mug he enjoys using. It is in the style of a paper cup but is made out of ceramic. It's double walled and dishwasher safe. However, Troy doesn't have a dishwasher and finds it hard to clean.
  • The person in charge of sourcing travel mugs works very hard to sell things that can't be found at target or wallmart. The focus is on high quality products.
  • Troy thinks that the stores should have some sort of ceramic mug for in store customers. There would be issues with clean up. However, this would encourage customers to stay longer.
  • The milk pitcher baristas use has labels for the amount of milk needed in each drink, but they come off easily.
  • Tall thermoses with small openings can be difficult to get the drink exactly right. They take more time because they need more stirring.
  • They use real chocolate in their drinks from Ghirardelli's, they use the heat of the things added to melt it.
  • Ideally, the drink mixes from the way it was poured and therefore does not need to be stirred.
  • Separate out the foam from the rest in the pouring process, using a large spatula to block the foam.
  • In the automatic machines, having the right number of beans in the grinder can be an issue. If there are too few, the amount of beans ground will be off. If it's kept full it works well.
  • Timing is really important to keep coffee from being burned, and the super automatic machines make the importance of timing difficult to realize.
  • Troy uses a travel mug every day and is happy with it, he got it from his workplace when he started there. I noticed the mug was machine washable. Troy had difficulty cleaning it because he doesn't have a dishwasher and his hand doesn't fit inside.
  • Seasonal drinks are a great way to get people to get excited about coffee and to sell other items for a fall/winter theme. Seasonal drinks are great for sales and people will indulge more often if they know it's limited. Some seasonal drinks are too expensive to make and still profit and become discontinued, which makes people upset.

Troy needs a way to keep his coffee warm at work because it cools off to quickly in his favorite mug.
Troy needs a way to instill the pride in the art of coffee in new employees because the automatic machines make it harder to know what makes a good cup of coffee.
Caribou needs a way to have to-go cups that match their values of quality and environmentally friendly while being inexpensive because there are not cups currently on the market which do that.

Troy's Mugs
troy's mugs

U of M undergrad student who gets coffee or hot chocolate about twice a day. I've known her for about half a year, we're pretty good friends.

  • Hot chocolate at night, mocha in the morning. She likes the flavor of these the best.
  • She will go Caribou or Starbucks, because these taste the best.
  • She rarely makes hot beverages at home, because its hard to make it taste as good.
  • She usually uses a travel mug, because it keeps the heat in better.
  • She doesn't like cardboard cups because they don't keep in the heat.
  • Travel mugs keep in the heat for up to 3 hours.
  • Target or Walmart mugs aren't as good as the ones she gets in coffee shops.
  • Cleaning travel mugs are a hassle to clean. Many aren't dishwasher safe, and it's hard to get around the nooks and crannies in the cap. Sometimes the rubber seal will make it hard to clean around. Sliding tops are hard to clean. The snap open tops are easier to clean.
  • The cups are also hard to clean because they are tall and skinny.
  • She a perfectionist with cleaning, but she trusts the dishwasher to get things clean. Travel mugs are often not dishwasher safe.
  • She has about 5 travel mugs, and will forget them in the car or her hands will be full and she won't be able to take it. Then the coffee with dry and be harder to clean later. Sometimes the chocolate will dry on the bottom of the mug.
  • Likes simple travel mugs, with a double layer, often metal with a rubber insulating grip. She likes if it has a cute design.
  • She drinks coffee usually during the school year and the winter when she has breaks more often.
  • The quality of drinks at coffeeshops is much better. She enjoys seasonal drinks like a salted mocha, but they are more expensive so she usually has a plain mocha.

Liz needs a way to get her travel mugs clean easily and not forget them in her car because she leaves them in her car where the coffee dries and the travel mugs are usually not dishwasher safe.

Liz Mug
Liz Mug

U of M grad student who makes his own coffee every day, but will also get coffee from Starbucks regularly. We've known each other for quite a few years.

  • Usually has coffee on hand. He likes a french press, but would want an "insulated french press that doesn't look dopey"

  • Has a thermos that keeps stuff warm for about a day and is a bit too small.

  • Reheating is difficult without a microwave and the coffee usually burns if reheated in the pan.

  • Follows rules from the french press. Boil water, course grind the coffee, stir it with something wooden or plastic. It can sit as long as you want, but the strength usually plateaus after a while.

  • Coffee in the grad student lounge is too expensive, so goes to starbucks.

  • The to-go cups are difficult to drink out of, so he takes off the cap to drink it. The caps will also leak.

  • Recently they got travel mugs, but the top isn't very secure. It will fall off and Chelsea (Andrew's wife) will spill coffee on herself. They aren't satisfied with the top designs because they will get crusty from dried coffee and are very hard to clean. You have to take it it apart to clean it.

  • The travel mug is hard to clean because it's hard to fit your hand in the mug. It's slim to fit in car cup holder.

  • Like thin porcelain cups, thicker are clumsier but less durable. The heat doesn't stay, but often the cup is small enough to drink it before it cools.

  • The hot drink usually cools after an hour and a half if being drunk while studying. Andrew considered this just part of the experience.

  • The thermos they have is difficult to drink from. It has a little pour spout, but that is a place for leaks, and you can't drink out of it. He would wish for just a solid lid.

  • The thermos is hard to clean, and he has to soak it. He will rely on the acidity of coffee.

  • The coffee stains the cup as well, which is hard to clean out.

Andrew needs a way to keep his coffee warm when made in the french press because it will cool off in the press, while he is drinking it, and the thermos can be problematic for other reasons.

thermos cap
travel mug
unsatisfactory lid

Student at Cafe Royal. Someone I didn't know.

  • Drinks hot drinks 3 times a week, usually at home. Makes tea with peppermint, sugar, and milk.

  • Enjoys solid containers such as ceramic mugs.

  • Tea will cool off, will need to reheat it several times in the microwave.

  • Usually drinks to relax, and lets the drink sit for a few hours

  • Wife uses travel mugs, but Chris cleans them. Has sponge with handle and soaks in hot water. Only frustration if they say "Dishwasher safe" but then turn out to be ruined by the washing in the dishwasher.

  • Chris only goes to coffee shops if he really wants coffee or a place to study that's not very distracting. Goes once a month or less.

  • Doesn't like paper cups in coffee shops, because they smell differently and affect the taste of the drink. The ceramic cups have a neutral smell. They also physically feel more solid and keep the drink warmer.

  • He prefers to have easy access to stir sticks so he can re-stir the drink after it settles. He also likes to have easy access to water to drink as well.

Conclusion: Chris needs a way to keep his tea warm in a regular ceramic mug because it usually cools off while he is drinking it an needs to be reheated.

Random stranger at a coffee shop
Student and part time pre-school teacher.

  • Usually gets coffee a few times a week and drinks chai tea lattes, which are difficult to make at home.

  • Coffee shops are convenient due to the fact that she is on campus.

  • She prefers ceramic mugs because they feel "more at home". To-go cups are wasteful and spill easily despite the lid. She will often get coffee all over her hands from to-go cups.

  • She never buys travel mugs because she considers them not worth the hassle and expense.

  • Usually her drink cools down too fast in a to-go cup and she needs to reheat it by microwave. It stays hotter in a ceramic cup than in a paper to-go cup, so she doesn't need to reheat it as often.

  • She particularly likes to warm up with hot drinks in the fall and winter.

Conclusion: Keesha needs a way to keep her drink warm while on the go because to-go cups cool off too quickly but travel mugs are less convenient and cost too much.

A food sciences student who drinks several hot drinks a day.

  • Anna most often makes hot drinks at home and goes to a coffee shop a few times a week.

  • At home, she uses plain coffee mugs. They usually cool down too fast and need to be reheated or she will pour in more hot coffee.

  • She doesn't like the foam to-go mugs because the foam will melt in the microwave. The insulation is better, but the cardboard is better for reheating.

  • She doesn't have any issues with spilling.

  • She has a reusable travel mug, but it's not dishwasher safe. The travel mugs that are good at containing heat are rarely dishwasher safe.

  • She cares about the environment and considers coffee to be wasteful, because of the grounds and the filter.

  • She tries to recycle her coffee cups, but often she ends up throwing them away.

  • Her travel mug is too large, and so she avoids using it not to waste coffee. She will also forget to bring it and it's a hassle to clean. She likes the convenience of to-go cups and not having to clean up.

  • She enjoys the experience of hot drinks, the ambiance and social aspects. She collects tea cups which she describes as "dainty, pretty, crafted, one of a kind, and unique." she enjoys using the cup proper to the drink, such as a tiny one for espresso, and so on.

Conclusion: Anna needs a way to have the convenience of a to-go cup with the experience of other kinds of mugs because she doesn't want to clean up or remember a travel mug but still appreciates the aesthetic aspects of coffee drinking.

Cafe Royal Observations:

I went to a coffee shop nearby to observe both the people drinking and the baristas.

  • The biggest thing I noticed was they seemed to not have good solutions for foam. The barista often used a flat spatula to scoop milk foam onto a drink or to scoop foam off. The coffee seemed to produce foam.
  • Many people had paper cups even if they were staying at the coffee shop. Since the coffee shop had plenty of sizes, it seemed like people wanted the opportunity to take their coffee with them if they didn't finish it while they were there. About half the people used ceramic cups. After about an hour new "large" glass mugs were brought for people drinking in store.
  • One man who brought a travel mug fiddled with the lid twice. It seemed like he wanted to check if it was secure. The drink was also very full, and he had to drink a little before he could get the lid on securely.
  • The coffee shop had punch cards which lead to a free drink. They also had a makeshift filing system where customers left their cards if they were regulars. It was pretty expansive.
  • The barista's didn't seem to have a good place to rest if there weren't any customers. They seemed to read/look at their phones and lean on counters.
  • Occasionally the barista would have to double check on a detail of the order and ask the customer again.
  • The drinks were very full and several customers, including myself needed to be very cautious about this to prevent spills.
  • They had decaf and other related drinks for kids.
  • One barista mentioned that customers came out of their way for the lattes he made.

I also watched Andrew's wife Chelsea make coffee.

  • She boiled water in a kettle on the stove

  • She then ground coffee

  • She put the coffee in the french press and poured the water over it, stirred with a wooden spoon

  • She said there wasn't an ideal time, but it brewed for about 5 minutes

  • She pressed it down

  • They poured it in cups and drank it right away

  • There was some poured in a thermos

  • There was left over without a good place or use

  • The whole process went smoothly

Caribou 1
I got tea at caribou. I found that the plastic cup was rather unpleasant to drink out of for tea. Since tea is also a smell based experience, the lid blocked the smell and therefore the tea didn't taste as good.

Cafe Royal
I got at chai tea late. I story-boarded my experience.

First I ordered my drink.
Order drink

Then I took a careful slurp, because the drink was really full.
careful slurp

Then I awkwardly shuffled my drink over to the table.
awkward shuffle.jpg

I went on to enjoy my drink. I usually drink it fast enough that I don't have any issues with it cooling off too fast.

I then had to figure out where the cup was supposed to go. It was near the exit, which made sense I suppose.
where does it go.jpg

At home
Tea as usual. I have a mug with a little slot which stops the teabag from getting in the water. I will also wrap the line around the mug handle. I usually just drink the tea with the bag in it.
my mug
tea handle


I aggregated some of the top concerns I saw from the interviews.

Andrew, Troy, Chris, Keesha, and Anna all need a way to keep their coffee warm longer because it cools off before they finish drinking it.

Andrew, Troy, Anna, and Liz all need a way to keep their travel mugs cleaner because the shape and lids on travel mugs makes them hard to clean and many aren't dishwasher safe.

Troy, Keesha, and Anna all need a way to have the convince of a to-go cup without the environmental impact because current solutions aren't environmentally friendly enough at a reasonable price and performance.



Hello friends,

Welcome to my Assignment Two blog post! I'm sure your excitement can barely be contained. Wooo! Blog posts!

Pardon my snark, as the things I watched to prepare were "The Colbert Report" and a youtube vblogger called "danisnotonfire". The vblogger is very sarcastic, and watching him to much has rubbed off on me. In retrospect, I'm not sure these choices were the best for getting in a playful mood. Though they were both a bit absurd, they were both sarcastic and sarcasm is rather critical. It's harder to be playful when there is a sarcastic commentary running through your mind.

Also, a side note, I feel like I'm not very creative in these assignments. It's causing a minor crisis in me. Because normally I think of myself as creative, but then I think my brain goes into PANIC PROVE YOURSELF mode. Which is of course the dark nemesis of creativity. The thing is, my brain didn't do this when I needed to be creative in other projects. But when the objective is to BE CREATIVE I'm like "All my ideas are terrible and I'm not creative at all. Everyone is better than me. Wah."

Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I alone in this? Since three of you are obligated to comment, I expect answers to these questions.

Anyway, I decided to make a awkwardly large mind map.

Here you go:

Mindmap full

I realized too late that I have to somehow get it inside my creativity notebook, which is pocket sized. Oops.

Here are some MindMap Close ups:
Mindmap close up 1

Mindmap close up 2

Mindmap close up 3

The Sub-Themes I chose were:

  • Indoor Winter Activities

  • Warming Devices

  • Winter Travel

In coming up with ideas, I mostly did cross products.

So in doing cross products I thought of things often used for winter travel, like sleds and skis. Then I combined them with other things used for travel, such as boots and cars.

This is my Skiboot. The idea is that the skis are retractable into the boot.

This is my sled car, which in retrospect I realized is like a snowmobile.
Sled Car

I also did cross products with things that were warm. I thought of heated floors and heated blankets and came up with a heated rug.
Heated Rug

I also combined an astronaut suit and heating for my body heat suit. In retrospect, making it look like a polar bear would have been fun and cute. If I have time I'll add that to my post.
Heat Suit

Another product I crossed was an ice scraper with a blowdryer.
Blowdryer Ice scraper

Another Idea I explored was a heated foot bath. I have poor circulation, and so sometimes I dunk my feet in hot water to get them warm. The problem is that the water cools off too quickly.
Heated Foot Bath

I also did some of the association exercises. In this assignment, they didn't help me much, but I think it's because I'm not used to that sort of thinking and didn't practice much.
I started with a fire place:


From that, it got me thinking about armchairs. Which led me to this idea. This was partially inspired by extreme tech chairs I've seen on the internet. I realized the descriptions are kind of hard to read. So the features are a Sun Lamp to stave off seasonal depression. Heated seat and heated foot massage devices. A cup holder for hot beverages that keeps them warm. And then a pouch for books and other stuff, as well as a connected screen.
Winter Chair

I did another association map and came up with an idea that very neatly came from it.
Ice boats are incredibly fast due to the low friction of ice, I thought of them for winter travel and then came up with an extreme sport.
ice windsurfing

My last two ideas also came from travel, but more from the desire not to travel, and indoor activities. They were also related to an idea I saw where people who couldn't be together would have synchronized nightlights that you turned off when you went to sleep. They were shaped like little houses, and you knew that your loved one just went to bed. I thought that was a cool idea and worth expanding in other areas.

The idea is that your coffee maker gets a signal to start making your coffee as the meeting starts. Then you can video chat with them while enjoying a hot beverage. You can connect with something physical while also doing something digital.
Virtual Coffee Meeting

My last idea was also an interactive digital analog hybrid. The idea is two chess boards connected over the internet. When one player moves their piece, the chess pieces on the other player's board move automatically. This idea crossed games with distance and being unable to travel.
long distance chess

I realized some of my images are in portrait orientation and thus are not wide enough. Unfortunately, in a long series of mis-events this morning, my laptop battery died before I could re-size the portrait orientation images and I had to finish the entry from a public library computer. Though to be honest, they would be awkwardly big compared to the other entries.


Thumbnail image for Mapside1.jpg

ice wind surfing.jpg

Winter Chair redo



I was forced into creativity by the fact that this is the kitchen in my tiny studio apartment.


If it wasn't bad enough, that fridge doesn't even work. It's a large and unwieldy cabinet and I have another equally small fridge in the corner.

I named my cookies "plookies" because they are pan cookies. The first one's also had plum, and thus the name sort of made sense at that point. My first set of cookie iterations went much better than the second. But that's okay!

Plookie 1.0

This was the most delicious cookie I made.
1 c ground almonds
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c chocolate flavored whey protein
dash of salt
1/4 c of milk (this made it too watery)

Mix, then cook in covered nonstick pan at low heat.






Now, we make plum sauce!

Cook 4 large plums with a dash of sugar at low heat. For more effective cooking make sure to cut them up finely. I didn't do this and it took forever.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3, finished! Took about an hour.

Now put the plum sauce on the cookies. Add a few drops of lemon juice to each cookie for a bit of zing.

Then temper* chocolate using a double boiler and cover the cookies. I used a regular bag of chocolate chips and had some left over.

My makeshift double boiler... worked surprisingly well.

Then cover the cookies in chocolate! I'm not sure the best way to do this, mine ended up with too thick a chocolate layer... but they were delicious.


Wait until the chocolate is dry, then refrigerate. If you have a large enough fridge, you can cool the chocolate there.

*look up how to properly temper chocolate. I sort of followed the directions and it worked out fine. Chocolate is very easy to burn, so be careful!

Plookie 1.1

Nearly the same as cookie one with a tablespoon of instant coffee mixed the dough in. Tasted about the same.

Plookie 1.2

Take the cookie dough and add chocolate chips! Pretty tasty! No jam or chocolate coating on this one. I cooked these with adding a tablespoon of water into the pan to make it steamer. This made them have a little more volume.



Plookie 2.0

Plookie 2.0 was supposed to be a variation with strawberry filling. I cooked down some strawberries:


However, when they finished, they smelled bad and tasted weird. I tried adding sugar, but couldn't help them.

So I gave up on the strawberries. I looked around my kitchen and found apples instead.

My recipe went like this:

1 c ground almonds (same as before)
1/2 c whey protein powder
1/2 brown sugar **
3 eggs **
1/4 c greek yogurt**
1/2 oats **
dash of salt


Cook on low in covered pan for about 20-30 minutes, flipping once.

For the first cookie, I added apple chunks to it. The apple chunks were good, but the rest of the cookie was too dry.

**all ingredients varied from last time. These allowed the cookie to be less flat and more rounded. It was also less pan friendly.

Plookie 2.1

Add 1 c of pureed apples (honey crisp) to make the cookie less dry.


Still missing something.

Plookie 2.2

Add some chopped almonds, about 1 c

Almost, but needs something more.

Plookie 2.3

Add chopped apples (honey crisp)

This one tastes pretty good.

Plookie 2.4

Try while eating with some chocolate on top. Doesn't taste great.

Final cookie is Plookie 2.3



Notes on creative process:

Right away I knew that without an oven I would have to use a stovetop or toaster. A toaster seemed less manageable, so I decided stovetop. I covered the pan to make a more "oven" like environment.

Flavor brainstorm: coffee, chocolate, raspberry, blueberry, orange, spicy, yogurt, creamy, almond, pomegranate, hazelnut, nutella, plums

In order to differentiate from a pancake, my first cookie had a layer idea. The flavors I chose complemented each other really well. I tried to make the bottom crunchy. I based the first cookie on stuff I already had in my kitchen. I didn't have flour which is why I made the ground almond-whey combo. I had in the past made flourless torts using ground almond. The chocolate whey powder was an experiment.

For my next cookie, I added 1 more egg for volume remember that instant brownies could have an extra egg for "cake-like" brownies. I also used greek yogurt instead of milk to make them less watery. I added oats for fun. I switched to brown sugar also just for fun. Then you can see the process of trial and adding things to make the final cookie. The layering idea didn't work with this one because the cookie had too much volume and the chocolate didn't pair well with it.

Recent Comments

  • boujn001: I really enjoyed your pitch video, it was very well read more
  • bost0131: Your pitch was very well done! Like the other person read more
  • bruex015: First off, you did a very good job with the read more
  • burks032: Hey! First off, I enjoyed the highly detailed explanations of read more
  • degro085: First of all, sorry for the late comment! My grandma read more
  • cospe002: Zophia, I was surprised by the Mug With Handles On read more
  • dyexx061: I really like the way you introduce your blog to read more
  • enins001: You certainly followed the appropriate format, congratulations! You did more read more
  • hafte004: You have a lot of good interview notes here, I read more
  • fadne019: I'm am absolutely impressed with the amount of time and read more

Recent Assets

  • tepeo.jpg
  • Puegh-chart.jpg
  • click-heat.jpg
  • Flavor-pods.jpg
  • Reusable.jpg
  • Heat-keep-lid.jpg
  • Color-change.jpg
  • Graph.jpg
  • sip.jpg
  • color change.jpg

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.