For this assignment I chose to focus on the floor mat as my archetypical product. I had generated a lot of ideas from my focus group for keeping windshields from icing over or cleaning them once they had, but since we had practiced with ice scrapers in class, I felt like many of the ideas I came up with would be much too similar.
With that, here's Part 1: Application of SCAMPER
Change grooves to outlets that run to a reservoir
Clean the shoes before they enter the car: brushes underneath
Prevent dirt from leaving shoes: shoe covers
Mat made of absorbent material
Custom fitted mats
Change the thinking - What if they made your car cozier? At the time, I didn't know how I would go about this, but I felt it was important enough to keep in mind throughout these exercises.
I struggled with the combine prompt a bit. If the product is only one piece and one material, how do you combine? I made myself an association map, and while it highlighted areas that I could change, I struggled to see opportunities for combination. Then I thought about maximizing the number of uses and combining different talents. What if I could combine the talents of someone concerned with making people feel comfortable and someone who was concerned about keeping cars clean? Overall, I came up with:
A two part system where one layer seals to the floor, and an attachment similar to a memory foam bath mat goes on top
A floor mat made of material stiff enough to act as an emergency shovel
For this prompt, I first thought about all of the things I could think of that similar in either function or form to a car floor mat.
When painters want to prevent paint from getting on an edge, they use painters tape. Can I tape off the edges where the mat might not cover?
I realized when thinking about biomimicry that drivers had different needs for their floormats in different seasons. While snow might be a concern in the winter, sand might be a concern in the summer. Could my idea address both?
I realized that one way I've often cleaned my shoes is wiping them on the grass. Grass directs liquids down towards the soil and brushes against things that slide over it. It is also a pleasant sensation for many people to walk on grass barefoot. Grass-like floormats might not be a bad idea.
Attachments for different seasons
Oversized grooves and edges
Covers the seat too
Heated for foot warmth
Put to other use:
Floor protector for under wheeled chairs (if ridges minimized)
Dish drying mat
Non-slip pad for equipment
General surface scuff protector - for moving
Grooves could be eliminated - reservoir
Solve the problem before entering the car - disposable booties, brushed outside, place to take off your shoes or wipe them before getting in
Split the functions of protecting the carpet and dealing with seasonal issues
What if the grooves were channels instead?
Instead of focusing on the front end of removing dirt, can we focus on cleaning?
Next, I used the Morphological Analysis tool to explore some other ways of accomplishing the functions of a floor mat.
I selected a couple of different combinations that I thought would work well. I ended up not using the Removable from Car requirement since it was already addressed in the Stays in Place category.
My brainstormers were actually pretty practical. Most of the funny ideas they wrote down were sarcastic. For example: A way to keep ice from forming on your windshield... A heated garage. How to deal with it once it's already there? Take the bus.
There were a few silly ones that I could improve, though, and they're listed below.
In my brainstorm someone had suggested a rubber pickaxe for dealing with windshield ice. Everyone else had laughed and associated it with the game Minecraft. While a rubber pickaxe might not be very effective, if we affix a scraping edge to the flat side of the curved axe part, a user can cover more area with the product, and it's a fun joke product for Minecraft fans.
Someone had suggested a non-stick butter spray for the windshield so that the ice would just slide right off. Cooking spray might not be the best idea for a windshield coating due to things like visibility, but a spray that decreases the sticking power of ice is brilliant. The trick would be finding a technology that wouldn't influence a drivers ability to see, or one that would easily wash off with windshield wiper fluid, or a permanent film with the same slippery properties.
Someone had also suggested that any sealing floor mat should be called SaranMats. In fact, the Saran Wrap press and seal has a lot of qualities that we were looking for in a product. Perhaps some of the sealing properties could be included in a floor mat.
After all the brainstorming and focus grouping and revising, the 10 products that I'm most interested in pursuing are: