We started off by doing a fun warm-up activity which required each participant to draw one line at a time and to collectively name the picture at the end of every round. I could see that this livened up the atmosphere.
Incidentally, during my interview last week, I asked my interviewees to imagine that I am their futurisitc blanket designer and that they were stakeholders. I asked them to provide some features of a futuristic blanket of their choice. I have described their responses briefly:
Interviewee 1: Thickening and thinning blanket with temperature sensor
Interviewee 2: Fluffing and layering, trap air and understand what the user needs.
Interviewee 3: Improve airflow, should prevent suffocation.
Interviewee 4: Multi-layered-multi-functional (a layer each for perspiration absorption, firmness and warmth)
Interviewee 5: User regulates temperature from under the blanket
Interviewee 6: Texture and comfort are important, customizable design to match with home decor, socially acceptable blanket.
Interviewee 7: Travel blanket --should be able to use from 15 to -10 deg C.
Interviewee 8: Should keep body warm, easy to wash and fold, lightweight, pleasing colors, separable layers.
Interviewee 9: Use while working, portable/mobile blanket.
Based on my last week's ethnographic interviews, I wanted to make sure my "how might we" questions addressed the specific issues that my interviewees had raised.
#1: How might we achieve the right level of warmth, ventilation and minimize bad odor with a blanket during winter? (I encouraged ideas that catered to some or all of these functions. Since warmth relates to ventilation and ventilation in turn relates to bad odor, I had to club these into one question).
#2: How might we design a socially acceptable and portable blanket?
I conducted three rounds of ideation, with each round running for 25 minutes. The first and second rounds involved ideation for the first and second questions. The third round was different in that I decided to conduct a 'thinking hats' round which required every participant to apply their technical expertise to come up with innovative solutions to these problems. These were put under a special category of 'techie blankets.'
A total of 52 ideas were generated and grouped into specific categories such as
as shown below:
Here are the blown up images of each these categories:
1.Insulation View image and Onion Peel (layering) View image
2. Air Me! (Ventilation) View image
3. Aroma/Odor View image
4. Wash/Maintenance View image
5. Inconspicuous Blanket View image
6. Socially Acceptable / Transformable View image
7.Techie Blankets View image
Out of these, the top ideas were selected based on novelty and creativity. As a facilitator, the number of ideas I (the clothing technologist) generated was limited because I had to spend more time listening to the members of the group, stir discussions, guide and provide example ideas, mainly to encourage the group to think out of the box! :)
#1: How might we achieve the right level of warmth, ventilation and minimize bad odor with a blanket during winter? (8 Ideas were picked, since it's a relatively big category! View image) Please see below for the list of 8 ideas, and the corresponding images that I redrew based on the ideas that I had collected:
Camp-Blanket: This blanket can be assembled into a tent, and has an in-built thermostat to control the internal temperature. Incidentally, this can also be considered as a socially acceptable blanket--Clothing Technologist.
Blanket with weather monitor and thermostat: This blanket comes with a mobile weather monitor and temperature sensor. It shrinks when the ambient temperature is cold and expands when it's warm or hot. Bouncing off this idea, the group refined this idea and discussed as to how this can be in an internal and external environment. When used internally, it can be linked to the thermostat at home and when used externally, it can be linked to the weather monitor--Electrical Engineer.
Smart Blanket : Includes a detachable printed circuit board with a micro-controller for temperature and odor sensing. A wash alarm and LED blinker is alerted when it's high time the user washed the blanket. Based on the inputs from these sensors, the sliding and layering of the blanket is altered--Electrical Engineer.
Multi-Comfy Blanket: Includes multiple blanket layers on side flaps. The required number of layers from either side can be brought to the center and zipped together to form a sleeping bag--Electrical Engineer.
#2: How might we design a socially acceptable and portable blanket? (5 ideas were picked View image) Please see below for the list of 5 ideas and the corresponding images that I redrew based on the ideas that I had collected:
Backpack Blanket: The backpack has side and top compartments from which portions of the blanket can be pulled out to blanket the body. Typically, this can be used in a classroom setting--Software Engineer.
It was interesting to see compare the user responses from last week's interviews and ideas from this week.