This week turned out to be very interesting for me and my friends who participated in the ideation session.

So, here's a little introduction of who's who:

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:

Ideas- Collage.png

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:

Stink-o-meter: This blanket measures the odor emitted from the blanket and alerts the user when washing is required--Software Engineer.

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.

Mind Control Blanket : Depending on the spikes in potential in certain locations of the brain, the blanket covers and uncovers different parts of the body and regulates temperature--Biologist.

Pore'd : This is a sensor blanket, which is programmed to control the opening and closing of pores in the blanket--Software 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.

Dynamic Blanket: Uses phase change materials to offer warmth and ventilation and a self-cleaning/anti-microbial finish--Architect.

#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.

Jacket-Blanket: This jacket can be transformed into a blanket by activating a button--Electrical Engineer.

Match-box blanket : This blanket can be folded and fitted into a matchbox. The folding may be manual, or better still, automated. This makes it easier to carry around--Software Engineer.

Superman Cape : This is yet another transformative blanket that can be converted into a cape--Architect.

Live-in blanket : This is a blanket with extensions that can be fastened with velcro around your body--Electrical Engineer.

It was interesting to see compare the user responses from last week's interviews and ideas from this week.


Great post! I liked your creative game at the beginning of the session. I think it's a good way to get people in the drawing mindset right out of the gate. I also really liked the "thinking hat" idea, where you had people apply their expertise to a particular "how might we?" statement. It's along the lines of the exercise we did at LogicPD, where we put ourselves in the shoes of a particular person. It helps to limit the blue sky, and focuses people on providing ideas around a particular theme, which can spark new ideas.

I think your first "how might we?" statement was a bit too long. Those three goals could have been distilled into one (e.g. comfort) or separated out into three separate statements.

Since you divided the session up into three rounds with three different formats, it would have been interesting if you could have reflected on which particular method produced the most/best results.


Awesome post! It really gave me a background to the work that you did for this assignment. The game you invented is pretty much the same concept to how I start paintings and drawings - nice! I appreciate that you took the time to redraw each concept idea and it gives the post a very cohesive look. The Universal T-Shirt research could probably benefit from the "wearable blanket" idea generations! :) Your first 'how might we' statement could possibly benefit from narrowing it down a bit. It seems like you're trying to make it do everything (not that that's always a bad thing!). However, for the sake of the exercise, it could have made it a little more simple.

Nicely designed post. I appreciate the external links to the pictures that aren't completely necessary to the reading of the post. That way the reader doesn't have to scroll past tons of pictures with a few sentences tucked in between. Nice clean drawings and descriptions. The labels of the drawings really help see the viewpoint of the ideator. The majors match pretty well with the technicality of the blanket.

I know Barry might not like this, but I hardly have anything to criticize about your post. Really good overall. Maybe just compare the three rounds to see which was more productive in coming up with more creative ideas. Also, unless I missed it, I didn't see a calculated IPM.

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This page contains a single entry by ramas043 published on November 17, 2013 3:51 PM.

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