Assignment 7

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From last week, I got 109 people take my survey and I think these top 5 ideas have a lot of potentials to be marketable products.
Here are the top 5 Ideas again:
1.Self-warm Mug - Pour cold drink in it, push the button, and enjoy the warm drink after 1 minute. You don't need microwave in winter! (Battery operated!)
2.Flannel PJ with Pillow - So easy, just sleep/lay anywhere you want. Good design to support your neck when you watch TV as well.
3.Shopping Schudulizer- A website allows you to type all the stores you want to do holiday shopping at & all the shopping categories you want, and then click "schedule", the whole program will tell you the best itinerary and which floor should you go pick up your desired items. Just be organized during holiday season.
4.Winter Bike Cover - Protect yourself from cold wind/snow when you bike in the winter, and also it keeps you warm. It's just a light transparent cover attached on the bike, you can use it whenever is needed.
5.Map Shopping Bag- A store map on the reusable shopping bags, so the customers will remember to bring their shopping bags to the stores and also they will be able to read the floor map from the bag. (know where to get everything in the store!)
Next step, Pugh chart:
My evaluation criteria are:
1.Is it feasible to turn it into a real product? (feasibility)
2.Is there a clear need? (marketability)
3.How creative is this idea? (novelty)
4.How big is the impact of this idea?
5.Is it easy to get access to the relative technology?
6.Can I communicate the idea clearly?
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For this Chart, I chose the map shopping bag as benchmark, and compared other ideas with it. Not surprising, The Flannel PJ with pillow won the competition! I used to love the shopping schudulizer idea, however after comparing everything together, it is still less feasible than the PJ idea, so I decided to focus on the Flannel PJ with pillow.
After searched the different languages for pillow and different ways to make this design sound more creative, I decided to go back to this design's origin: It's a simple creation and it deserves a easy&catchy name. So I finally decided to combine the two words "pillow" and "flannel" together = "Plannel" and maybe I will make a bunny as a part of this brand logo :)
This is a prototype I made!
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Finally, I made my elevator pitch video!
Here is the attachment:
30 second "elevator pitch" video.MOV

Assignment 6

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For this assignment I did a more elaborate NMF (novel, marketable, feasible) test to make informed decisions about which ideas to pursue and if any modifications are required.
Here are my steps.

MARKETABLE:

I designed a survey that testing how many people would like to purchase my products. I attached my entire sketches in the survey and distributed the link on facebook. I posted it on my facebook wall, posted the link in class group 2014 and class group 2015. Because I want to figure out the top 5 ideas first, then I will ask my friends about how much they would like to pay for these new inventions.
Surprisingly I got 109 people took my survey in 2 days. I know, 109! I cannot even believe it. There is even a random guy shared my survey to his friend's wall and joked about it, so I guess my products are pretty success in marketing at this beginning stage already.
Here is the picture the guy shared on his friend's wall: (I know it's kind of creepy, but I still did a screenshot)
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But anyway, here are the results! There are 5 best ideas already have been selected by my supportive customers on faebook.
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Top 5 Ideas are:
1.Self-warm Mug - Pour cold drink in it, push the button, and enjoy the warm drink after 1 minute. You don't need microwave in winter! (Battery operated!)
2.Flannel PJ with Pillow - So easy, just sleep/lay anywhere you want. Good design to support your neck when you watch TV as well.
3.Shopping Schudulizer- A website allows you to type all the stores you want to do holiday shopping at & all the shopping categories you want, and then click "schedule", the whole program will tell you the best itinerary and which floor should you go pick up your desired items. Just be organized during holiday season.
4.Winter Bike Cover - Protect yourself from cold wind/snow when you bike in the winter, and also it keeps you warm. It's just a light transparent cover attached on the bike, you can use it whenever is needed.
5.Map Shopping Bag- A store map on the reusable shopping bags, so the customers will remember to bring their shopping bags to the stores and also they will be able to read the floor map from the bag. (know where to get everything in the store!)
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After that, I messaged some of my friends through facebook and ask them how much they would like to pay for these five products. I got a lot of different types of answers. For the "self-warm mug" I got retail price offers from $10 - $94.99
For the "Flannel PJ with Pillow" I got price offers from $20 - $50
For the "Shopping Schudulizer", because it's an app, so major people want it for free, and only one person offered $0.99 to purchase this app.
For "Winter Bike Cover", I got price offers from $15 - $35
and finally for the "Map Shopping bag" I got offers from $0.99 - $10

NOVEL:

Now that the top 5 ideas were chosen, here are some 'novel' testing. The first part of this test involved benchmarking these top 5 ideas to existing similar products. I chose to do this with a 2x2 matrix for each product.
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Self-warm Mug: Even though I found some similar products, I found out that all the mug warms require plug-ins and the only one without electricity is a stir-mug, so the battery operated mug warmer should be a new updating idea.
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Flannel PJ with Pillow : I haven't found any products like this! the only close one would be a snuggie, but still, nobody has ever connected a pillow with a pair of footed flannel pajamas.
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Shopping Schudulizer: There are map apps, there are retail apps, there are schedulizing apps, however, nobody ever put these three together. So I just selected some similar apps to compare with.
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Winter Bike Cover : There are some similar designs, however I have not found any fully covered bike cover, and the head umbrella ideas might not be safe while you are biking in the snow and it will slow down the speed.
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Map Shopping Bag: There are no floor map shopping bags, and the only map-printed bag I found was a designer purse, so I guess this shopping bag has a lot of potential.
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The second part of this test was to find one related patent to each of the products. I did not find any exact matches, but was able to compare some key concepts in each patent found.
Self-warm Mug
Cup warmer
https://www.google.nl/patents/US8274016?dq=mug+warmer&hl=zh-CN&sa=X&ei=ot6eUqLlKpOMyAHAjYCwCQ&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAA
Flannel PJ with Pillow
Pajama bag/pillow
https://www.google.nl/patents/USD287801?pg=PA1&dq=pajama+pillow&hl=zh-CN&sa=X&ei=mt2eUorwJYqsyAH9poCgAw&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAA
Shopping Schudulizer
System for automating consumer shopping purchase-decision
https://www.google.nl/patents/WO2013052081A2?cl=en&dq=shopping+app&hl=zh-CN&sa=X&ei=M9yeUpeZHo3lyAHSwIG4BA&ved=0CEUQ6AEwAQ
Winter Bike Cover
Automatic foldable bicycle cover for preventing sun light and rain
https://www.google.nl/patents/CN202911866U?cl=en&hl=zh-CN&dq=Bike+cover&ei=5dueUsGVA4LlyAGlrIG4Bg
Map Shopping Bag
Advertisement-replacing type shopping bag
https://www.google.nl/patents/CN201282799Y?cl=en&dq=shopping+bag+print&hl=zh-CN&sa=X&ei=y9yeUqjqIeGqyAGAhYHYCg&ved=0CFAQ6AEwAw
FEASIBLE:

Self-warm Mug

For this product, the biggest issue is to find a way to operate batteries. Batteries usually cost differetly, however, that should be the part costumers spend separately, so I will not include them in this cost calculation. usually we can use polyethylene as the mug's material and cooper for battery chips. So The average cost of polyethylene is $0.25 a pound, and I think this mug can use 1.25 pound of polyethylene, plus 0.1 pound of copper (battery chips) so the cost is: (1.25x $0.25) + (0.1x$3.18)= $0.61. A rough manufacturing cost assessment can be approximated as 10x(material cost), so the manufacturing cost is: $6.1
Flannel PJ with Pillow

The biggest concer for this product is to locate the pillow on a proper position of the back.So we need 1 pound of cotton as pillow stuffing, and cotton= $0.79/lb. We need 4 yards of flannel, and Flannels are $3.49/yard (however the flannel here is alreay manufactured, because its woven from cotton, and they are already printed, so I will not time 10 for this fabric here.) So the cost would be 10X(1X$0.79)+($3.49X4)=$21.8
Shopping Schudulizer

This is an app, so I think it will just cost $100/year for the licensing fee, and I can work on it by myself, so the cost will be $100/year.
Winter Bike Cover

The biggest concern for this product would be its weight and how to protect the bikers' safety and also keep the fast speed. We need plastic cover, cooper frames. So we can use half a pound of ABS plastic ($0.3/lb) as cover, and 1 pounds of cooper ($3.18/lb)as the frames.
10x [(0.5x$0.3)+(1x$3.18)] = $33.3
Map Shopping Bag

This is just an easy idea, I think the challenge might be how to updated different store floor maps effectively. But the bag will just cost cotton, and sewing threads. SO I think we just need 0.25 pound of cotton in this case for one bag.
10x0.25x$0.3=$0.75

Assignment 5

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Part 1 - SCAMPER
My sub-theme is holiday retail environment, so I narrow down my topic to a specific product: shopping bag.

Substitute
Can I replace or change any parts?
Handles
The images/text on the bag
Can I use other ingredients or materials?
Plastic/paper
Metal
Wood
Fabric
Liquid based materials
Rubber
Glass
Can I change its shape?
Square
Ellipse
Oval
Circle
What if I change its name?
Super holder
Shopping Nanny
Super Bag
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Combine
What ideas or parts can be combined?
Combine the floor plan and shopping bag together
Combine the glove with the shopping bag handle, so you can carry it in winter if you forget your gloves as well.
Combine mirror with shopping bag.
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Adapt
What ideas outside my field can I incorporate?
Biomimicry: Kangaroo,
What else is like it?
Box
Luggage
Travel bags
Purse
Backpack
What other ideas does it suggest?
Recycle
Hold a lot of stuff
Big capacity
Easy to move with
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Magnify/Modify
what can you add?
Box opener
A wallet
A lamp
A water bottle
What can be extended?
The handle
The bag capacity
photo_10_副本1.jpg
Put to other use
What else can it be used for?
Shoe cover
Pillow case
Travel bags
Pencil bag
Can it be used by people other than those it was originally intended for?
Plastic shopping bag - trash bag
Cool Parachute
Curtain
Ball the plastic bags up they can be used as mattress and/or pillow stuffing
Cheap disposable gloves for handling unpleasant things.
Rain Coat
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Eliminate
How can I simplify it?
One-piece shopping bag
What if I made it smaller?
Easy-fold bags
Compressed fabric - soaked in the water - the plastic bag gets bigger
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Reverse/Rearrange
Can I interchange components?
Shopping bag toys
A box with handles/ a bag without handles
What if I try doing the exact opposite of what I originally intended?
Prank plastic bags (very fragile)
A super heavy shopping bag
A shopping bag has a clown in it.
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Part 2:
I chose to use Morphological Analysis Table
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Idea 1:Cheap fabric bag inside a drup capsule, easy to carry everywhere!
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Idea2:Duct tape plastic mug. (have a plastic base, and tape your mug as tall as you want)
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Part 3: I reviewed all the good ideas from last week, and at the time when we selected the ideas, we focused on both "good ideas" and also "functional", so all my 10 best rated ideas: Hidden Secret Sensor, Customer ID, Micro-Fabric Sensor, Commercial Campaign, Name Tag Sensor, Floor Map, Map Shopping Bag, Shopping App, Shopping Schudulizer, Map Projection, can all be concepts for real products.
Part 4:
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Assignment 4

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1. Converting Problems:
So my two problems from last assignment are:
*Retail stores need to pay more attentions to reduce shoplifting during holiday because there are more smaller items (ornaments, decorations) on the sales floor, and stores are busier than normal time.
*Retail stores need to find better ways to help customers find merchandise faster, because customers want to have a more efficient shopping experience during holiday season.

So I converted these two questions to the following brainstorm questions:
1. How might retail stores reduce shoplifting during holiday season?
2. How might retail stores do a better job to guide customers to different shopping sections during busy holiday schedule?

2. Gather people:
This is the hardest part. Because I only have one roommate, some of my friends already have plans and I have to work during Saturday and Sunday, so it's hard to find a perfect time to gather 4 people for like an hour. I wish we could know this assignment one week ahead, so we can have sufficient time to contact friends and plan the time. However, this situation just added more challenges to me, and I still did it!
I have never talked to my neighbors before and I decided to check with them. I mean, they are just right there and this could be a good chance to build up our friendship. I approximately knocked 8 doors, 4 of them opened the door and after I explained my project, 3 of them would like to help me (I am so LUCKY!). So I told them the brainstorm topics beforehand and let them think some ideas. I gathered 4 people on time! Even though we are all girls (maybe not that diverse on gender), we have different majors, different years in college and different culture background. So I think this group is diverse enough to me. And it's good I finally met my neighbors.

3.Warm-up! Improve: Where is Tommy?
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It was very awkward. My three other neighbors were still feeling iffy about my activity at the beginning, and my roommate had never done any brainstorm sessions previously either, so I decided to lead a warm-up improve game and make every one feel more comfortable. I cleaned up the living room and created a nice open space. So this game I invented is called "Where is Tommy?" I got the inspiration from a improve game I played before called "Fortunately/Unfortunately" (2 players tell a story, taking turns. One storyteller, playing starts with some good, positive things like, "Once upon a time Mary had a beautiful little lamb." Then the other storyteller tells the next part of the story, but it is all negative, so, "Unfortunately, the lamb had a peg leg." The first storyteller, "Fortunately, Mary opened the leg and the lamb produce Skittles." Other player: "Unfortunately, Skittles were illegal in Greece, where they lived, and Mary and the lamb were sent to farmer's prison." Etc, etc. 2 other players mime out the story as it happens.)
"Where is Tommy?" is similar, it's also a "story-chain" game. "Tommy" is just a random name, and I need players stand in a circle. The first storyteller asks any player in the circle "Where is Tommy?" then the second player has to answer: "I don't know, maybe he is in...." Then the player gives the location, and points to next person. The player No.3 will have to answer "He was in... and doing... but then he left, where is Tommy?" the 3rd player needs to offer an activity about Tommy and then asks the 4th player "where is Tommy?" then they have to make up the whole story about this mysterious Tommy boy.
Here is an example:
A: "Where is Tommy?"
B: "I don't know, maybe he is in the mall." Points to C.
C: "He was in the mall and building a Lego land in a restaurant, but then he left, where is Tommy?" Points to D.
D: "I don't know, maybe he is in the national space station." Points to B.
B: "He was in the national space station painting the barrels, but then he left, where is Tommy?"...
The game went very well, and we played it for like 10 minutes. I felt kind of sorry for this poor Tommy boy (I don't know why he would eat an egg-salad sandwich in a girl's bathroom?! And I am glad he left) anyway, I felt the whole group warmed up a little bit and then I moved on to my brainstorm session!

4.Brainstorm Session!
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After warm-up, I let everyone sit in a circle, and then we started the real session. I offered all different colors markers and notes, just to create a creative&free environment. For my first idea about shoplifting, it was a hard topic, and the group production is very slow. After about 5 minutes, we only had around 10 ideas. So I decided to apply some techniques we learned from the lecture: I showed them the "random word" sheet and asked them to keep one word in mind when they are trying to get more ideas. That sheet indeed speed up the process. So for my second topic about how to guide the customers more effectively, I showed them the "role list" beforehand, so they can put themselves in other people's shoes when they get stuck.
However, after one girl came up the store map idea, for like 10 minutes, basically everybody's idea is around the "map" concept, like a store map print on pamphlets, store map print on re-useable shopping bags (Actually we finally think this is a great idea). But we still need diversity, so I started drawing some other crazy ideas, and encourage them to think widely as well, and then the diverse ideas started coming back.
After around 30 minutes, we came up with a lot of ideas, and we sticked all the ideas on each side of the floor and starting sorting them quietly.
The sorting process went faster than I expected, I think that might because we had less ideas than we had in the class.We sorted 4 catagories in the first group (however we cannot name them clearly, because we just "feel" those ideas should go together); for my second question, we only sorted them into two catagories: "technology" and "map-oriented". I calculated the IPM for my team, it's 0.58, 4 of them came up 69 ideas within 30 minutes! I didn't have stickers for them, so we just pulled out the best ideas, and then did a quick discussing about them.
(these are just some highlights of funny/silly ideas )photo_13.jpg

Then we selected 5 best ideas for each question.
10 Best Ideas!
Shoplifting:
1.Hidden Secret Sensor(by Brittany): If it costs too much for the stores to attach sensors for every single small items, then they can randomly assign the sensors to small items (instead of every one of them) and therefore the stores can reduce the shoplifting rate.
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2.Customer ID(By Ashley): Assign each customer an identitycal ID number electronically when they first walk into the store, and then the whole store's security cameras will reconize each customer and it will be easier to track every one.
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3.Micro-Fabric Sensor(By Brittany): A new type of fabric "sensor" can be blended in clothes and textile, so the clothes themselves are naturally sensors, if the customers pay at the register, the sensor materials will be demagnetized, so they are safe to go. However if the customers steal the clothes, the alarms will ring.
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4.Commercial Campaign(By Sami): Instead of adding sensors/ or high technology to the merchandise, the retail industry can start some "shoplifting" commercial campaigns and let customers know how much damage shoplifting will cause and how this behavior will influence the whole business, so they can educate people before they start any illegal behaviors.
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5.Name Tag Sensor(By Myself): So basically each retail store requires employees to wear their name tags in front of their chest. Then why not build a little "detective sensor" in each name tag, so when the employee walking around the store, they can find out the shoplifters right away.
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Guide:
1.Floor Map(By Myself): So all the stores always focus on the signages above customers head, why not combine the floor directions with the signs together, so the customers can find different sections in both ways.
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2.Map Shopping Bag (By Dongyi): A store map on the reusable shopping bags, so the customers will remember to bring their shopping bags to the stores and also they will be able to read the floor map from the bag.
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3.Shopping App(By Myself): An easy app to detect the customers' locations and show the relative store's floor plans on the phone.
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4.Shopping Schudulizer (By Sami): A website allows you to type all the stores you want to do holiday shopping at & all the shopping categories you want, and then click "schedule", the whole program will tell you the best itinerary and which floor should you go pick up your desired items. Just so easy!
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5.Map Projection(By Brittany): An interactive floor projection system, so when people step on their current location's projector, then the system will project the floor plans and also will project the directions on the floor, so the customers will have fun and also will know their next shopping location right away.
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Conclusion:
I think this is a cool experience, and all my participants had never done any brainstorm sessions before. They enjoyed the game and the whole process, and they were surprised as well by how creative they could be. If I have time later on, I am thinking to host another session to involve more people and do more creative activities. Because it was very fun!

Assignment 3

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My Topic is holiday retail environment. I love this research/interview topic, because I am a retail merchandising student and I've been working in retail for more than 3 years, so I am very familiar with this "environment" topic. Holiday is especially the most complicated moment through the whole year. For example, I have been working at Macy's for almost two years and "holiday" always gives me a big headache. I worked on Black Friday last year, and I will work on Thanksgiving night this year. (I know, from 7:30pm to 5:30 am, the GREATEST shift I could ever ask for.)

Holiday retail environment research has two perspectives to start with: Retail store perspective and Customer perspective. I have been working in this field for a long time, and rarely put myself in a "customer" shoe. So this is a great time for me to do a role reversal, go shopping, and try to figure out the holiday retail environment issues. So I pick the "customer" perspective for this research. And also it would be great to interview other people and listen to their advice and opinions.
Interview: (I won't write down everything we talked, and I will just summarize them.)
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#1 "Against Holiday Shopping":Brittany, senior, political science major at the University of Minnesota. If she has to, she usually just shops for several friends and family during holiday. She likes clean and clear retail environment. She hates all the crazy customers during holiday season. She also doesn't like those overly accommodating employees. Holiday shopping is a bad concept, because it makes people feel like they HAVE TO go shopping (all the commercials and displays are pushing people to shop) instead of letting them figure out what they really want. Usually she goes to Bath&Body Works, and just gets lotion and soap for her female friends. "Because it's just so easy!" She loves retailers like Target, because their layout is neat and clean, and you know exactly where to find everything. She doesn't like Hollister's layout. In her conversation, she did mention "hate" "annoying" these negative words against shopping very often.
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#2 "Okay with Holiday Shopping": Clare, from Chicago. Current student at City Colleges of Chicago. She came over to Minneapolis to visit her friend. She usually shops for family and close friends. She said the fact that all the retail stores are setting up for the holiday too early, and that makes the holiday less special. She loves the window displays in Chicago's retail stores; however she doesn't enjoy the advertisements in the window. "All those clothing advertisements in the window just reduced the attractiveness of the window displays." She usually shops for sweatshirts and PJs as gifts. In her opinion, the store lighting is very important as well, "Bright artificial lights at Sears just give me headache." She also doesn't like Hollister.
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#3: "Love Holiday Shopping": Ellen, Clare's mother. Consider herself as a "passionate/professional shopper". While I was interviewing with Clare, she told me I should interview her mom, because she shops a lot for the family and holiday shopping is one of her favorite thing to do. Because Ellen is in Chicago right now, so I used phone to interview her. She is the mom of three children, and she has a whole family& a lot of friends to do holiday shopping for. She loves cheaper retailers like Kohl's and Target, and she has to go several trips before the holiday shopping is done. "Sometimes the stores are too messy. For example when I shop for Thomas (her son), the whole boy t-shirts area is always a mess, especially during holiday season. Because there are a lot of people checking the t-shirts and they don't fold them back." Overwhelming recovery is a big issue for holiday retail environment. Also during Christmas season, the store always plays the music, when stores cannot control the music in an appropriate volume, she would then never want to go back there again. She also would rather make some gifts by herself, and make the holiday gifts more individual and personal. Right now she already develops her own "shopping map system" and she has some specific locations to do holiday shopping.
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Interesting fact: During the interview, they all talked about the reason why they do not like Wal-Mart. Instead of it looks sketchy (I totally think so), they said that it's an immoral company. I have never noticed the moral means a lot to customers. So I kept asking them about if there are some specific charitable items for holiday, would you prefer to buy those stuff as gifts rather than buying the regular merchandise? The answers were amazingly same. They all think if the price matches the item itself, they would consider more about the charitable items as gifts. People usually just feel more generous during holiday season, and because they are shopping for "gifts" instead of shopping for "needs", that makes charitable items stand out in a positive way.

Observe & Experience:
So I went shopping in downtown Macy's and Target as well this weekend. Clare's words are very true. Macy's already has the Christmas display for a long time. Macy's re-opened its Christmas trim shop even in early October. Interesting thing is, the major customers are just checking the holiday ornaments and they do not for real buy them right now. I also think these Christmas displays are trying SO HARD to remind me "hey, the winter in here already...Hohoho", they even made me feel afraid of the holidays.
Major customers would think it's not even Thanksgiving yet, so they will not shop for Christmas right now. And also, customers always assume there will be better deals show up closer to the real holiday, so all the displays right now are just the "spoilers" which reveal the holiday gift ideas. Besides, the Christmas trim shop has a lot of small items and the employees cannot always pay attention to every single customer, and therefore that area usually has a very high shop lifting rate.
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Conclusion:
*Retail stores need to pay more attntions to reduce shoplifting during holiday because there are more smaller items(ornaments, decorations) on the sales floor, and stores are busier than normal time.
*Retail stores need to find better ways to help customers find merchandise faster, because customers want to have a more efficient shopping experience during holiday season.

Assignment2

| 4 Comments

Before I started the idea generation, I watched some fun TV shows: The Big Bang Theory and Arrested Development. I also re-watched the Movie Borat (I love that movie). Then I played Egyptian Rat Screw with my roommate and I also showed her my own card tricks. After card games, we found another game "spot it" in our "miscellaneous" kitchen drawer,so we just played the simple version of it as well. It was a quite fun afternoon and the most awesome part is: all of these games are for HOMEWORK!
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After that, I started thinking about Winter, and I came up with some ideas. Here is the mind map. The special thing about the mind map: I started the right side first and then I figured out the right side had reached too far from the theme, so when I was thinking about the left side, I made it closer to the winter theme.
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After sorting my ideas, I found these subthemes are quite interesting:
1. Winter warming products: body warmer, drink warmer...
2. Winer designs/fashion: coats, boots...
3. Winter holiday decoration: Christmas tree, ornaments...

Then it took me a long time to think where I should start the silly design ideas. Luckily I got a lot of inspirations from my mind map, so I think these ideas would make our winter happier and easier.

#1: Temparature Ring - A ring that can help you control your body temperature and help you stay warm the whole winter.
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#2: Snowman Builder - Want the most beautiful and biggest snowman? This snowman builder can help you roll the most stable-round snowballs and help you build your own snowman.
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#3: Easy-fold Christmas Tree - Just save more storage room for your Christmas tree.
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#4: Self-warm Mug - Pour cold drink in it, and enjoy the warm drink after 1 minute. You don't need microwave in winter!
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#5: Auto Ski - You don't know how to ski, but my gears know! Adjust the buttons on the side of your gear, and then the glasses will detect the distance and adjust the speed for your ski.
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#6: Flannel PJ with Pillow - So easy, just sleep/lay anywhere you want. Good design to support your neck when you watch TV as well.
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#7: Blanket TV - Hide under the blanket and enjoy the TV programs under your warm "fort".
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#8: Christmas Song Fireplace - Plays Christmas songs whenever there is fire in it. Music changes based on the brightness of fire. There is a button on the side of the fireplace to adjust the speaker's volume.
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#9: Winter Bike Cover - Protect yourself from cold wind/snow when you bike in the winter, and also it keeps you warm. It's just a light transparent cover attached on the bike, you can use it whenever is needed.
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#10: Self-shower Robe - I hate taking a shower in the winter, why not just standing there, wearing the shower robe, and let the robe wash you and dry you, so you don't need to do anything, and you will be clean and staying warm at the same time.
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Assignment1

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So this assignment about inventing a new type of cookie is very interesting. I was excited and nervous, because I don't cook very often and I have never baked cookies before (I mean, I did bake cookies three times in my life, however I just need to take the cookie dough from a box and place it on a cookie sheet and then bake it, so I don't think that counts). This time is different; I have a chance to make my own cookies!

Before making the new cookies, I had several brainstorm sessions with my friends, and we came up with some very crazy and fun ideas, for example: straw cookies (drink milk from your cookies), apple cider cookies, cookie cake, cheese cookies, spicy cookies, and the funniest idea would be the cookie games (for example, you can play tic-tac-toe with your friends and the winner will eat all the cookies!) Finally, after I evaluated my real baking skills and sorted all the ideas, I figure out "flavor" is still the most attracting field to people. Besides, spicy cookies or sour cookies...these weird flavors will not attract many customers either, so I finally decided to find solutions from all the sweet ingredients.
First of all, I googled some information about what do you need to bake cookies, and then I went to Target getting all the supplies. As I said, I have never baked before, so I didn't even have my own cookie sheets.
Check this out! Exciting exciting!!
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Then I followed the online instruction and tried to bake normal cookies first. I need to get familiar with the process and understand the ingredient portion. I bought food colors as well, so I also added some "blue" to my cookies, just for fun.
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The process went very well, however, it took me like half hour to finish baking. I think there were two reasons behind this long time: first, the oven was not hot enough when I started; second, the cookies were blue, so it was hard to tell if they were done or not. Great to know, no more blue cookies.

And then my second group of cookies is my real experiment. I wrote down all the ingredients I bought and then came up with following options: Yogurt cookies; marshmallow-sandwich cookies; half chocolate/have original milk flavored cookies (two in one! The best of both worlds!), skittles cookies, and caramel cookies. At the same time, I saw my boyfriend "secretly" eating my marshmallows with caramel, and then he told me about Carmelo Anthony (a professional basketball player who has played with Denver and New York) because his name is delicious sounding and CARamel + marshMALLOW sounds like Car-melo...his basketball player talking inspired the next cookie idea! I could make marshmallow melted in the caramel and then mix them with cookie dough! It's great to have someone who knows about sports to bake cookies with! So then I made one Car-mallow cookie as well.
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It only took me 15 minutes to bake them and we already got winners and losers. First of all, the marshmallow-sandwich cookie was really NOT that easy to bake, maybe I should have baked the cookies first and then insert marshmallow later. 1376351_613908208655323_1297652099_n_副本.jpgThey tasted ok but looked like absolute failure.

Then after my boyfriend and I tasted all the cookies, we selected several good things from each type of them. The half and half was a great idea, yogurt cookie tasted the best, skittles had really fun texture, car-mallow cookies tasted so much better than the caramel one, and the baked caramel added more "crispy" to the cookies.
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So finally I decided to combine them all together: half yogurt-skittle cookies, and half car-mallow cookies. Crazy idea with a lot of ingredients! I also added some green colors to the car-mallow, just to differentiate them.
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I though it could be easy, however the whole process was really a pain. I didn't know how to make more cookies, so I didn't have enough flour; when I heated the caramel and marshmallow together, the marshmallows were expanding and exploding from my bowl, and they almost got those sticky mixing all over my microwave; because the half an half cookies had different ingredients on each side, so all the cookies looked awfully ugly and the two sides were not even. Finally, all the skittles went through the cookie dough, and melted on the cookie sheets, so all the cookies stuck on the cookie sheets and I could barely remove them...
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I got so cranky and I didn't want to bake in my whole life, like ever. The kitchen was such a mess as well. I guess I wanted too much from these cookies and my cookies were too overloaded. I didn't even notice the fact that if two sides of the cookies were too different the whole cookie would not be even. They are really weird, not even as good as my first experiment. I need a break.
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Sunday afternoon, I went back to the kitchen, and decided to revise my cookie recipe. Instead of adding too many ideas, I will just make my cookie with caramel, marshmallow, and yogurt together, no more skittles this time. Also after I learned many details about Carmelo Anthony, I decided to use Car-mallow-gurt as the cookies' name! This time, they turned out very well, and I let more people taste them, they all loved the new flavor. Car-mallow-gurt tastes even better with frosting!
Here is the full recipe and please enjoy:)
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Car-mallow-gurt
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/4 cup yogurt
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/2 cup caramel
• Handful Marshmallows
I am lazy, so I invented my own baking instruction:Preheat the oven to 375 degrees--- Mix everything together in a big bowl---drop small amounts of dough onto cookie sheets evenly(if that's possible)---then bake them for 15minutes. Done!
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