Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Invent it, XPLANE it - by Tim May

This public VTS gave participants the opportunity to brainstorm, design and create visualizations for practical yet-to-be invented products.

Twenty eight people were in attendance on a beautiful Thursday evening in the Portland Studio.

The stated goal initially was to brainstorm a list of ideas for products that solved a need, and eventually create a blueprint xplanation for the product (examples of blueprints were handed out).

We put a few criteria around the product:
  • It had to be something that could be built today
  • Had to retail between $35.88 and $120.94
  • Had to solve an actual, real-world need
Some of the initial ideas included:
  • A solar powered cap with a rotating bill (to block the sun).
  • Electric sneaker cleaner
  • A charging bowl for personal electronics
  • Battery-operated windshield wipers for spectacles
  • Zipper-based transformer boots (long/short)
  • A self-cleaning refrigerator robot device
  • A plethora of others

We then affinity-mapped the ideas and held a quick vote on those we wanted to further explore.

The VTS then engaged in a basic Who/Do exercise, discussing who our target audience was for this product, and what we wanted them to do with it or how we wanted them to use it.

We at that point broke into smaller groups. The teams went out and held their own who/do to determine audiences and what the product's benefits might be.

We then presented the results of the Who/Do exercise.

The teams then went and put together their blueprints around their chosen ideas.

  • The Pie Enthusiast™ - a multi-sliced pie-cutter

  • Freeskins™ - peel away coating/paint jobs for your car

  • Steam-Puff™ - a human-shaped quick-iron/steam device.

  • The BRALL™ - brush your teeth on the go.

  • CNFDS - Feeding system to keep dog from eating cat food.

  • Be Dry™ A clothes rewarming system for bike-commuters.

Feedback was widely positive - some making comments about having a bit more structure - perhaps the most actionable suggestion was a request for some kind of take-away from the class.

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