Timeline to complete the brainstorming session

Individual Idea Generation

“How might we make use of the space we aren’t using?”

One thing that I noticed amongst everyone’s kitchens during the customer research was that there was so much un-utilized space, yet people commented that they didn’t have enough space. This was a flag for me — people have the space to store more stuff but they just don’t know it yet!

This was the theme for almost all of my ideas, but I did include some other things that I thought were great ideas even though they didn’t fit.

Sketches of my initial ideas before the brainstorming session

Warm-Up Game

Stack of random objects

For the warm-up game I created a hybrid from two of the games we played in class. I created a deck of cards that all had random objects written on them. The first person draws a card and describes a unique way of using said object in the kitchen. This goes around the group until someone gets stumped, in which they then draw a new card and the process starts again.

This seemed to work very well at breaking the ice considering not everyone new each other, and the majority of the people participating are introverts. Also, [I think] it helped people get into the ‘kitchen mindset’.

Session Organization

(From left to right) Yadin, Micah, Dan, and Nick

I tried to find the most creative people I could for this session. Luckily I am a member of a Maker Space (community workshop) that is filled with creative people who love to make new and unique things. Also, I know two engineers that I serve with.

Yadin is a member of the Maker Space who creates new and interesting things as a side job and hobby. He’s been a ‘maker’ for over 10 years and excels in using the laser cutter to make very unique art.

Micah is one of the owners of the maker space and has been ‘making’ for almost 20 years. He is skilled in all of the machines in the shop in addition to being qualified as an electrical and software engineer in my opinion.

Dan is a mechanical engineer who works for a firm creating ‘moving architecture’. His firm works with architecture such as stadiums that have retractable roofs. I like engineers because they think of many ways to solve a problem.

Nick is another engineer who works with plumbing/valve systems. He is tasked to create unique/customized solutions for each customer on very complex systems. For example, he had to help creating the valve systems for the refinery down in Cottage Grove… That gives me a headache just thinking about it! Nick and I have also spent a lot of time going over product ideas in the past — so I knew he would be a perfect addition for this session.

I began the entire session by explaining what we were going to do and why, then went through my ideas [taped on the tv] to give them examples of what to do.

My initial ideas that I shared with the group

The Warmup Game took 12 min, the Brainstorming Session took 32 min, and only came up with 20 ideas, which would make the IPM 0.10. Everyone was pretty talkative, which was good, but it may have led to unnecessary talking (I think the beer may have helped loosen everyone up a little too much.)

Voting and Sorting

The voting and sorting process

The voting process started easy enough. Each person had their own marker color and was to write an “O” for their top 5 creative ideas, and an “X” for their top 5 practical ideas.

I gave them 5 minutes to categorize the ideas the best they could silently, which totally didn’t work. By this time they were all so talkative with one another I had to keep reminding them to be quiet while making changes and stay focused. I think it may have been a disadvantage that everyone had every idea within arms reach at the same time, resulting in a non-stop shuffling of the cards. In the end it didn’t really work — I couldn’t keep them focused/attentive long enough to work together on categories.

When I finally told them to just stop bickering about what one another was trying to do, I simply asked them what their process was. What I was told was that everyone was basically trying to separate between “organizational” ideas and “cool ideas related to cooking”.

Green Boxes — organization. Everything else — “cool cooking ideas”

I wouldn’t say I agreed with their tactics or final product, but I went with it merely to show that this was a learning opportunity.

Top Ideas

Here are the top 10 ideas from the entire process:

Auto-Vacuum fridge storage containers (Ryan)
Food storage containers that detect when food is going bad (Ryan)
Projector under cabinet to display cooking instructions on cooking surface (Ryan)
Pull-out cutting board storage (Ryan)
Cabinet door cutting board storage (Ryan)
Auto silverware sorter (Ryan)
Dishwasher/Drawer exchange storage (Ryan)
Under cabinet utinsel storage (Ryan)
behind door storage/shelving for reusable bags
Under cabinet slots (Micah)

Even though the group had many good ideas, the majority of them strayed away from actual kitchen ‘organization’ which is why I stuck mainly with my ideas for the final 10.

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