Individual Idea Generation

How might we more efficiently organize kitchen utensils so they are easier to store and locate.

How might we better design organizational products so that they are more aesthetically pleasing.

I started this section of the assignment rather slowly. I didn’t begin by sitting down for 30 minutes but rather simply writing down random ideas when they’d come to mind throughout the day. I knew I had plenty of time since my focus group wasn’t scheduled until Sunday.

I came up with about 12 ideas by Friday so decided to sit down for an hour or two and really crank out some ideas. By about 20 minutes in I felt like I hit my stride and really started cranking ideas out. A few had some promise I thought. Ideas like my stretchable dividers and customizable pieces were practical but had some creativity to them. Others like the cloud storage and utensil hotel were more creative than practical, obviously. But they were ideas none the less so I wrote them down.

Something interesting that I noticed was that I’d go on streaks of practical ideas and then on streaks of creative ideas. This is probably because once I got one idea I’d branch off of it in a way. Now obviously the trick is to get ideas that are both creative and practical, though I prefer practicality. Creativity is great, but if it’s to out there you can’t make a product and sell it. It has to be realistic.

New Warm-Up Game

I was thankful enough to get a group of my friends to help me out and agree to be apart of my focus group. From left to right in the picture below they are Kali, Maddie, Claire and Erin. As you can see we had a pretty fun time. Unfortunately, my front facing camera is rather terrible.

Sorry for the picture quality, my camera sucks!

For our warm-up game we started with playing a favorite from class, Associations. We started out fairly slow and conservative, but as we got into the game I feel as if they opened up and got more comfortable.

After getting into associations for a little bit I introduced my game. It is somewhat similar but has some differences. I call it Categories. The first person says a category, like car brands. Then we go around naming all the brands you can think of. If someone gets stuck they can change the category. I think they enjoyed this one but some categories were definitely harder than others, as one might expect. After I got their creativity warmed-up we began the brainstorming session.

Session Organization

When we first got into the session I could tell that they were holding back. I felt as if they were filtering their ideas and weren’t thinking freely. To help them I gave several examples of my own ideas, the sponge organizer, the blackhole organizer. The later obviously doesn’t makes sense but it came to my head so I wrote it down. Slowly they got more comfortable and their ideas showed. I’d say that about 15 minutes in they really got going.

Claire actually had the idea to play some music to make the brainstorming more fun. She chose classical which I don’t know if it helped or made us more sleepy, but it was a great idea none the less. I also brought a bottle of wine to thank them for helping me out. They decided to crack it open and Erin definitely got a little giggly. I’d say it helped because Erin was the most engaged and had the best ideas, arguably.

I honestly thought that the brainstorming session would only take about 20 minutes but we were at it closer to 40 minutes. I just couldn’t find a time to wrap it up because we kept thinking of new ideas. But once our idea generation slowed down I figured it was time to begin the sorting of our ideas.

The session, which took place at their apartment (around their counter), lasted 35 minutes. In that time we came up with 39 ideas for an IPM of 1.1.

Sorting and Voting

Sorting and voting was a collective task. We all worked on how to sort the ideas best. We thought it was more effective to talk our way through the sorting rather than going about it silently.

In the end we came up with four categories (that’s what made sense to us and we didn’t want the categories to be too small). The first of which didn’t have to do with organization, or at least with a product that could be created. The ideas in this category had to deal with simply throwing away or selling unused kitchen utensils. Ideas included garage sales, giving it to your mom and leaving them on a deserted island.

The second category dealt with ways we could organize the utensils inside of kitchen drawers. These ideas could actually be turned into products that could be sold. Ideas included adjustable dividers, a phase-out storage system and more artistic dividers.

Category three encompasses organizational ideas that could sit on a counter top. These ideas included a “storage sponge” where the product has different sized holes to place utensils in to hold them. Other ideas include the utensil tree and utensils-in-a-jar.

The fourth and final category are more artistic creations. These ideas focus more around the aesthetics as well as function. Ideas include the foldable origami storage container and the sculpture container.

As for voting, we decided to make it simple as we did not have stickers. We decided to use checks, which signify that an idea is creative, and X’s, which signify an idea is practical. You could give two checks and X’s per category.

Following voting we then sorted the ideas that were high in practicality, high in creativity and those that were high in both.

Top Ideas

For my selection of my top ten ideas I chose the top five that we voted for during our session. I didn’t chose all seven because not all were exactly product ideas. They were creative but I didn’t believe they could be made into a sell-able product for the client. Except for the garage sale idea. I can’t make a product out of it but it received so many votes that I had to add it to my top ten.

As for the other five I chose my personal top ideas. For this I valued practicality slightly over creativity. Creativity is great, but if you can’t turn it into a product what’s the point. One of my ideas was a teleporter. That’s creative put it’s not practical, at least for now. I prefer ideas that are different than what’s already out there, but ideas that are plausible.

The six ideas I used reflect that. One of which is a tackle box like product that expands when you open the drawer. I also thought of stretchable utensil dividers and expandable ones.

In the end it was difficult to chose just ten. I thought there were a lot of great ideas. Others possibly had potential. But above are the ten at the top of that list.


(10/19–21): Individual idea generation and create new warm-up game.

(10/22): Conduct focus group session (warm-up game, organization, sorting/voting, Top ideas)

(10/22): Immediately following, write in Medium

(10/24–5): Edit