Revelations in Observations

My son was taking a design class in college and had to think up and report on a possible new consumer product every week.  Part of the process was researching the idea to make sure someone else hadn't already thought of it and produced it.  We were having a brainstorming session for ideas and I suggested we start with problems in everyday life.  We listed a page full of issues and then addressed each one individually to see if we could imagine a solution - however outrageous the idea might be.  One concern of mine (other professional sunbathers can relate to) wants to stay in the warmth of the sun as we float about the pool in the lounger or down the Guadalupe River in Texas on inner tubes.  This is especially important at the beginning or end of the summer when the air and water are a little cool - according to Texan standards (my Michigan blood has thinned!).  My son came up with a Sun Catcher - a device that would automatically move your lounger or inner tube into the sun (or to the shade if you are trying to avoid the sun).  A great solution to the problem.  Our list of problems provided him with fertile ground for future project analyses.

During Monday night football station breaks a Ford Escape commercial caught my eye.  The ad showed people with their hands full using their feet to open doors.  Ford had observed the way we behave and designed a feature on the Escape vehicle to solve the problem - a hatchback that opened using your foot to activate it.

Next time you are stuck for new ideas - look at the way people do things - and see if that helps your creative thinking.