Initial Project Scoping

In this lesson, we implemented the first stage of the “design thinking” process that we learned in previous sessions for our term project. Each team in the class was asked to come up with three “How can we” statements. The point of this procedure is to identify problems that could possibly be solved with our skills. It doesn’t have to affect a huge population, while it must address some problem that bothers people in real life.

In the given 30 minutes during the class, we identified three problems came from our lives as college students:

How can we save water when cleaning dishes?

First problem we identified is that too much water was wasted when we wash dishes by hands. A considerable amount of water was not utilized effectively when we rinse the dishes. As we all agreed, our concern in this issue is to save resource and energy instead of water bill.

When we moved forward to think about possible solutions, we were inspired by a product design on, which pulverizes water stream. Our team thinks we could build on that idea and design a product that works with different types of home-use or commercial faucets. We will be continue working on brainstorming solutions in the following meetings.

How can we make smart home more affordable and hassle-free?

When we were discussing what else problem we have in our life, we came to a consensus that it is really annoying when we realized the light was still on after we jumped to our beds at nights. All of us really want to control the light remotely from our phones. However, as renters, we can’t install the device in the wall. Therefore, it came to us that although smart home is becoming trendy these days, it is still inapplicable to a lot of people, such as renters and people lack of technical capabilities. In addition, the prices of smart home are high for non-tech fans. For instance, Phillips Hue Starter Pack costs $200 without handling fees (more information). How can we make smart home accessible to more people?

One possible solution we came up at the first stage is to have a device that can be adhered to the wall on top of the switch and control the switch through mechanical movement. The device can be connected to the phone through bluetooth or wifi. This approach allows hassle-free installation and is zero knowledge required. We will probably dive deeper into this idea in the later process.

How can we prevent heat from leaking through window while allowing us to open window during winter time?

In winter, a lot of us may have sealed their window trying to prevent heat to come out. However, it might not work effectively due to uneven faces. Meanwhile, it also prevents us from opening the window when weather became nice temporarily (like last week). Therefore, we think it’s a problem that might have a better solution. We will continue brainstorming the solutions in future sessions.

Next Step

As I mentioned above, we will continue our “design thinking” process in the future. We will brainstorm solutions for each “How can we” statement and choose one for term project based on the our skill sets and what we learned in the reading “10 Ways To Evaluate A New Business Idea”.

One thought on “Initial Project Scoping

  1. Hi Xinlu,

    I really enjoyed your post, it led me through your brainstorming step by step! The questions really help distinguish and emphasize what’s important in your issue. I especially liked how you got your idea from just a simple kickstarted. It goes to show how simple or unexpected things can inspire great designs! Keep up the good work!

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