MIT Design for Demining

Assignment 6 - Opportunity and ideas

Assigned Wednesday, February 21
Due Friday, February 23, by 3:30 pm

Reading

Read the JMA paper "How Product Design Can Improve Manual Demining" by Anders Ils°y.

Read the paper "Farming minefields" by Trevelyan et al.

Read the technical proposal Rapid Technical Surveys by Roger Hess.

The reading will help you think more broadly about opportunities and ideas that could be addressed.

Need statements

Your users have problems, dreams, desires that can be addressed by design. Develop 5 or more need statements. For each statement, include information about what is lacking or inadequate about the current situation. Use evidence as much as you can. It is easy to make guesses at needs. It is harder to support need statements with information derived from the people you are trying to help.

Each statement should neither be too broad nor too specific. For example, a statement could be "reduce the pain associated with kneeling for long periods." Saying that we should address "ergonomics" is too broad. Saying that we should "work on knee pads" is too specific.

Avoid making statements that are technology oriented in favor of ones that are user oriented. For example, "create a cushioning system" is technology oriented, where as "improve comfort while kneeling" is user oriented.

If there is a clear physically realizable thing identified by your statement, then it is probably an idea and not a need statement. "Knee pads" are physically realizable things. Add these to your ideas list!

You can often, but not always, look over ideas that you have already generated and back out what the needs are that they address. This may help you identify more needs that people have.

Remember that there are many members of the demining community, all of whom have unmet needs. You may identify important needs for other people than deminers.

Raw ideas

Develop at least 25 raw ideas and idea fragments (including your old ones, so at least 10 more) for products that address the needs that you have identified. Think of services as well as tangible devices.

Represent each idea with a thumbnail sketch and a name on a 3x5 card.

An idea may be for a whole product that addresses an opportunity fairly completely or for a part of one that meets a sub-opportunity or solves a sub- problem that must be further developed to describe a whole product. These are product idea fragments. In fact, try to avoid developing whole ideas at once as it often slows your movement. Later, you can expand these or combine them to create more complete ideas.

Do not judge or censor ideas at this stage, but rather develop a large amount of rich and varied material. If you feel the urge to dismiss an idea, use this feeling as a trigger to come up with another idea that contributes something instead of taking something away.

Develop as many ideas as possible. It is a lot easier to develop a surplus of raw ideas that you can then use to "compose" your more complete ideas from. You need to be able to "shop" for collections of ideas in the number that you generate. If you have little to choose from and, or reject, then this will reflect itself in the quality of the ideas and opportunities that you then compose. You are aiming for a large number of ideas or idea fragments in the range of 50 or more.

Develop your raw ideas in tandem with your need statements using one to help you establish the other. You can work top down by generating the statements and then coming up with ideas for products and services that meet them. Or, you can work bottom up and group a large number of ideas into categories and then figuring out what needs are established by each emergent category.

Submission

Create a PDF or Word compatible file with your need statements and supporting information. Format this file so that each statement has its own paragraph. Email this file to blinder@mit.edu. Be sure to include your name, assignment name and date at the top.

Bring 10 or more idea cards to class for review and to hand in. Wrap them in a rubber band or zip lock bag so we can keep track of them. Be sure to include a card with your name, date and assignment name on it.