Yesterday we had a one day workshop, where we had the task of generating some concepts for the 3rd generation of soap dispensers from Scanamenities, danish based hotel amenities supplier. Their goals is to approach the US market and become world leader in the field of hotel amenities. According to their founder, they are currently in the top 5 in this above mentioned market.
The purpose of the workshop was to innovate their current products and/or come up with new concepts/prototypes for the next set of soap-dispensers. We were presented the 1st and the 2nd generation dispensers that looked like below :
This is called ILLI 1. A really simplist design, the dispenser being composed of 2 plastic components. The front leid seems a bit big but it doesn’t seem to be of any inconvenience.
You guessed it, this is ILLI 2. We concluded that it’s not that intuitive, as we didn’t realise how to use it in the first 5 seconds after seeing it.
The workshop started with an initial brainstorm. Next, we tried to identify the sequences behind using a soap dispenser. Finding ways to eliminate one or more of the sequences can drastically improve the user experience. This can be applied to almost any product. After that, we classified the ideas into themes / areas (design, dispensing mode, tank modifications) and into concept relationship (some ideas can work with others and some ideas are what-sort universal, they can basically be added to any concept).
We were required to have at least 2 concepts. Me and the group that i’ve brainstormed with, have made 3 concepts. Simple drawings on the whiteboard/A1 sheet and explications, are, in my opinion, the minimum required to describe a concept.
Apparently Scanamenities are thinking of ideas similar to ours for several years. We were more technical oriented and didn’t took into consideration the whole user experience. It seems that users are looking for a high-end product that will not make them feel in a public toilet and they also want a comforting experience delivered with the soap-dispenser in a hotel room. On the other hand hotels are looking for a low cost solution that will also influence the volume control (dispensing soap exactly as needed). One of our teachers understood this before us and drew the following:
An overall nice day, even though i couldn’t stay until the end. Workshops like these can really help take your mind of the projects that class is dealing with for several months. It’s also a great way to see the thinking behind the creation of such products.