Reduce Football Concussions
What was overlooked? Magnets can repel each other.
For more details, read more at this blog.
Save Everyone on the Titanic
The iceberg was a large floating surface 50-100 feet out of the water and 200-400 feet long, according to eyewitness accounts. People could have possibly found flat spots on the iceberg to stay out of the frigid water until help arrived. Read more about this possibility.
Wooden boards and planks could have been used to straddle between lifeboats creating a platform above the water for holding people.
Many wooden tables from the palacial dining rooms would float and perhaps they could have been tied together to make a large floating surface to keep people out of the icy north Atlantic waters until help arrived.
Many passengers brought their belongings onboard in steamer trunks. Empty the trunks and close them tight, so they will float. Tie many of them together to create a floating surface. If too unsteady, lay wooden boards across them to make what people stand on more sturdy.
Rubber tires and inner tubes. It is estimated that up to 40 cars were in storage. Again, fastening together the rubber tires and inner tubes could have provided a floating foundation upon which to place boards.
These are just a few of the resources that our BrainSwarming process uncovered.
Adhere a Coating to Teflon
What was overlooked? Magnets again.
An engineering company approached us with this unsolved problem. Everything they tried failed and most often damaged the Teflon. They were stuck on chemical solutions.
I listed out the assumptions they were making when they used the verb adhere to describe their problem. Two assumptions were crucial to devising a solution. They assumed they should use a chemical solution and they should fasten together two surfaces.
I challenged those assumptions and created the Teflon Sandwich Solution.
The solution consisted of a sandwich of three surfaces (i.e., coating, Teflon, and magnet) in which the coating indirectly stuck to the Teflon due to its attraction to the magnetic surface beneath the Teflon. The coating, of course, must possess the proper chemical makeup to attract the magnetic surface.
Create New Uses for a Product
A company asked me to create new uses for pouch packaging. Pouches stand up and reseal at the top. They are already used to hold many things, including candy as shown in the figure below.
Empty pouches. All pouches sold contain something. Sell empty pouches so that the customer can decide what to put in them. Sell these empty pouches in supermarkets next to the sandwich bags and freezer bags.
Multiple Compartment Pouches. All pouches have one inner compartment. Two-compartment pouches could hold two things that you want to mix together later: salad and salad dressing, milk and cereal, etc.
Aroma Control Pouches. Smell is an overlooked potential of pouches. Sell potpourri in resealable pouches so you can reseal them and stop the aroma. Sell pouches the size of office garbage cans that reseal to keep the garbage smell inside.
Larger Pouches. Most pouches sold are about the size of one's hand. As described above, make standing pouches the size of office garbage cans. Or, sell a gallon of paint in a resealable pouch.
How were these things noticed? The List of 50 Features
We have an extensive list of 50 features that any object can possess (e.g., shape, material, etc). My research shows that people overlook 66% of the features on this list. That is a lot of overlooked features that could be manipulated to produce new uses. Using this list of 50 features quickly uncovers these overlooked possibilities.
Restructuring U.S. Postal Deliver
What was overlooked? Where people go frequently, perhaps daily, besides home.
Imagine subway commuters picking up their mail at a bank of mail boxes in a subway station that they frequent every weekday. Subway stations are locked at night.
Postal workers deliver the mail to this frequented locations and save incredible money by eliminating so many home deliveries. Postal workers deliver the mail to banks of boxes at coffee drive-throughs and hand it out in the morning as people commute to work.
What was overlooked? The fact that candles are motionless, so make them move!
How was this noticed? The List of 50 Features (described above with the pouch example)