Quantifying Quality: The Pugh Analysis

After many sessions of brainstorming, we have all amassed a mountain of design ideas, and begun to evaluate them. To help sift through our many ideas, we have employed the Pugh analysis. In order to do this, we figured out which attributes we thought were important, such as cost, longevity, ease of assembly and the ability to protect. All designs are different in their own ways, so we needed a base level to compare all things to. As a base, we compared all the designs to current wood frames used in museums. Within each criteria, the new design could receive a +, – or 0, if it was apparently better, worse or the same as the museum’s frame. Although this can simplify things because some designs may be much better than others, we need to further narrow our options with more analysis.

After the first round of analysis, we all had designs that not only had varying scores, but also varying differences. Using these scores, we were able to combine different ideas, so that one design could improve on the shortcomings of another. After a series of revisions, we’ll finally narrow down to ten ideas. From here we’ll be able to further narrow down our designs by the importance of each category.


Over this past week, we have been focused on the brainstorming stage of our design process. We started off with each member and Dr.Wettergreen getting a hundred index cards. We had an hour to write down any keywords of ideas we could think of that were relevant to the design, no matter how outrageous or impossible. Then we shuffled all the cards together and redistributed them. We did two more rounds of brainstorming, this time writing down additional ideas based off of what was already written on the index cards.

Afterward, we taped all of our cards on the glass walls around the OEDK conference room and started stacking repeated or similar ideas on top of each other. Once the 500 index cards were narrowed down, we started sifting through the cards and putting them into concept groups, such as materials, structures, and, of course, a category for impossible ideas (e.g. magic or the Force) and crazy ideas (too difficult for us to design in the span of 9 weeks). Once we had defined groups, we tried to cut down even more on the number of cards. Finally, we arrived at design blocks, which are the necessary components of our final design, and we were able to put our concepts into these blocks.

Now, rather than brainstorming individual elements or attributes,  it’s time to come up with complete designs. Through four hour-long rounds of brainstorming, during which each of us have to come up with 15 designs, our objective is to use each element listed under our design blocks at least once. Playing off of each other for new ideas, we will ultimately have all the designs that can potentially be included in next week’s Pugh analysis. Our goal will be to quantitatively evaluate the qualitative characteristics of about five designs to determine which one will eventually become our prototype.

Recap of Week 6

We started this week by taking another look at our key components spreadsheet, and making sure that all our viable ideas from our note cards were represented. We printed out copies of our spreadsheet, and used them to help us in our next step of the brainstorming process.

We then began to do more note card style brainstorming, this time coming up with more complete ideas, and having our specific art pieces in mind. We referenced our spreadsheet to make sure we addressed all the different design blocks. Each of us came up with very different ideas, since our pieces have a wide-range of needs. We each came up with 15 ideas during this step, and presented our ideas to the others when we were finished, as well as to Dr. Matthew Wettergreen and Grace Rodriguez, who gave us valuable feedback to help us with our ideas.

For our next step, we once again came up with 15 ideas, but this time we focused on modularity and general solutions, rather than solutions tailored to our specific pieces. We still focused on utilizing our design blocks, but the ideas that we generated were very different from the previous round. After this round of brainstorming, we went through our spreadsheet to make sure every design idea had been used at least once. We wrote a list of the ideas that hadn’t been used yet, and referenced this list during our next round, in which we once again generated 15 ideas each.

Before attending our Innovation Norway class on Thursday, we needed to have a rough draft of a market analysis section for our business plan assignment. We did some further research about museums in the United States, and made use of the research we had already done for our Design Analysis Phase Report, in which we extensively examined companies that offer similar products. We also did a final push in our brainstorming, each coming up with 3 realistic ideas that focused on modularity and the use of silicone.

Recap of Week 5

This week, we started our first round of brainstorming. On Monday, we did a warm-up exercise by brainstorming a team name. We thought of a lot of different ideas, from inno-crate to texo-skeleton. We had a time limit on our brainstorming, but we hadn’t chosen a final name yet, so we quickly combined all our ideas into ARTadillo-Inno-Crate-a-Pod. At a later time, we researched which of our name ideas were already company names, in order to narrow our options. Our final decision was ArtArmor.

Our next step was to start brainstorming ideas for our actual project. We each got a stack of 100 blank note cards, and had one hour to write an idea on each one. The ideas didn’t have to be complete or realistic, but we did have to fill out all 100 cards. We then color coded our cards to indicate who came up with each idea, and shuffled them together in a complete stack. Then we each took a section of the stack and read through the ideas, and wrote any additional ideas that we generated.

On Tuesday, we took all our 500 note cards and taped them up on the glass walls of the conference room in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK). Initially, we taped all of them up in random order. Then, we re-organized them into four categories: materials, features, concepts, and geometry. We then broke these down further into more detailed categories. This enabled us to find overlaps in our brainstorming, and access our ideas more easily.

Once we had organized all our ideas, we went through the different categories and tried to brainstorm any more ideas that we could, if we thought of something that was missing. We also looked for trends in our categories that would become our “design blocks.” The intial design blocks were outside shape, interface with object, human interaction, and technologies. These were later broken down into more specific categories, and a materials aspect was added, as we compiled all our ideas into a key componets spreadsheet.

Brainstorming 301

For the third round of brainstorming, we consolidated our ideas into more solidified categories. Each of the subcategories were unified and strengthed by tying similar ideas together. Similar ideas were further consolidated by making sure that the ideas did not overlap into multiple categories and that similar index cards were stacked on top of each other. Next, the ideas were tied to the design objectives as detailed in the comprehensive design analysis phase report. In reassessing the design objectives, we elaborated on the current objectives and insured that the original objectives covered everything. We then dedicated more time to brainstorming specific ideas about how each design objective can be met. Those additional ideas that spawned from concentrated brainstorming of the design objectives were then added to the collection of ideas by category. Next, we focused on the key components of our storage solution. These components are the necessary elements that our solution cannot do without and include the categories: interface with object, human interaction, shape/form, and technologies. We created several idea maps to visually display the key components and each physical element related to each component. From here, we can more easily visualize our options and potential ideas to follow through with in the design phase.

Brainstorming 201

After brainstorming 500 ideas on note cards, in order to productively access our ideas, we needed to organize them.  Before we could organize them, however, we needed to be able to see all of them. We chose the biggest conference room in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) for our pallet. All the walls are glass windows, so we taped all our note cards onto the wall so that we could see them all at once. Once the walls were completely covered in note cards, we needed to categorize them to reduce confusion. We read through the cards to look for common themes that could become categories. We initially built four categories: materials, features, concepts, and geometry.

These four categories were still fairly daunting, so we did a further breakdown of each category into more specified sections. Within the materials category, we divided the cards into smaller groups of types of materials, such as metals, fluids, and foams. For the features, we determined that some of the cards indicated specific parts, like different styles of handles, while others were possible features, like temperature monitoring. The concepts section was broken down into cards that suggested building off of a specific existing concept, or new ideas that could stand alone. For the geometry category, we first made a section of the different possible outside shapes, like a sphere or pyramid. In the remaining cards, we saw groups of different ways to interface with the art piece, such as through suspension, anchoring, or nesting.

Adding these more specified sub categories made it possible for us to view our ideas in an organized matter. It also enabled us to find cards that repeated similar ideas. When we found those cards, we stacked them on top of each other, so that we weren’t throwing out any cards, but we were paring the field in order to have a more concise group to work from. We also made an important extra category: the ridiculous category. We didn’t dispose of outrageous ideas, but set them aside, so that inspiration could still be drawn from them.

For more pictures of our brainstorming session, please visit our Flickr page.