Guppies Get Going! (TRINH)

After extensive research and weeks of planning, the Guppies Group Inc. members are finally going to start designing their product! This is an exciting step for the Guppies, we can’t wait to dive (Ha! Punny!) into the process of actually creating our water flotation devices. However, before the tweaking and tinkering begins, the Guppies and I have to complete our design proposal. What’s that you ask? Well,  curious reader, a design proposal is a crucial step when designing a product because it narrows down what our product will actually be and how our research has helped us develop this product. Similar to the memorandum, a design proposal contains various parts such as the executive summary, the statement of problem, technical background, design objectives and development, proposed design, and the project management plan. Whew! That’s a load of information just about one product isn’t it? This is done to ensure that all the details of the product and it’s design are carefully executed just like how it’s described in the design proposal. I am in charge of how the respiratory and circulatory system will be affected by the water flotation device and intertwining children’s body measurements into the design of our product.

Throughout these past two weeks the Guppies have been able to sketch out and choose elements that are the most important to keep in mind and implement when creating their product. The Guppies used mindomo.com ( a concept map website) to brainstorm topics for our interpreted needs list (this is used in the decision matrix). For an assignment, the Guppies had to each individually sketch out what the child water flotation will look like in their eyes. The sketches had to be detailed and show measurements, by doing this, the team can discuss with each other various aspects of the flotation device such as what material to put inside the device for maximum buoyancy, where the device would be put on the wearer, dimensions of the device, and what aspects were most important to keep in mind. The Guppies also filled out a decision matrix to identify and evaluate different options to create the most efficient product. At first the concept of a matrix seemed daunting but when it’s explained, it becomes much simpler. Across upper x-axis, each of the member’s own sketch and design will be placed here and down the left column will be the the most important to least important properties for the product. Our properties contained safety (a floatie has to keep the child from drowning), adjustability (one of our main customer needs), buoyancy, water resistancy, and cost. Then we ranked each product according to each property, a higher number means that it’s the least effective or evident in the design and a lower number means that it’s the most effective and evident in the design. Each row should have numbers from one to the amount of products listed in the upper x-axis. Now here’s how to calculate which product shows the most promise (although all of them do): multiply the importance by the effectiveness ranking and find the sum of each inside each column. The best product will have the lowest number. Hmmm, maybe I can try this “decision matrix” with the other aspects of my life…it’s super helpful because it helps evaluates which properties are the most evident in each idea.

An example of a decision matrix.
An example of a decision matrix.
Trinh’s sketch of an arm flotation device.

The Guppies noticed that Chloe’s idea had the lowest number but still plan to use ideas from the other group members. Angelic proposed an idea of a flotation belt that could attach to the child’s swimsuit, Toni proposed an idea that the device could incorporate gel as a buoyancy factor and I proposed an idea of creating a product with a thinner width so it’s not as “in-your-face” as the current flotation devices today. All such creative ideas!

Overall, it has been a productive couple of weeks for the Guppies and we can’t wait to start designing!

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