This week our team, Plugged In has been very busy trying to plan for the future possibility of portable charger stations for our school. Our goal is to create/build a station that holds around eight to twelve slots for cellular devices that can be easily charged during school. So far, we have been brainstorming and sketching designs, and looking at other products that are similar to the one that we are trying to design. Plugged In would like for these stations to be located in various teacher classrooms and other common spaces around the school: a place that is easily accessible to all students. We have not completely decided on what our product will look like, but we all have a similar idea of what we are shooting for. As a team, we highly value the customers needs in terms of safety and accessibility so we decided to interview students and teachers as well as send out surveys to understand a little more of what they prefer. Today, we split up and interviewed different teachers to see what they thought of the idea of the product. Surprisingly, all of the teachers we interviewed loved the idea and thought it would be a great tool to have in their classroom because charging cell phones is a common issue among most students.
Plugged In is also working on creating a competitive analysis to compare and contrast already existing products that could possibly help us improve and adjust our design. While researching, I found different varieties of portable charging stations that helped me see the different types of designs out there. I was surprised at how many different types of products that are already out there and at how different, more efficient, and inexpensive our product will be while performing the same functions. The only problem that we have is deciding whether or not to provide the charging cords for the charging stations and what types of cords. Essentially, it would be ideal to have the cords already provided in the charging stations with the common type of phone charger used (iPhone), but it wouldn’t benefit the other phone carriers (Samsung, Android). We hope to solve this problem through the survey results and eventually come to a reasonable conclusion, but for now we need to back up and determine what the customer wants. Next week, once we have decided on a reasonable design, we will head to the Maker Space to start building (my favorite part).