Ideation. Our first step was determining the problems with existing toasters. We did some research on what was available in the toaster and toaster oven market, and we brought in some friends to get anecdotes and qualitative stories of user problems. The next step was using these problems to drive possible solutions; then we had a list of features to solve these problems.
A couple problems we heard often were that the toast sprang up too quickly and that you couldn't grab your toast without getting burned. The we came by some inspiration from the cassette player in the room.
Andrew Schmidt (Rose '12) draws up some possible schemes for toasters after we determined what problems toasters have.
Once we had a pile of broken user experiences, a conglomerate of features to solve those problems, some inspiration, and some possible sketches of the device, we worked out a user story: how is someone going to use this device?
Here's a rough sketch of the toaster in Solid Works (courtesy of Andrew).
toaster redesign

A collaboration project between Andrew Schmidt (Rose '12) and I for our creative design class -- learning methods of ideation and the necessity of innovation in industry. We also presented the Human Centered Design methodology to the class, and loosely followed it for conceiving this toaster.

Brian Cherbak
Engineer at MindTribe Product Engineering San Francisco, CA