Open House Report

Posted on: Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Open House gave us an opportunity to show people outside the class what we’ve been doing for the past 2 semesters. Lots of people, students and strangers alike, came to our spot for us to give our short elevator pitch about Sustain-a-Stack. What attracted people to our area was our obnoxiously massive poster. Two laptops were set up: one for the widget and another with a slideshow of our midterm presentation. In between them was our prototype and a print out of our sketch of what we envisioned would be our final product. We received great reviews on the idea being marketable and on our slick widget. It would have been great to have our water sprayer working but we had to take it out because we foresaw people clicking on the water widget constantly during the day and flooding the box!

One of the most obvious beneficial elements of having our project present at SFU Surrey’s Open House is the sheer volume of people who attended. Coaxing out valuable feedback, however, is not as easy as one might assume. Fortunately for us, there were several individuals who were willing to offer some interesting suggestions and comments that we had yet to consider:

Year-round gardening

We never did consider how changing seasons affected gardening until one interested lady came to talk to us. True enough, planting indoors would be great for planting fresh herbs for Christmas dinner! As an extension of this, the climate our product is capable of generating can also serve as a guide for suggesting a wider variety of potential vegetables and herbs that can be grown.

Individual Reflections

Kurtis Beard’s Response:

After the stress of preparing for our midterm presentation a week earlier, the Open House was a welcome change-of-pace. The energy and genuine interest in student projects was abound, regardless of whether our room was overheated and overly dark. For myself, the experience ranged quite dramatically from rewarding to tedious, depending on the questions and interests of many passerby. Of those who critical-minded when examining our project, many offered new insights, which will most certainly help guide our team for the remainder of the semester.

Kiks Chua’s Response:

I thought that the open house served as a great deadline for us to get as much as possible done to have something presentable. It was also good practice for us to market our product with our elevator speech and get the response of people outside class. Getting constructive feedback from people didn’t really happen but what the group got out of it was that there was real interest in the development of the sustain-a-stack.

Samanthi Jayetileke’s Response:

After months of working on several prototypes, discussions, and idea generating, our team finally came up with a prototype to present during the Open House Event, Spring, 2008. To embark on a new cliental; parents and prospective students to SFU, we wanted to gain as much feedback as we could. Even though our location might have not been the greatest, we were still able to attain a lot of positive energy and interested people, who asked us a number of questions. Our project opened up people’s minds, to what technology can be used for, and as one lady had mentioned during her visit with us, “You all do such interesting, neat, and unique projects! I’m glad that students are looking forward, and thinking about integrating everyday objects with technology, to create a real mix!”.

Derek Pante’s Response:

I thought the Open House went well- not great, but good. It was definitely a lot of fun, though! We were approached by a lot of individuals who seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing. Though we kind of stumbled a bit initially (I was so nervous with the first group of people who came up to us that I completely forgot to mention our widget interface!), it became easier to communicate our idea to others. One particularly interesting moment for me personally was when I was approached by two nice senior ladies who wanted to know about our project, and then accidently mistook our project for another similar project in the room (Quote - “Oh, so is this the project that lets you see a plant’s feelings? That’s fantastic!”). I didn’t have the heart to disappoint them so I said “Yes!”. Other individuals were a little more aware of what our project was, and gave us incredible feedback, such as taking away the glass encasing to allow physical contact with the plants, and possibly focusing on a particular type of plants to make our project more specialized. The Open House was quite a positive experience.

Manuel Pineault’s Response:

The biggest highlight for me was getting the widget working with the lighting and watering right before the Open House started. Although our group had a great set-up, the room was too dark and our spot was only noticeable thanks to out giant poster. I feel that we could have gotten more people to come over and talk if we got a better spot.

Andrew Thong’s Response:

Overall, I think the Open House event was an interesting event where we really got a chance to understand the other projects. It was also a good practice for elevator pitches as we had to further explain our concept from time to time. On the other hand, I have to complain about the lack of space for our project as we were squished in that corner with another team. Our location had potential, but the sheer number of other projects placed us in an awkward angle, potentially losing a lot of exposure. And more importantly, because several teams required the use of a projector, the lights had to be turned off- and so our display was left in it’s own dim corner.

Brian Quan’s Response:

SFU Surrey Open House is always one of the biggest events each year. I have volunteered at many Open Houses before, but this was the first time I was showcasing a project. It was a bit of push the few weeks before to try and be ready for this day, but it was a deadline for us to get stuff done. The prototype had been completed for the midterm presentation, but the watering system was still a bit glitchy. We had removed the watering pump system anyways as people would have been constantly forcing Sustain-a-Stack to water and would likely flood the compartment (or worse: make it a big messy box’o'mud). The room was really hot, our location was decent, but could have been better if we weren’t shoved into the same corner with another team. We were right at the door and people could naturally walk in our direction. There was quite a bit of feedback from the many visitors. One of my favorites was a lady who told us how our sustain-a-stack would be great to help prepare seedlings for outside gardens during the winter, and transfer to outdoor gardens during the spring and summer. Overall, things went well.

Click on Sammy for Pictures!




Week 10: One More Time

Posted on: Wednesday, November 7, 2007

To begin this week, our entrepreneur Andrew, explores other possible forms for the Sustain-A-Stack design.

“I think that we need to take the word furniture more seriously. There are many other types of furniture that must be explored. Let’s see what happens”



Week 1: Introduction & Team Formation

Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

During Week One, the Octobox team went through an incredible creative process to not only find out about ourselves and our goals as individuals, but as a team. The first task was to form a team and find out what our individual and team skills were. We created our own “skill maps”, and then combined them into one large map to get a better idea of what skills are available in our team: