Assignment 1.2 Find the Gap

posted Oct 24, 2013, 12:08 PM by Rose Almond   [ updated Oct 27, 2013, 7:38 AM ]
This assignment suggested looking for gaps in service that affect me personally. I took this literally and spent the majority of the week actively thinking about what annoys me the most about the things I use everyday. I could just write a short bullet list, but that's not much fun or very informative as an exercise (but it is down at the bottom in case you can't be bothered reading my full post).

Gap #1: So I started off Monday morning as I do every Monday, with a coffee (I'm a certified coffee addict). I have a coffee machine that is pre-programmed to go off at a certain time everyday. There are two problems with this though. Firstly I often forget to load it the night before which means the feature is redundant since I still have to go load it and turn it on in the morning instead of finding a nice brewed pot of coffee waiting for me. Secondly, I get up about 4 hours before my significant other meaning my pot of coffee is now cold and stale for him who has to microwave his coffee (yuk). Therefore a gap exists in a coffee machine that would load itself and do two separate brews at different times so that we both get nice fresh coffee to start our weeks with absolutely no effort.

Gap #2: Having got the coffee brewed I now have another dilemma. I have two coffee mugs, one leaks and the other doesn't fit into my car's cup holder. Or rather it does fit but it wobbles (because of the top heaviness because it's a BIG mug) and spills hot coffee on my leg every time I go around a corner too fast (a little too often). The only option is then to put the coffee mug in the cup holder between the driver and passenger seats which then means I can't drink my coffee until I reach work unless I contort myself  into an awkward position to reach the coffee, which usually results in me spilling coffee on myself. I did have a third mug but I gave it away when I realised it didn't keep the coffee warm on my 20 minute commute. Clearly these mugs are inadequate and a better solution is desperately needed.

Gap #3: Tuesday I have leftover Pizza for lunch. A lunch staple in my opinion. I like my pizza crust crispy, but unfortunately once microwaved my crispy pizza is reduced to a molten soggy mess in a poor reflection of it's former glory. Add in the fact that i had to mangle the pizza slice to get the triangle to fit into the square box and it's not looking so appetizing anymore. I assume I am not alone in routinely finding this problem so clearly there's a gap here.

Gap #4: While microwaving my pizza in the lunch room I find food debris splattered all over the inside of the microwave. Kinda grosses me out and I'm tempted to just eat my pizza cold. Instead I clean the microwave before using it to make sure no unidentified particles land on my uncovered lunch (unlikely to happen but it's a random phobia of mine). Why don't microwaves have a self clean operation like ovens?

Gap #5: Tuesday night is Brownie meeting planning night (I'm a Girl Guide leader). While I find the dining table great for doing craft organisation and entertaining, it's got a huge footprint in our tiny apartment. Perhaps there's a way to make it disappear when it's not needed? We have next to no storage so folding into a closet is not an option, but perhaps it could become something else useful?

Gap #6: The reason we have no storage is because my Brownie craft supplies are loaded into my closet (loaded in the sense of throw it in and slam the door). This is because we have zero storage in our office/den area which typically looks as though a paper monster threw up. A  way to organise this area would allow me (and people with other small apartments) to reclaim the rest of their apartments- that has to be a great gap to tackle.

Gap #7: Wednesday I have my Brownie meeting which means I get home late to find white kitty litter paw prints tracked all over the dark hardwood floors. Last week I bought a special mat to stop this. It's not working.

Gap #8: Thursday I have to go grocery shopping. We have zero lunch stuffs and no coffee. Lucky me has Ramen noodles and instant espresso stashed in my desk for such emergencies, my other half doesn't. Guess he's going to McDonalds. I hate shopping, any shopping, but especially food shopping. Before I moved to Canada I used on-line grocery shopping so I never had to set foot in a grocery store. Here the alternatives for that are depressingly expensive. Perhaps there's a way to create a competitive business model or system that would help me avoid shopping again?

Gap #9: I have a pedometer. A fancy pedometer. A Fitbit One. I love it to bits (see assignment 1.1). That's the functionality though. The accessories are kinda... erm... yeah. The sleep wristband in particular is a stretchy velcroed nightmare which is super difficult to put on yourself and mine sometimes even comes off in the night if I toss and turn too much. Yes I could upgrade to the new Fitbit Force (and it's tempting since I currently have no watch either) but that's pretty expensive and I've only had my Fitbit One for a relatively short time and there's nothing wrong with it so I'm naturally reluctant to part with more money than necessary. 

Gap #10: Finally Saturday was the fall cookie sale in the subway to raise money for our Brownie camp activities for the year. Thursday was the day I realized I had no table to take and that folding tables are surprisingly expensive. $20 later I now have a (very) small plastic folding table for such events. Hopefully I'll be doing some similar things again that will warrant having this table, and storing this table and lugging this table around. Note the previous issues with storage space. 
Why is there no inexpensive option for exhibition tables that are only needed on a one off basis?

And to summarize here's the nice short bullet list in case you glossed over half way through my epicly long post:
  1. A way to load and brew two separate pots of coffee at different pre-set times to avoid stale coffee.
  2. A better way to take coffee in the car that doesn't leak, fits my car's coffee mug holder and keeps the coffee warm and fresh.*
  3. A way to take left over pizza for lunch and keep it crispy after microwaving.
  4. A self cleaning microwave.
  5. A convertible piece of furniture that will create a 4-6 person dining table when needed, but otherwise take up minimal physical space while doing something else.
  6. A solution for the un-organized chaos that is the Den/office area of our small apartment.
  7. A way to avoid or simplify food shopping.
  8. A solution to avoid kitty litter being tracked around the whole apartment.
  9. Better functioning Fitbit One accessories.
  10. A one-use lightweight exhibition table with minimal cost.

*This will be my gap.