For the past few hundred decades or so, wearing high heels has continued to be an ongoing issue among wearers and non-wearers alike. Although the need to wear them is still highly being recognized and followed–invoking a non-compensatable invigorating sense of fashion, power, confidence and femininity–women have been excessively complaining about its pains and discomforts. Yet, save for a few innovations in the shoe structure and a few temporarily conducive accessories, nothing has been done to fix this problem. Fashion gurus and the like attest to this problem by popular saying, “fashion has a price.” But this is where it all becomes very conflicting.
If wearing heels meant looking good, therefore feeling good; and wearing comfortable shoes also meant feeling good: why can’t wearing heels just also be as comfortable? Why does one or the other have to be at expense?
Throughout the two months the group has been seeking solutions on how to resolve this great battle between heels and comfort. And our answer? Just like any other war, the best solution is to make them both friends!
This mindset is exactly what prompted the big jump start of this revolutionary project. By asking the question, “in what ways might we design a multi-purpose high-heeled shoes to make wearing heels more confortable and safe”, we are taking on this venture of solving what has never been solved before.
Now we have arrived at the final phase of our works, first let us provide the whole overview of how we have come to our solution.
*Please refer to previous blog posts for reference.
To go with the Rosetta Stone and Idea Bazaar concept, the group started out observing and gathering all types of information about anything that involved heels – the kinds of them that exist, what it’s like to wear them according to different women, reactions from the men who get attracted to it, the shoemakers themselves, fashion articles, interviews, health and physiological implications, and even the occasional foot spa treatment that relieves the muscles, joints and tendons affected in wearing them. And the more random the information-gathering process got (even enjoying music videos of it or two in the process), the more insights we gained along with it. Best of all, like being an Explorer it was both engaging and fun to just collect, collect, collect!
This stage then led us to redefine our question on the consumer insight that confidence and empowerment are exuded when women know how to wear high heels safely and comfortably. Having known this, we had a shift of heart, from designing a multi-purpose high-heeled shoes, we went with designing an accessory for high-heeled shoes to make wearing heels comfortable and safe. The truth was that women ADORED those pairs of heels they have, which is why they buy them in the first place. It’s not because they’re comfortable to wear, but rather they were pretty and hot. It made them look and feel sexy, empowered and confident despite the busy schedules and tiring days.
Having mentioned this, our new problem was, “in what ways might we design an accessory for high-heeled shoes to make wearing them more comfortable and safe.”
After the first stage, it was now time to bake budding ideas halfway and start actually answering our problem. We started to ask what-if questions and look for hidden analogies, break the rules, look at things backwards, and pay attention to unusual patterns in conventional thinking. When the crazy started to get out, we knew the Artist was coming out.
The group had then decided to conceive an accessory to address our problem. We figured that it would not be feasible and achievable to just suddenly create a universal shoe structure to meet foot health requirement standards: problems and restrictions in the design process would inevitably occur, therefore innovating the shoe itself was out of the question.
We employed the three strategies introduced in class: the Reverse Technique, Forced Connection Technique and the Mix and Match Technique into creating a unique original idea. Considering the existence of in-sole supplements, we tried to improve from this into something more effective, long-lasting, and needless to say, problem-addressing.
Excitedly coming off from the idea of NASA’s Memory Foam technology used in Tempur pillows, we have come up with introducing a shape-shifting Memory Silicon Gel (or Memory Gel for short) that conforms with the shape of your foot and automatically adjusts the pressure and temperature of the foot pressing against it. Theoretically, it’s meant to strengthen areas of the foot showing signs of distress and weakness, provide permeable allowances that regulate foot odor and is transparent in color so that it may not interfere with the design of the shoe itself.
The three techniques also led us to want to create a whole new experienceof wearing heels more than anything.
Key to making this entire project work is forming a value proposition that would entice action from the other end of this endeavor – the audience. We figured it wouldn’t be achievable with just a single piece of Memory Gel because that wouldn’t prove its worth as significantly higher than any other in-sole accessory. We decided to turn the conviction of being able to provide a complete heel experience into our selling point, so we thought that a kit–that contained anion packet (that contains anion that can supposedly make you stronger to prepare you for a night/day of wearing those high heels), a cream-socks (that would help the user relax while sleeping, with deodorizing effects), and a Heel Ed manual (to educate the wearer about heels) and the Memory Gel itself–served as an all-in-one solution would do that job. Banking on women’s natural flair for quirks, the package’s aesthetic appearance is also designed to contribute a major part in marketing.
The concern also lied in the sense that it’s a lot of steps to do rather than just one, time-consuming and that it might not be as easy for people to follow as intended. But all that can simply be addressed by idiot-proofing it the best way possible, which is very achievable in the process of designing it in a minimalist fashion.
It was time for the group to decide if we were capable of and if it was worth implementing the idea. We went on to set ourselves as Judges. Performing the Six Thinking Hats Technique and attacking it from across various standpoints in class, several important points were raised.
Here we see keywords that contribute to either the idea’s advantage or disadvantage.
Precisely because it involved never-before used technology, it was a risky concept to bank on. But after efforts of research, a heavy dose of wishful thinking and prayer; it turned out Memory Gel was an existing technology after all – only in a way nobody in the group could have ever guessed: as breast implants. Funny, but heaps oh-so-relieving!
We believe the memory aspect of this would really help a lot of women relieve the pain of wearing heels. Because it takes the shape of the feet and at the same time goes back to the original form, we strongly believe this can be useful as it can be transferred from one heel to another, lessening the hassle of having to buy a lot of sets. At the same time, we believe the use of silicon could lessen the heat one can feel and the stickiness one would feel if he/she removes it.
We also performed research and proved this innovation was really something no one has seen before. As such, we decided to push through with it. 🙂 Of course, Marketing will play a big role as it would eventually be the key in sales.
The last leg of this phase involved carrying the idea into action, like a Warrior.
Here is the physical prototype of the conceptual product.
Individually, here is how the different parts will look like.
Would YOU rather choose to be this?