Personal Creativity Archive

Class Notes and Creativity Techniques

Description: This will become a portfolio of what you have learned this semester. You can include notes from activities, but the main objective of this section is for you to record creativity techniques and key takeaways from class.

Aug 27
During class we talked about creativity.  What it was and how we better ourselves.  The most interesting class topic was the box the 3 x 3 dot box (pictured in the gallery).  We were told to connect the dots without raising your pencil.  I have never seen that exercise before and it was fascinating how another student was able to do it.

Aug 29
Today we talked about Juxtaposition.  It was an awesome tool to get the creative juices going.  We actually got into groups and started did some brainstorming sessions using juxtaposition. 

Sept 3
I created a slide deck about myself and presented to a group.
View Slide Deck

Sept 5

Sept 10
Today we had to submit our reflection for Creativity for Critical Thinkers Read Paper Here.  In the beginning we conducted some excerWe had some interesting discussions about the boo.
Exercise to Fill Curiosity
Who created it?
Founders were students 
Edwin and Candice
his background in the engineering and bike industry and her background in business and finance

An avid cyclist, Edwin has a deep understanding of bicycle design and extensive experience in the bike industry and Internet of Things (IoT). He formerly served as a Mechanical Engineer for Trek Bicycle and the Design Consultant for a Fortune 500 company. He has earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

Candice leads VeoRide to advance and react to a dynamic regulatory environment and seek paths toward efficient and effective expansion. Previously, she worked at Schneider Electric, the Bank of China and MassMutual Financial Group. She graduated with distinction from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in finance.

Why did they create it?
they struggled to find a flexible, reliable and convenient transportation option on campus.

How did they do it?
Purdue Foundry, a commercialization accelerator

Sept 12
Today we went to the Idea garden and took a look around.  The topics for our exploration was bioinspiration and biomimicry.  It was difficult trying to look at nature and try and force a solution.  I think when you are not looking is when you get the most.  

Sept 17
We started the class by doing curious exercises.  The first one was about 20 things to make a grocery store experience harder.  We followed it by 2o reasons why people might not manage their time effectively.  Next we went over a problem tree.  How the roots of a problem (root of a tree). Branches are effects.

Sept 19
Today was our first PCA check. Other students on my team had interesting ways in which they were developing theirs.  The most visually appealing was a student using and note taking application.  He was very organized.

Sept 24
We presented our Bioinspiration presentation today.  You can find more at 
It was fun and I thought we did well, but had a lot of room for improvement.  We should have practiced before we went up there since we were all over the place.  

Sept 26
I was not in class due to a job conference in Houston, Texas

Oct 1
Today we talked about our reflection on Kelley and Kelly’s book Creative Confidence.  One of the best books I have ever read with a lot insights and information for bettering myself and my businesses.

Oct 3
Today I taught “starting a product business.”  (See image gallery for lesson plan) . I thought it went really well and I learned a lot from the other students.  

Oct 8
To continue from the Bioinspiration project, I pitched about the need to innovate in the energy sector.  I was able to join another student who pitched about better insulation.  We built a great team of 4 and am excited how and where this idea will go.

Oct 10
Turned in the semester project plan.  I pulled a previous resource from another class to build out this. 

Oct 15
Using the color green we thought of different ideas.  Quick listing.  We did the same thing with the color blue.
Techniques for consumer interviews and how to better approach them.
Being patient. Relating with the person. Saying yes to everything. Being able to record to relay information back later. Keeping everything general.

Oct 17
Was not in class but the class went to go see the FAB lab.  I have worked in the FAB lab before so there was no real purpose.

Oct 22
Today we just talked about our new book report.  I read Peter Thiel’s “From Zero to One”.   Just like “Creative Confidence” it was very insightful with a lot of information that help me think through my life and businesses.  10 out of 10.  With more time I would love to make reading a habit because I believe a lot of new thought can come of it. We also saw a video from the design school of creating a shopping cart!

Oct 24
Researched companies and thought about how they changed consumer habits.
What is it known for? What industry assumption did this company challenge? How did it overcome these challenges
Airbnb: A company that created a system that provides people who travel with a place to stay through home or apartment owners within the desired traveling area. Some of the challenges were coming up with is the fact they would have to stay in these homes. No one has ever don’t this before so to solve this issue they created a system to trust the homeowners and the homeowners trust them.
Southwest Airlines: A company that buys commercial airplanes and provides customers transportation. Southwest Airlines were trying to profit as much as possible making prices of trips very cheap and within short distances causing challenges for other companies. Additionally, they didn’t do assigned seating making it even harder to compete. They resolved this over time they created an agreement.
Kiva: This company can provide loans to many people around the world. One of the challenges usually to lend money around the world is having a ton of it already. They decided to tack this by like Airbnb. Where someone with good spirit can lend money online and send it to someone in desperate need in the world. One

Oct 29
We looked at the toothbrush and thought of ways to improve.  See thumbnails below for more information!

Oct 31
You Teach Us: Taught students about sales team.  I also learned about different creativity method, improv, and about France.  Loved learning about new random things.  See below for lesson plan. 

Nov 5
Theme today was rapid prototyping.  Watched a video on the Google Glasses and then got with toothbrush group to determine direction and possible prototyping steps.

Nov 7
Discussed semester project with group and updated half the class on progress to date and solution directions.

Nov 12
Sat with a group to brainstorm solutions to improve courses – Thought of using machine learning to help students and schools determine plan and necessary classes.  Algorithm would pull data from transcripts and homework assignments to determine plan. 

Nov 14
Was not in class, but we did PCA check 2

Nov 19
Write Something Here

Nov 21
Write Something Her 

Dec 3
Today I taught the class my additional assignment of designing with empathy and sustainability.  Steven taught K-12 with creativity.  It was a great class to learn from teaching and others.

Dec 5
Today we talked about pitching.  I spoke for about 15 minutes to the class to describe my experiences and what I have done.  I had to go the second half to see my interns presentation.

Dec 10
Today we did the symbolic synthesis and everyone shared the thing they created.  I created a video from all the things I did this semester.  I have posted it below.  Some of the most interesting things I saw was a poem about the class, a box that opened up into various pieces, and I liked a shoebox that looked a like a problem tree.

Dec 12

Today is a reading day and we have no class

Dec 18
Today we pitch our final projects to the class    

Problems/Opportunities for Improvement

Description: This is your place to nurture your curiosity and problem finding. Focus on both problems that you encounter in your daily life as well as discovering opportunities in areas that are new to you. Each problem/opportunity should be at least one sentence long. This will be the starting off point for developing potential solution ideas.

  1. Group Scheduling (Doodle is a nightmare) – It is difficult to coordinate a meeting together with different calendars and schedules.

  2. Haircuts are expensive – Pay $30 dollars a haircut.  If I want to look clean every week that is $120 a month.  Kind of ridiculous on a college student salary.

  3. Folding Laundry is a hassle, time-consuming, and not fun.

  4. iPhone always dies in the middle of the day leaving me with no communication or music for the gym.

  5. People trying to be fitness advisors when they have no prior experience.  You don’t read and become an expert…especially trying to push Herbalife down people’s throat.

  6. Still have to throw out the trash and that is another time-consuming chore.

  7. VeoBike (ride-sharing bikes) are at times hard to find(GPS wrong), run out of battery, or are broken.

  8. Weatherproof electronics.  Built a system and had to figure out how to waterproof all the electronics.

  9. A better messaging app with high user adoption.  Feel like every week have to check all these communication apps.  Schools should create an internal app with all the features. 

  10. Better dog toys that don’t break so easily, but that also squeak.

  11. Gym equipment reservation because at the prime time there are no machines.

  12. Bus tracking system without a phone to get around more efficiently.

  13. Electric Scooters and/or better transportation then public and rideshare (bike/uber).

  14. More trash cans for a cleaner campus.

  15. Aldi delivery instead of paying outrageous prices for Instacart.

  16. Place bars together for a safer campus.

  17. Better Invisalign dealing with them is a hassle.

  18. Condominium package delivery system to not have to have to find a package in a pile of them.

  19. Cheaper robots to clean your house.

  20. Cow manure management to stop global warming and water pollution.

  21. An easier way of picking up dog poop.  It is smelly and sometimes its water.

  22. Better air condition delivery system for apartments.  Each roommate can get the exact temp.

  23. Dog drying system that’s better than using a blow dryer.

  24. Cellular to a server for dummies.  Connecting to AWS is a mission.

  25. Tupperware that is cheaper, better, and strong.

  26. Better dog water bowl – Gets dirty from dog saliva

  27. Better dating app – swiping can be a tediously long process.

  28. White Claw on tap for a better environment.  Laws for bars to have taps.

  29. Anti hangover medication to not feel bad the next morning.

  30. Better sponge so it doesn’t smell after a few days of not using.

  31. More sustainable ways for restroom use.  It could be toilet paper and/or women’s hygiene products.

  32. Carrying a water bottle.  It is bulky and sometimes doesn’t keep it cold/hot long enough.

  33. Transportation on campus is limited to bike, uber, car, or bus.  There are no quicker, cheaper and fast options.

  34.  A better way to reach potential customers will take time out to do an interview.  You end up only reaching out to your direct circle.

  35. Jackets are really bulky and don’t regulate body heat.  They also only deal with one problem.

  36. An umbrella is bulky and not easy to carry around.  If it is windy you can bet that it will flip itself.

  37. When walking in the ice/snow there is a high probability of falling.

  38. Commercial companies have a large liability if they do not clean their sidewalks or parking lots.  People could fall and sue.

  39. Forget about which homework is due and when I should get started to efficiently finish it.

  40. A lot of people around me have been getting the flu.  How do we make them feel better faster?

  41. Preparing food and cooking food takes time and requires a lot of effort.

  42. How do we make transportation faster?  Heading from Champaign to Chicago takes 2.5 hours.  Time is money.

  43. Peeing in the toilet splashes all over the place and pushing the button is nasty.

  44. At the gym when doing chest or shoulder get sharp shoulder pain and don’t know why

  45. Water bottle plastic is really bad for the environment.  I would like a sustainable container.

  46. Bathroom mirrors get fogged when you get out of the shower.

  47. Windshield wipers do not work really great in the rain.

  48. Car tires have to be replaced often and sometimes they get flat

  49. Healthy food is more expensive than a hamburger

  50. Vacuums are loud and aren’t super effective.  You also have to empty them.

  51. Spending 30 min to 1 hour at the barbershop is excessive.

  52. Windows let a lot of outside air in and air out.

  53. Floors only have one purpose. Only stepping on them.

  54. Sneaker gets wet in the rain or snow.

  55. Showering dog is a time and messing process.  Taking it to the salon is expensive.

  56. Removing body hair is a long process and can result in cuts and ingrown hairs

  57. Current dating apps require a lot of swiping for not too many matches

  58. Pans lose their non-stick coating after 2 months.

  59. School throws a lot of information at you.

  60. There isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.

  61. Left-handed people have a hard time writing causing the hand to be covered in ink and/or pencil

  62. Utensils are not too effective.  You have to choose between different tools to eat.

  63. Going to the grocery store is a mission and takes a lot of time.  Plus everything is everywhere.

  64. Trying to hold a lot of bags of groceries.

  65.  After going to the bathroom #2 it stinks.  This could be embarrassing at other people’s houses.

  66. Laptop chargers are really bulky and expensive.

  67.  New iPhone you can’t plug in headphones and charge at the same time

  68. Putting sheets on bed is a lot of work and takes a lot of time.

  69. Drying cleaning is so expensive

  70. Imported beers are hard to open and you always lose or don’t have the opener

  71. Coffee is either too hot or too cold to drink

  72. Financial modeling is a very complicated and tedious process

  73. App development requires a lot of experience and technical skills.  Not everyone can do it.

  74. Soda loses gas after you open it.

  75. People are distracted by phones and causes running into your or other life-threatening accidents.

  76. When listening to music too loud neighbors can hear it

  77. Salting the sidewalk is bad for the environment.

  78. Shoes are not easy to clean and can start to smell

  79. Dog’s water bowl becomes really nasty after a few days. (slimy)

  80. Pen exploding in your bag causing a lot of chaos

  81. You have to watch the stove and requires a previous experience cooking.

  82. Bad breath occurs you have to either brush your teeth or chew gum.

  83. High humidity locations make you sweat a lot.  Making you feel dirty.

  84. Women getting a period and not having menstrual products.

  85.  Shoelaces coming untied can become a danger

  86. Bikes are not safe and people can get hit by cars

  87. Spilling sauce or anything on your shirt can stain it.

  88. Ambulance many times doesn’t have quick access on streets

  89. Snowplows break the streets requiring the city to replace/repair it

  90. No easy way to hang a flag on your wall

  91. Running out of hot water when you shower

  92. An elevator is really slow going up or down

  93. Alarm sometimes doesn’t wake people up in the morning

  94. Breaking laptop and losing all content if you aren’t saving to the “cloud.

  95. Laptop crashes and you lose what you have worked on.

  96. When you cook something and it’s too hot and you don’t want to wait.

  97. Glass cups break and plastic cups taste nasty

  98. Running out of clean clothes because you didn’t do laundry

  99. Not knowing your alcohol tolerance is a start for a lot of bigger problems like driving drunk and alcohol poisoning.

  100. Texting your ex when you are drunk could mean you say something you don’t want to or be embarrassed 

  101. Tires can go flat and you will need to get a tow truck if you don’t have a spare.

  102. Counting macros is a long process requires a lot of work and precision.

  103.  Coats are really big and bulky and it is hard to move around in them or do extreme activities. 

  104. Homes lose a lot of heat/cold from windows, cracks, floor, and roof

  105. Running shoes are not comfortable.

  106. Tshirts shrink in the dryer

  107. To much credit cards in a wallet make it hard to take out

  108. Coffee gets cold quickly

  109. Drinking a lot and the next day you get a bad Hangover

  110. Forgetting to say happy birthday to people

  111. Car takes forever to warm up to push out air conditioner or heat

  112. Underwear isn’t really comfortable

  113. Jeans are not comfortable

  114. Waxing your eyebrows hurt

  115. Looking for events nearby is difficult

  116. Facetiming with android users is not possible

  117. Blender is hard to clean

  118. Getting from one place to another is difficult other then cars and bikes and buses

  119. Bikes are hard to peddle

  120. Plastic bottles are bad for the environment

  121. Teaching babies requires a lot of paitence

  122. Walking dog in the cold sucks

  123. Constipation is painful

  124. Eating food is time-consuming

  125. Eating healthy food sucks

  126. Dealing with girlfriend/boyfriend sucks

  127. Keeping apartment clean

  128. Putting in gas in the cold sucks

  129. Couch is not comfortable

  130. Dog won’t quit barking

  131. Puppies pee in the house

  132. Puppie destroys house

  133. Training puppies is difficult

  134. Drink doesn’t stay cold long enough

  135. Ice waters down drink

  136. Restaurant service sucks sometimes as in to slow

  137. Roads get broken and potholes

  138. Mom doesn’t know how to use technology

  139. Wine can be expensive

  140. Watering plants sucks and is time-consuming

  141. Computer desktop gets crowded

  142. Registering for classes is time-consuming

  143. Find out what a roommate is going to be like before moving in together

  144. Having roommates clean is difficult

  145. Invisalign is annoying to have on and hard to clean

  146. Relocation to a new state is stressful

  147. Airplane middle seats are uncomfortable

  148. Electricity usage is unknown

  149. Burning yourself on hot soup

  150. All bottles don’t have an easy squeeze feature.

Sept 16th
The past few weeks I have dealt with the following big problems.

  1. I was burnt out from my summer and took a 2 week break from building my startups
  2. Earnest Earth: Electronics was not transmitting data to our server
  3. DisplayInfinity: Website designer failed to deliver on time thus had to fire him
  4. School:  Choosing classes that can help me grow and getting back into an educational schedule
  5. Juggling school, 2 startups, and picking up a side job has been difficult.

Solution Ideas and Prototype Sketches


  1. App to a book haircut appointment

  2. Device that tells you what each device’s energy usage

  3. Electronic bike adaptor

  4. Bowl with temperature gauge

  5. Reconfiguration of airplane seats. Removing middle

  6. Robot that walks dog

  7. Roommate matcher application

  8. Robot that teaches children

  9. Sustainable water bottle made from leaves

  10. Eyebrow numbing lotion

  11. Plate that tells you protein, carbs, fats content of food

  12. Couch cover to make any couch comfortable

  13. App that tells city where there are potholes

  14. Breathalyzer at bars

  15. Backup app to sync your laptop data to the cloud

  16. Soda can cover to lock in freshness

  17. App to buy wine and get it delivered monthly subscription

  18. Device to stop dogs from barking

  19. App to have someone walk your dog

  20. Device that makes it easy for you to 

  21. Bottle that is easy to squeeze for everyone

  22. Brush for dogs that is better and untangles

  23. Uber golf carts

  24. App to counsel people from breakups

  25. Machine to wash your dog

  26. Class registration using AI

  27. Paper made from hemp

  28. Turn manure into fertilizer

  29. New bike seat for safety

  30. Turn dairy into clothes

  31. Feed to automate animal feeding


All sketches and ideas can be found here:

Wisdom, Reflections, and Insights

The University of Illinois’s Creativity, Innovation, and Vision class has had a big impact on my learning.  From practicing, teaching, and learning how to be more creative to build new perspectives. Although there was a lot of work involved, it was important to grasp, practice, and thoroughly think through the objectives.  The reason I joined was to broaden my thinking. I was unsure what to expect, but I loved that the class involved collaborating with a diverse set of students; different grade levels, countries, experiences.

One of the first things I remember was thinking outside the box activity.  There were dots 3 by 3 and the instructions were to connect all the dots using no more than four straight lines and without retracing your steps.  You literally, had to think outside the box. I knew there was a lot more to come and I was not wrong. Every class had a purpose and something new to look at.  The first learning activity was the word juxtaposition, placing 2 random words next to each other to compare and practice creation. It was a simple concept, but with an intuitive way to look at different things.  Throughout the semester we practiced other concepts to push our creativity both individually and collaboratively. Methods including root causes analysis, design thinking, biomimicry, bioinspiration, problem tree, curiosity, research, brainstorming, the lotus blossom and empathy mapping (say-do-think-feel).

Biomimicry and bioinspiration concepts were followed by a field trip to the UIUC’s Ideas Garden.  I never thought about looking at nature for answers to difficult problems. It was a different approach and rolled right into our group assignment.  Our inspiration came from the ripples of water and leaves from trees. We decided to look at current energy capturing technologies like solar panels and wind turbines.  We determined a lot of problems with the industry. I decided to pitch it again for the class final project and it was a success. Since I already am running 2 other startups I thought starting another one was too much.  I have realized there are a lot of great ideas with a lot of potentials. Constraints include time and resources and maybe one day I will continue to pursue the idea we fleshed out the entire semester.

The real value obtained from the course was practicing creative methods and doing so with others.  The work supported the concepts and made sure we were on track with final project deliveries. The activities in class also helped drive concepts these included thinking of a way to sign a nuclear site, redesigning the toothbrush, redeveloping UIUC’s registration system, thinking of a new way to grocery shop, and designing a car.  All activities require you to listen and collaborate with your team to solve basic problems with creative solutions.

Another field trip included the UIUC Art Gallery and Siebel Center for Design.  These 2 places were to give us different perspectives. I never enjoyed going to art museums because I didn’t see a point.  It was useful to take the time to go and can prove very helpful in the future if stuck on a difficult problem. Currently, my problem-solving environment happens to be the gym.  I could go workout with a problem and have a plethora of solutions by the time I leave.

Reading books in this class has also helped push my thought process and insights. The first reading, Anthony Weston’s Creativity for Critical Thinkers was a really great introductory book to creativity.  A warm-up to what the class was going to teach and it did have some great learning points. The real thought provocation came with the 2nd and 3rd books: Kelley-Kelly’s Creativity Confidence and Peter Thiel’s From Zero to One.  Creative Confidence was great at explaining design thinking and Peter Thiel was great at thinking of startup ideas in a more elaborate way. I really loved Peter Thiel’s book and have recommended to a lot of people. It made me think of my startups in a new light and with a new perspective on life itself. 

I have known that teaching means you really understand the material. I learned some interesting and diverse topics from other students including Improv, Montreal, SCAMPER, Minecraft, Advertising, and PowerPoint Animation.  I was also able to teach new product development and building a sales team. These were random basic facts, but great and new information that might be useful when looking at another problem in the future. The additional teaching assignment was actually the hardest project I had to do for this class.  Reading research journals and developing a teaching plan was not as easy as I thought. I never had to teach from a research journal before. In the military, I trained people on equipment and dealing with communication security. I spent more time then I had allocated, but I was able to learn so much. I chose the topic of a previous advisor, Dr. Deana McDonagh; designing with empathy and designing for sustainability. Very different topics from what I have chosen to study in my educational journey.  Teaching it, I thought was even more challenging and fun. Students actually paid attention and asked really great questions. I hope that what I have taught students goes with them beyond the classroom and into their lives. The advanced topic I learned was Creatively teaching K-12 and even this was eye-opening and fun.

I am looking forward to seeing the progress everyone has made on their final projects and listening to everyone’s journey.  I love entrepreneurship and helping others learn and grow. This class has been a great way to grow as a person and get new insights on my past experiences, current goals, and future aspirations.  Maybe I take the final project and start another company or maybe I use the tools I have obtained to carve out a better future. Only time will tell, but I am looking forward to what problems I can solve in more creative ways.

[A] This is the next step after discovering problems/opportunities. Use appropriate creativity techniques to come up with 75 solution ideas, focusing on developing multiple solutions per problem (for instance 7-8 solutions for 10 problems). Record the process you took to reach a solution idea. Note that you do not need to come up with solutions for each one of your 150 problems/opportunities for improvement.
[B] After developing 75 solution ideas, choose 10 of these solutions to “implement”. For each of the 10, sketch the solution out in detail, prototype if feasible (or describe how you might prototype) and create an implementation plan. We are looking for uppercase-C creative (i.e., novel, new, original) solutions and in-depth implementation plans. Each implementation plan should be approximately 1-page in length.

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