Mystery design challenge — Revealed

We’ve thought long and hard about this, kept up with countless blogs and forums, discussed with design and industry experts, and of course, we’ve spoken extensively to the target customer. We wanted to give you something flashy and hip, but in the end we settled on a simple problem (with an elusive solution) with huge market potential (doesn’t mean you can’t make it flashy and hip!).


Moms with kids ages 12 months to 24 months (toddlers) are frustrated because they can’t find products that help their kids drink on their own without fuss, mess, spilling and spoiling. They want safe product materials and a design which leads to healthy physical development. 

Your task: Design a safe, easy to handle, spill-proof vessel that is appropriate for healthy child development and effective drinking of fluids.

Target customer: Moms of toddlers will buy your product by the millions if you please them

End user: Remember that your end user is the toddler. Will your product be good for him / her?


  • A full-scale, dimensional “mock-up” , the model for the 3D prototype
  • A written value statement that will appeal to moms
  • A reward strategy for placement on
  • A written “high-buzz” product marketing description
  • New design to solve problem for moms of toddlers in a brand-new way
  • Make moms raving fans, go for the WOW factor!
The winning team will work with WAGIC to professionally prototype their design.

Why this?

We can only imagine you’d be curious to know why we would settle on this idea…

  • As a current non-user, your perspective is fresh: the best results for innovation come from individuals outside of the initial user and who can more easily think outside of the box as a result; creativity goes up 30%when inventor is naive
  • Huge market size: approximately 5 million (12 – 24 month-old toddlers in US); moms buy 5-6 or more per year of this product
  • Active target customer: moms research extensively for the perfect products for their kids, and constantly share ideas and opinions with other moms
  • Example of need: one mom invented a strap just to hold sippy cups and made $1.5 million in sales
  • Potential for impact: existing products fall short of customer requirements; big concern for slowed speech development when using improperly-designed drinking vessels / devices

Are you ready?

The full design challenge description, along with the functional and non-functional design requirements, will be emailed to all registrants today. 

We know you are all extremely busy, so don’t worry if you come to Innovate This! without having had much time to think about this beforehand. We will have guidance, experts and all necessary materials on-hand this Saturday. That being said, however, our model has always rewarded the entrepreneurially-minded. We have spoken to some teams out there who are ready to come with their own preliminary market research (looking at current products and shortcomings, getting to know the target customer’s needs, etc.), and we think this is fair game. Remember, there is a pretty cool prize at stake!

We will leave the rest up to you. There is still time to register or add members to your team. Good luck!


Elaine Wu
Elaine Wu, Director of Programs, was raised in a family of entrepreneurs and has a background in international education, with a specific expertise on China. She received her BA from Stanford University in International Relations, and completed her Masters in Comparative Education at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Elaine’s experience ranges from teaching at The American School in London to creating her own class at Zhejiang University. Other global experience includes a tutorial on the British educational system at Oxford University, a semester overseas at Peking University, and travel to more than 20 countries. Elaine has worked to inspire young entrepreneurs at BizSmart Global since 2008.

One Comment on "Mystery design challenge — Revealed"

  1. Dr. Mike says:

    Can’t wait to see what cool designs result from the event tomorrow. I expect to see something no one else has ever considered!!! It could change the way toddlers get nourishment and result in a lot of happy Moms

    Reply →

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