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Spill Resistant Disposable Cup (Patent-Pending)

This disposable and recyclable one piece paper coffee cup has an integrated origami folding lid that prevents catastrophic spills.

Photo of Tom Chan
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Our patent-pending invention is a disposable one piece paper coffee cup, which has an integrated origami folding lid that prevents spills that might burn you, ruin your clothing, and/or destroy your laptop among other things. Our cup is spill resistant because of its interlocking folding lid. Traditional cups and lids create catastrophic spills when the lid pops off the rim of the cup. Our design reduces the chance that the lid will open when it is not intended to do so.

Our cup is easily manufactured. Paper can easily be cut with a laser cutter and modern technology is more than capable of automating the folding and assembling of the cup.

After testing it extensively, we know the cup works well.

Our desire is to enter the disposable cup market and add value without asking users to change their habits dramatically. We are looking to improve the user experience for both sides of a coffee shop: the one that serves the coffee and the one that drinks the coffee, ensuring easy and intuitive user interactions by conducting customer interviews to develop empathy with the nuances of the consumer coffee drinking experience. We also looked to avoid changes that would make their experience less enjoyable while simultaneously testing features we thought would enhance their experience. 

In May 2017, we consulted Eric Chan, CEO of Ecco Design Inc., for design advice and realised that our initial prototype was not user-friendly, costly to make, and difficult to manufacture. As such, we spent our time from May to August redesigning the cup from the ground up. What we came up with in the end was a much improved design that was more user-friendly and potentially less costly than the traditional cup-and-lid.

With this new design, we organized a prototype user-testing pop up at the lobby of NAB Building of Cooper Union in partnership with NYC OpenIdeo Chapter in August 29th, 2017. We also interviewed managers from major coffee shops around the East Village area, such as Think Coffee, Starbucks coffee, Au Bon Pain, and Peet’s Coffee. 

Here is the Youtube link to summarize the cup’s refinement video and interview insights. Please watch it. 


The feedback session interviews offered us valuable user insight into our new design, revealing features and flaws that we had overlooked before. These included new ideas that our interviewees suggested and feedback on certain design aspects of our cup. A summary of our findings is listed below:

- Approximately half of test users expressed that they cared most about eco-friendliness, while most others cared most about spill resistance, with only a few caring about the cost.

- Some users expressed that lessening the environmental footprint may be a less enticing feature for the general coffee drinking population than spill resistance, which may be more enticing to a larger audience.

- Users noted that our cup allowed for easy pouring (For sharing a drink or so). We also found that it can filter out ice to prevent splashing when pouring.

- Users recommended adding colors or numbers to the folding flaps of the cup in order to help coffee drinkers understand how to fold it.

- Some users tended to press down too much on the flaps during the folding process, causing an incomplete lock. This is because of the inconsistency of our prototypes.

- Users also don’t mind drinking cold drinks out of our cup.

- Multiple users expressed that the original drinking spout is too wide

- The semicircle shape at the spout changes the direction of the flow of coffee into a person’s mouth. Most users who brought it up said it was neither better nor worse, just different. However, some said that it got in the way of their drinking.

We also found some feedback from comments on our OpenIDEO entry that opened our eyes to even more possibilities::

- Mohammed suggested adding ridges on the outer surface of our paper cup to give users a better grip. We believe this may also insulate the hot cup from the user’s hand. He also suggested implementing an inexpensive paper or cork weight to the bottom of the cup, or changing the height/width ratio to lower the center of gravity to reduce the likelihood the cup can be knocked over. While this may increase the price of our cups, we would have to do more user feedback to validate its incorporation

- Bettina asked us to consider the use of the cup for cold drinks too and the incorporation of the ability to use a straw. We were originally so focused on hot drinks like coffee and tea, which traditionally use paper cups, that we didn’t consider cold drinks enough. She emphasized that our solution can still be valuable because our idea gets rid of the plastic lid altogether and has is paper based, so it still leaves a better footprint compared to existing cold drink solutions. 

As mentioned earlier, barista feedback revealed that most customers are not mindful of where they throw out their used stuff, and this will be a difficult thing to change. Instead of demanding that the customers change their habits and begin to observe which objects go in which bin, the cup collecting rack idea discussed in earlier questions discourages consumers from putting other trash there because unlike usual trash bins, racks will not physically hold other kinds of waste. While customers would not normally sort their waste, they are even more unlikely to leave litter directly on the floor. However, one complication is that we found that many coffee drinkers would not want to return to the store to properly dispose of their used cup. We found that implementing a reward system like a stamp card for a discount after returning cups would be incentive enough for many coffee drinkers. This is definitely a concept that we will continue to work on in the future in order to provide even more incentive for consumers to adopt our cup.

This is our YouTube playlist of unedited user interviews: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsIKF7ZcbEAkydkkao2YqG2TUeEZs7I9u

Idea Title

Encupsulate!

Company / Organization Name

Spill Res Cup LLC

Website

http://tomchan333.com/Design/Spill-Resistant-Disposable-Cup

Where are you / your team located?

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art New York City

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

Americans go through about 1.5 billion plastic lids each year. Our one piece coffee cup design would reduce the waste generated from people disposing of plastic lids by eliminating the plastic lid entirely. Also, its spill resistant and unique origami design would attract customers to switch from the typical cup with lids. It can also be made using recyclable paper and an easily removable plastic coating, making the cup entirely recyclable.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Our idea applies to case 3, staws and take away coffee lids.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

We will be implementing our idea in local coffee shops around the New York City area where we are based. As the product is refined, we will scale nationally and globally.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Upon arriving at a MVP, we will manufacture approx. 9K cups to match the weekly demand for a single cafe. After a trial run in 1 store, we will expand into all of the small cafe chain’s locations. After working with a single chain, our cup will have greater market recognition that would allow us to expand into other cafes and eventually into a major cafe chain. We plan to overcome capital investment obstacles and develop manufacturing relationships by working with a cafe to introduce the cup.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

Being selected would enable us connect with design and manufacturing experts that could help us finalize the design of our cup as well as get it to full scale production. We also hope to build relationships in the food packaging industry and gain insight into making our product even more eco-friendly and competitive in the market. Our work with the accelerator program will have been a success if we are able to produce a manufacturable product and gain channels for manufacturing and distribution.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea emerged during Invention Factory 2015, a rigorous six week summer program at The Cooper Union in which students invent a tangible product that meets a significant need.(www.inventionfactory.org)

Tell us about your work experience

I am an artist who has just graduated from Cooper Union with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. I have worked as a teaching assistant/coach in innovation-related programs.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Currently, it is a single-member LLC . I have signed a partnership agreement with two of my classmates; Austin Wong and Daniel McNulty II.

47 comments

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Comment
Photo of CHRISSY RUDMAN
Team

Im interesting in sampling your products... is that possible?

Photo of Muhammed
Team

I believe the shapes we see in this project for the cups are not easy to make with machines. Therefore the order for making them in bulk should go to the countries where manufacturing costs are very low and lot of manual laborers are available. Like Bangladesh , Combodia

Photo of Ruirui Lu
Team

That’s really a great idea which is expected to reduce the use of plastic lids. As a student, I like having a cup of coffee every day. After I realized that too many wastes of one piece paper coffee cup, I bring a glass keep coffee cup every day, which would be more helpful than reducing the use of one piece coffee cup. And I also noticed that more and increasing customers are using keep cups, especially around the campus.
However, there are still lots of customers would not like to bring keep cups due to its inconvenience. Therefore, this design is much helpful. There is no doubt that each some voice will make big change. Hope this design will be implemented soon. Improving the awareness of environmental development is important.
Thanks for your design and efforts.

Photo of Carolina Mndz
Team

This is a great idea. I believe education institution might be a great market to target this idea. Each day more school are adopting sustainable practices.
Good luck!

Photo of Vikram Vysyaraju
Team

Hi, I was wondering how well you think the idea will catch on in NYC and how this product will compete price-wise compared to other disposable cups on the market.

Photo of Carmen
Team

Hi all,
I just came up with another question:
I would be interested to know if there has been a user survey on whether people prefer to drink from something that has not been touched by the barista. This question came up because I personally would not like to have a barista, who in the worst case does not wash his/her hand after going to the toilet, touching the peace I am drinking from with my lips. Currently, when handing over the coffee cup the consumers puts themselves the coffee lid on the cup.
I am excited to hear what other people think about that or if they also see that this is an issue.

Photo of Austin Wong
Team

We haven't done or found any user surveys about cups that have not been touched by baristas - it's something we can consider for the future though. We too, hope that baristas would clean their hands, as they should by standard policy. We are designing our cups to be handed to the customer open as well, so that customers can add condiments at their preference.

Photo of Liv
Team

Hi Tom,

Congrats on getting far on your idea! I'm based in Australia and we have issues with not only the plastic lids but also the paper cups that have a plastic lining inside. You mentioned a removal coating as part of the cup. Would it be expected that the user would need to remove this before sorting the refuse into recyclable or waste? Or could it be thrown into the recycling and sorted in the recycling plant? How easy is it also to remove?
As mentioned there could be cold drink use cases for the cup but also non-chunky (!) soups, ie miso.
I'm curious what the temperature of the cup is like in a persons hand? You mentioned a suggestion of adding ridges to further insulate a users hand, I wondered if tests had been done regarding say a milk coffee versus a tea (here for example for tea you'll see two cups stacked inside one another due to the heat of the liquid)?
What sort of cost per unit do these cups come to compared to those that already exist in the market?

Thanks and good luck!

Liv

Photo of Austin Wong
Team

Hi Liv,

Sorry about the late reply.
We've found a company that has invented an e-coating which can be separated withing the recycling facility, and we are hoping to work with them. Traditional paper cups cannot be recycled because the lining floats to the top with the fibers when paper-recycling and cannot be separated. But with this new e-coating, the lining will sink to the bottom, separated from the paper.

We haven't done any formal testing for temperature yet, and the ridges are just and idea for now, which we may hope to implement when we get our product off the ground.

If our cup does not have any special lining, we think we can actually produce our cups for cheaper than the cup+lid combo because our added paper for the top flaps will be cheaper than a separate plastic lid. However, we are still exploring manufacturing and cannot yet give a definite answer as to how we compare to recyclable cups (if those even exist in the market) or compostable cups.

Thanks for the comment!

Photo of Siyu Ding
Team

What a great program!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Congrats Tom Chan and team! This is great news! I hope that the pop up with NYC OpenIDEO Chapter and in particular Bettina Fliegel was useful. From what she told me you got a lot of useful insights from visitors, esp. Cooper Union students! Looking forward to following your idea!

Photo of Bill
Team

Is this cup fire proof? Many smokers tend to leave their cigarettes in the cups we currently use at my shop. I am wondering if this paper cup would be able to resist fires as well as plastic cups dotoday?

Photo of Carmen
Team

Hi,
I am curious where your shop is located since it is allowed to smoke inside?
Also, I believe the coffee cup from Tom Chan is for take-away coffee, so everybody is responsible for his/her own usage in the end.

Photo of Carmen
Team

Hi,
I really like the idea you are having. The plastic lid of the disposable coffee cup is the worst part wast-wise and I am happy you targeted that problem. Every time I am purchasing a coffee to go I have a bad feeling about it, but leaving the lid away does not work for me since I am spilling coffee either all over my stuff or over myself every single time I leave it away.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Congratulations Tom and team! Exciting news! I look forward to watching the idea develop!

Photo of William Morris
Team

Hi there.

Really interesting idea. You talk a lot about the user testing which revealed some great insights. I am wondering if you tested the idea on another key stakeholder - the coffee makers themselves. For many baristas coffee making is key. How do you anticipate the process of serving the coffee to be altered by this design and have you tested the impact to speed and efficiency of serving?

Love the idea and really excited to see the developments.

Will

Photo of Vanessa Sore
Team

Hi,
Great idea. I'm interested to learn a little more about your sales and marketing plan and how you intend on establishing partnerships or extending your reach across different cafes?
Moreover, had you considered how this concept may work for other types of packaging other than coffee cups, ie. food containers?

Cheers,
Vanessa S

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Tom Chan 

As Refinement Phase quickly comes to a close in 8 hours, I want to remind you that the following must be submitted by tonight, August 31st at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

1. Submit the Refinement Questions Form online that was sent again via email yesterday evening--we have not yet received this from you. These questions are mandatory for Top Ideas consideration, so this should be your first priority in the final stretch.

2. A secondary priority, which is optional, is to update your Refinement Phase post. I see you've already significantly updated your concept on the platform.. But please share any additional information, photos, and documentation of your progress throughout this Phase!

Looking forward to reviewing and celebrating the amazing work you've achieved this Refinement Phase!

Photo of Mohammed Uddin
Team

Hi, this cup looks like a great idea. From the little time I've spent with it, I think it would be a great idea to use a textured pattern on your cup to increase the grip (This can be done by heating paper and using a rubber stamp). Another suggestion is to remove the side gaps from the cup to improve its resistance to spills. This can probably be done by folding down the sides or even using heat /food safe silicone. You could also add in a suction cup or use a heavier material in the bottom so that your product is more resistant to accidental pushes.

Photo of Austin Wong
Team

Hi Mohammed,

We also had a suggestion to make the cup more insulated as well so that it wouldn't be too hot to hold - and by adding a textured pattern, we may be able to increase grip and make it easier to hold even with very hot coffee inside.

The side gaps are something that we're trying to work with and there are pros and cons. You're right that liquid will spill out the of the side gaps, but they're a byproduct of the way we are currently folding the cups. If we fold down the sides or seal it with silicone, then it might not allow for the cups to be stacked easily for dispensing..

I think that since we're going for a disposable paper cup market, it would not be effective to add a suction cup or heavier material, because that would drive up the cost and make it very difficult to compete with the typical paper cup + plastic lid combo which only costs 6 cents per cup.

Photo of Mohammed Uddin
Team

The entire cup would not have to be heavier. Only the bottom. If you were to use a material like cork or even just increase the diameter of your bottom so the center of gravity is closer to the bottom you could make it less likely to accidentally tip over from a bump. If you decrease the height and increase the diameter you can make it sturdier while keeping the same volume / keeping prices down.

Photo of Austin Wong
Team

That's something we can look into. Do you have any advice about the manufacturing methods and costs on how to add the weight during the assembly line? Are you able to refer us to someone who can give a recommendation on the pricing?

Sometime in the future, we will do interviews for user empathy on the topic of changing the dimensions of the cup to be shorter, but wider. Off the top of my head, we would also have to keep it companionable with existing objects that use the shape of a cup, like a car cup holder, or paper sleeves, as well as the user's interaction (is the shape of a soup cup too much, and by how much?)

Photo of Mohammed Uddin
Team

I would be happy to refer you over pm.

Photo of Austin Wong
Team

Great, thanks. We'd greatly appreciate it.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Tom. Thanks for letting me know your idea is in refinement here! Congrats to all of you!

In addition to the environmental impact the cup can bring, as a user I really like that it is protective against spills! Are you planning to market this cup for hot and cold drinks? I sometimes take the larger paper coffee cups from delis to use for ice coffee, as I like to drink it from the round plastic lid hole/spout, rather than from a straw in a plastic cup. I think your idea might be really helpful for both hot and cold drinks. When a plastic cup with a straw tips it also causes a mess.

From the images you posted one question I had was about storage capacity. Although the cups stack it looks like they would occupy more shelf space than other paper or plastic cups, due to the top part. Can the top be folded into the cup before being used?

Have you considered reaching out to the NYC OpenIDEO Chapter for feedback/user testing or to connect with community members who may be working in related industries?
I am tagging the chapter facilitators here, Anne-Laure and Karine, in case you have any questions about the group. They are great!

https://beta.openideo.com/chapters/29
https://mobile.twitter.com/nycopenideo
Anne-Laure Fayard and Karine Sarkissian 

I am looking forward to watching your idea develop and create impact!

Photo of Austin Wong
Team

Hi Bettina Fliegel , thanks for dropping by!

Currently, we're marketing this for hot drinks like coffee because coffee drinkers and coffee shops/ cafes were the customer segment we started off with. We've envisioned our end user to be people who drink from cups without a straw. It’s something that we will definitely look more into for the future.

Indeed, the flaps on the top will take up extra space. We anticipate that as compared to having a separate stack of plastic lids, our spill resistant cups will occupy less shelf space in total. However the volume of our cups is modeled after a standard 16oz. paper cup, and in this case, if you were to compare a stack of 50 of our cups to a stack of 50 standard cups, our stack would only be about 5 inches taller because only the topmost cup takes more space.

We haven't considered folding in the top; however, after a bit of thinking, we imagine that would make it a tighter fit between the cups and harder for a barista to pick up off a stack. Additionally, we would need to put in an extra step to do that fold in the assembly line.

Thank you for your support and for referring us to Karine Sarkissian and Anne-Laure Fayard - we will reach out if we have questions.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Austin and team.
Great idea to create a coffee drinker user survey! I saw it posted in Daniel's comment. Maybe add a third category for plastic cups, for users who drink primarily iced coffee? (I drink iced coffee in cafes primarily, and they give plastic cups for this, usually. There may be others who usually choose iced coffee.)

Thinking about shelf storage it is good to know, and might be important to share with store owners, that storage with these cups will be less overall than current cups plus lids. It will be interesting to learn how baristas, store, stack and grab cups currently.

Looking forward to hearing about your testing!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Hi,

I've just checked the idea more in details and I'm really looking forward to hearing the kind of feedback you will get from your session with NYC OpenIDEO Chapter today. Thanks Bettina Fliegel for suggesting this.
I liked the video which focuses on the spill resistant component rather than the sustainable aspect. You might want to stress that a bit more although I think the spill resistant might attract more users than only users concern with sustainability. It might be a question to ask today to people testing your design.
It'd be great for this current challenge if you could add some numbers in terms of how this design is reducing plastic consumption, or at least highlight it a bit more.
Looking at the video, I was wondering how easy it was to fold the cup, esp. when there's hot beverage in it. You might want to have people today try out to fold the top (with an empty and with a full cup). And maybe open it and refold it. Ask them to comment aloud and also try to take pictures / videos.
The other stakeholder in this process is the coffee shop. Have you talked with some owners of coffee shops and / or with baristas?
Good luck with the next steps!
al

Photo of Daniel McNulty
Team

Hi Anne-Laure Fayard 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read over our submission page and to help us set up the feedback session with the NYC OpenIDEO Chapter!

The appeal of the spill resistance of the cup is definitely something we are hoping to test. One speaker in the OpenIDEO Webinar 2 mentioned that just reducing waste is not enough to convince customers to start using the product, but that it also needs to have other benefits to be attractive.

We have considered the numbers for plastic and paper consumption by our cup, as well as the effect each has on the cost of our cup, and we will be sure to include them in our final update at the end of the refinement stage.

We have also had the same concerns regarding the folding of the original cup. In the beginning when that video was taken, the folding of the cup was somewhat unintuitive and required the use of two hands to conduct multiple folds. As such, we have completely updated the design to the point that it only requires one hand and three folds. Furthermore, the drinking hole of the cup no longer resides on a sharp corner of the cup, but is more rounded.

We have talked to the owners of and with baristas from several local coffee shops about the cup and they have all given positive feedback on it. We will also be uploading our videos of users interacting with our cups at today’s feedback session and the pictures we have of a manager from Think Coffee going through the process of filling and folding the cup.

Thank you again for all your support!
Daniel

Photo of Daniel McNulty
Team

Hi Bettina Fliegel 

Thank you so much for suggesting we look into cold drinks and plastic cups! This is definitely a market we can and should explore as we continue to develop our cup.

We are planning to conduct a second test of our cups with baristas tomorrow in order to gauge how well the cups hold up to the process of storing, stacking and grabbing that the typical coffee cup experiences daily. Our first test with baristas focused on the filling and folding of our cups, ensuring they met the standards required by coffee shops.

Thanks again!
Daniel

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi. Nice to see/meet everyone at the NYC Chapter Pop Up yesterday!
It was interesting to learn that you are considering how the paper cups might be repurposed, in addition to iterating the cup design.
Looking forward to reading what you learned from the interviews and feedback sessions and what your next steps will be.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Daniel,
In trying the cup prototype yesterday I used two hands. With two large tabs/flaps standing up on either side of the cup I think it felt natural to approach the task using both hands. You mention in your comment to Anne-Laure that the design was iterated so that one can use one hand. "As such, we have completely updated the design to the point that it only requires one hand and three folds."
Is there a reason you want the user to be able to manipulate the top of the cup with one hand?

Photo of Austin Wong
Team

Hi Bettina Fliegel 
At first, we got the feedback from some Baristas that after they fill a typical cup with coffee, they will use one hand to hold the cup, and then the may want to place the lid on the cup using the other hand. But later, we found out that most Baristas will put the lid on while the coffee cup is sitting on a table, so they are not restricted to one-handed folding. We think that being able to fold it with one hand means that it should be even easier to fold with two hands.

Photo of Kevin Cheng
Team

Can this hold lunchroom milk?

Photo of Daniel McNulty
Team

Kevin Cheng Yes, our cup can hold lunchroom milk.

Photo of Heather
Team

this sounds like a great invention!

Photo of R T
Team

Can this be used as an athletic cup as well?

Photo of Austin Wong
Team

R T Our cup isn't specifically designed for that, because typically athletes may run with their drink, or toss it off to the side during a quick break. We can reduce spills, but not eliminate them completely like how a screw cap bottle would.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Tom!

There are 7 days left in the refinement phase.

If there is key information in the comments on your idea submission, I recommend that you move them to the main body of your idea submission before the cut-off time.

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo of Nick Wong
Team

I'm curious about the patent.

Does it cover the coffee cup specifically or a folding mechanism and manufacturing process more generally?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Tom, Austin and Daniel!

Welcome to refinement phase!

What sort of materials are you using the cups? What sort of waterproof lining is being used?

There is are two ideas that might interest you, if you plan to do some further prototyping, for example for further feedback from users or observing the cup assembly process with amended prototype designs;

InLid - another idea in refinement - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/circular-design/refinement/icecap - has a really good example of recording feedback on a product from users

Also, for Stepwise in our fall prevention challenge -https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/fall-prevention/top-ideas/walk-wise - the ideator filmed people using a very early stage version of her idea to understand how they would interact with an obstacle playground for older adults and what their experience is. I wonder if something a

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me by tagging me here (@ followed by my name) or send me an email - krushton@ideo.com

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo of Daniel McNulty
Team

Hi Kate Rushton Kate Rushton ,

Thank you so much for the warm welcome and advice!

We are currently testing our concept and making prototypes by using standard coffee cups and attaching our lid-replacing design to the top. Recently, after more than 50 iterations, we have changed the design to make it more manufacturable, easier for users to fold, and more akin to the typical coffee cup drinking experience, all while retaining its resistance to spills. The tops are prototyped using waterproof Yupo synthetic paper and are attached with food-safe adhesive. For future production, we are looking into using paper made from plant fibers like bagasse, a fibrous material that is leftover when sorghum or sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice, and using better waterproof linings like EarthCoating, a resin alternative to 100% plastic coatings that was made for recyclability while providing a better waterproof barrier and heat seal. I’ve provided links down below for more information on both materials:

Bagasse: http://worldcentric.org/biocompostables/plant-fiber

EarthCoating: http://smartplanettech.com/technology/

Collecting more user feedback was one of our main goals going into the refinement stage, so thank you for referring us to the InLid and Stepwise ideas. We have set up our questions, and plan to go into cafes and coffee shops to interview users and shop owners over the next few days. We agree that having examples of how to conduct successful interviews like the ones you provided will prove invaluable in our preparation. In addition, are sending out a survey to coffee drinkers in order to gauge the demand for a product like ours and the potential to develop further infrastructure to collect and properly recycle our cup. I’ve provided a link below to the survey we plan to send out:

Survey: https://goo.gl/forms/uNOlclWoJBeMAnj42

Any advice or feedback you may have on our current plans would be greatly appreciated. Also, we believe you may have gotten cut off at the very end of the paragraph where you mentioned Stepwise, since you said you “Wonder if something a”. Thank you again for all your help and advice and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

All the best,
Daniel

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Apologies, the sentence was meant to highlight how Stepwise was a good example of observing people with the prototype and learning from those observations.

Lauren Ito - do you have any feedback?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Tom!

Great video! It clearly demonstrates how to use the cups and how it works with hot coffee inside.

Are you able to share any feedback you have received from barristers, coffee shop owners, customers etc.?

Do you have any existing barriers to developing your idea that you’d like to share to help the OpenIDEO community understand where they might join the conversation and provide feedback?

Would you be able to tell me more about the manufacturing process in terms of the various actors and the end-to-end process?

Can you explain a bit more about how this idea can be implemented at scale? What would need to happen for this design to be brought to market at the [local or global] scale? What would it take for this idea to integrate at the scale of implementation you are aiming for?

Photo of Tom Chan
Team

Are you able to share any feedback you have received from barristers, coffee shop owners, customers etc.?

The owner of a local coffee shop had expressed concerns over the speed in which baristas can pick the cup up off a stack, fill it up, and fold the top. The average time she suggested it should take is about 3 seconds, or the same amount of time it takes to pick up and put a plastic lid onto a typical coffee cup. From trials we have done ourselves, it has taken us close to 3 seconds, but there could be a learning curve for baristas to understand the folding of the top. It’s important that our cups are just as convenient to use. We have gone through many iterations in order to get our design to be easily folded and used without intruding too much on the existing norms.
Additionally, there is the potential that the flaps of the folding lid could obstruct the view of the baristas filling the cup. This would make it difficult for them to tell when the cup is full, and hence when they should stop filling it. The main methods we have thought of to solve this problem have been to create more spaces between the flaps so that baristas can see into the cup through them as they fill and making the inside of the flaps reflective so that baristas can see how filled the cup is by looking at the interior of the flaps.

Do you have any existing barriers to developing your idea that you’d like to share to help the OpenIDEO community understand where they might join the conversation and provide feedback?

We’re currently waiting to hear back from manufacturers we’ve reached out to, in order to try to learn more about if our unique folding design can be mass produced, because the design is not as simple as the traditional paper cup. Additionally, we need to continue looking into how we can make our first batch to test in a real coffee shop setting (Probably starting with our local coffee shop).

Would you be able to tell me more about the manufacturing process in terms of the various actors and the end-to-end process?

We haven’t been able to explore that field as much as we have liked to due to our limited network of connections.

Can you explain a bit more about how this idea can be implemented at scale? What would need to happen for this design to be brought to market at the [local or global] scale? What would it take for this idea to integrate at the scale of implementation you are aiming for?

We are currently handcrafting our prototypes to validate consumer demand and the user experience for baristas and coffee drinkers. Once we arrive at a minimum viable product after 2 to 3 months, we will manufacture approximately 9,000 cups a week to match the demand for a single coffee shop chain location. After gaining traction from a trial run of 2 to 3 months in one store, we plan to expand into all of the coffee shop chain’s 30-50 locations, which would require the production of approximately 300,000 cups a week. Assuming a 5% royalty rate on a wholesale price of $0.18 per cup, we would have a gross income of $30,000 in the first year.
After 1 to 2 years of working with a single chain, we expect our cup will have greater market recognition. This would then allow us to expand into other coffee shops and eventually into a major chain like Starbucks. Starbucks has 13,000 locations in the United States, so it would require approximately 120,000,000 cups per week for all its locations. Assuming the same royalty and wholesale cost, we would have a gross income of $57,000,000 in the second year.

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Tom!

Excited to see you joining this challenge. We noticed your post is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have it be included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top.

We're looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge.

Photo of Daniel McNulty
Team

Hi Lauren!

Thanks for the warm welcome. We are glad we were able to share our idea with the OpenIDEO community and we look forward to the community feedback.