Design Thinking Crafts a Strategy

Applica's team had a hunch that there were gaps in the filtration products available to consumers, so BOLTGROUP was hired to generate new ideas and lead the charge.
What We Did

Industrial Design

Ethnographic Research

Production Part Documentation + BOMs

Mechanical Engineering

Market Research

Consumer Validation Testing

Manufacturing Support

New Product Idea Generation

3D CAD Modeling



Applica Consumer Products makes the Black & Decker brand of kitchen appliances. Applica had considered many new product categories and homed in on one—filtered water. The consumption of filtered water was way up and forecasted to go higher. Applica’s team had a hunch that there were gaps in the filtration products available to consumers. They wanted to generate new ideas and hired BOLTGROUP to lead the charge.


We carefully analyzed the category—benchmarking the current products available. We interviewed consumers and consulted the nation’s leading home water expert on trends, lifestyles, and consumer emotions related to water. We conducted in-home ethnographic research to observe, videotape, and analyze the ways people filter, store, dispense, and enjoy water in their homes. Keith and Paul’s hunch was right. Our research uncovered significant gaps in the category, and that meant unmet needs for the consumer. Using this Gap Analysis, our design team created a wide variety of creative product concepts to fill each gap in the marketplace.

Applica Clear2o Engineering
Applica Clear2o Sketch


After testing concepts with consumers, the Clear2o pitcher was selected for development. This ingenious product fills the gap between the “speed and convenience” of faucet mount filters and the “portability” of pitchers. The product innovation is derived from two key consumer complaints. First, pitchers take too long to fill—10 minutes for some models. Second, they don’t hold enough water because the reservoir at the top holds only air. Clear2o solves both problems. It fills in just 35 seconds and has no reservoir so it holds 50% more water in the same size pitcher. What’s more, it filters out more contaminates than other models by forcing water through the carbon block filter. And BOLTGROUP’s engineering of the industry’s first flow-based filter meter gives consumers a clear filter change needed signal.


The Clear2o captured immediate space on the competitive shelves of retailers like Target. Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping called it a Best Buy. Consumers called it cool. We call it product innovation.


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