You’d think that in a concept as simple as the chopstick, there’d be no room to innovate, right? Well, that’s probably why you and I are not leading the product design teams at top companies. It turns out there’s quite the innovative potential in food-stick design, and chopstick brand Hashikura Matsukan is bringing two new designs to market later this year.

Hashikura Matsukan works with design firm Nendo, who was presented with a problem: chopsticks don’t stay in pairs. If you don’t keep a close eye on your sticks, they can end up all over the place, whether you’re simple eating dinner, cleaning dishes or tending hyper toddlers that love a good stick.

Rassen Chopsticks - helix

The solution can be achieved in multiple ways, but two designs stuck out that should vibe with consumers. The “Rassen”, or “Helix” in English, interlock when not in use. They are considered one unit – one stick – that happens to have two pieces to it, unlike a regular pair chopsticks that are considered two separate sticks, two separate units.

Rassen Chopsticks - helix

The other design out Nendo is magnetized, resulting in a chopstick that is at the same time simpler on the outside yet more complex on the inside.

Kamiai chopsticks - magnetic

The Kamiai chopsticks are magnetized on the tips, with a groove at the top. Slide the sticks into the grooves when you’re done eating to keep them together.

Kamiai Chopsticks - magnetized

The next time you’re all out of ideas for whatever you’re working on, find inspiration in a product that seemed about as good as it was ever going to get… until it got better. Innovation hides everywhere. Know more.