Reflective Essay.

Reflective Essay

Student ID – K1455513

Word Count – 1998

So I was really excited to start the designing a business module because I knew it would be different to all my other modules. I was looking forward to a more practical and creative module.

According to an IBM survey of chief executives around the world, creativity is the most sought after quality in a leader today. (Harvard business review, 2012.)

Creativity was key to this module and it is important to understand what is creative thinking! “It is a way of getting rid of rigid preconceptions and to open ourselves to complex phenomena. (Landry C, 2000).

My first task on the module was to create an ad-campaign for breast Cancer called “Know your Lemons.” This was our first opportunity to work together in a group and create an ad-campaign. I managed to team up with two great guys in Amro and Renzo, immediately we bonded really well, joking, laughing and talking about our backgrounds. We were told to brainstorm so we sat down as a group and begun to think of lots of different ideas.

Brainstorming is very important as it encourages collaborative thinking in groups and makes sure all team members are involved. It widens teams perspectives allowing for new and unexpected ideas. (Roundpeg, 2015).

Lots of ideas were being thrown into the mix and following Corinne’s instructions we each wrote down 10 ideas even though some of them were quite amusing!

After discussing a few of our ideas between us we finally all agreed on our Dr.Lemons theme. I was the chosen doctor of lemons and the idea of the video was that I would highlight the causes and symptoms of breast cancer to the viewer. The theme for the video was to be serious but with a little light humor, which I thought, we got spot on.

This task was really enjoyable, rewarding and refreshing, as it was great to move away from the norm of studying books and lectures to actually having some exciting practical work. It was my first time ever that I was involved in an actual video and for me this task was really exciting.

From this task I learnt several things, firstly brainstorming is really really important you have to just throw out ideas even if they are extraordinary in order to try and come to your final idea. Secondly letting each person have their own say without shooting them down is very important, basically letting people express their own opinions without any judgement. Most importantly however I found as a team our greatest strength was building upon each other’s ideas and that is how we reached our final idea of Dr.Lemons.

Until you can see the notion that all ideas are made up of other ideas as a constant rule, you will not be able to create, since ideas are not fixed they are always in motion. (Scott Berkun, 2011).

The time had come it was time to create our main product for the module. I managed to teamup with one of my really good friends Eric and we made a team with two Russian girls Alisa and Asia and an American guy called Jason. We sat down as a group got to know each other and discussed ideas that we thought would be good for us to try and achieve. As a team we agreed on focusing on a product for the student market and we began to brainstorm ideas for a possible product. After a few days of collectively thinking Jason our team leader came up with a sketchbook that was targeted for students, specifically students studying art or with an artistic background.

The aim of the product was to be a sketchbook, however with compartments for all the necessary utensils a student needs, for example different colour pens and pencils etc…

Everyone really liked the idea and we all came together to try and think of ways to improve it and make our product more functional. Our first task was to make sure we created a prototype for our first Dragons Den pitch. In our previous lecture Corinne had stressed the importance of prototyping.

The way of getting a successful product is to prototype early and prototype often. (Liou, F 2008).

Prototyping is creating a 3 dimensional version of your vision. Prototyping allows you to really use your creativity and try lots of different types and versions of your product, it’s very rewarding to see your idea turn into a tangible product. (Monsoff, 2005).

I would say we prototyped about 15 different versions even though Corinne had suggested we attempt about 50! After a few days we came up with our final prototype and name, the name was down to the Russian god of art who was named Veles and so our product followed suit!

Our prototype looked a bit shabby but it had all the necessary functions that we intended our product to have. I found the whole prototyping process really fun and creative as it gave me a chance to experiment with my ideas and turn them into what my mind projected. I found this whole experience really brought out my creative side. It’s always great when your having fun whilst working!

After showing Corinne our prototype we received some great feedback, and we had to make changes to our product in order to make sure the manufacturing process was made possible. After a week or so of exchanging views with the team we changed our prototype. Our product now was an object that had all the necessary compartments for artists/students utensils and that could fit around different sized sketchbooks.

Below is a picture of one of our prototypes.

Veles 2.

Below is our finished product the change is remarkable!

Our Advert 2.

Corrine’s feedback proved crucial for us in order for us to take our product to another level.

It was time now to do our first practice Dragons Den presentation. It was my first time presenting all year and I was really nervous especially as the Dragons were people with a lot of experience and knowledge, so I was really keen to impress them. Our presentation went really well, everyone’s part was executed well and we received some good feedback and some very good constructive criticism.

Constructive criticism is very important; comments made on your work that is negative but motivating can help you improve your work in the future. (Now Novel, 2013).

It is really important I believe to receive feedback from such experts in their field, as their thoughts are very important and can help us a lot in the future.

After the presentation I felt really accomplished and confident, I wasn’t very good at public speaking and felt that the preparation and the presentation itself taught me new skills and gave me a boost of confidence. I was beginning to feel very pleased that I had chosen this module as it was teaching me new skills and putting me into situations that all the other modules did not offer, the design a business module was much more hands on and practical with a larger focus on teamwork and bonding with people.

Presenting improves and develops your confidence, it also enhances your verbal communication skills which employers value very highly. (Solomon A, 2007).

Our next step was to take our now finalised product to our first trade fair in the Kingston Hill business school foyer.

Trade fairs are very important for any company they provide us with an excellent opportunity to assess opinions from clients and people interested in our products. They also let you scout out your competition and can help improve your market research. (Timesofindia-economic times, 2009).

It was a chance for us to show off our product to the public for the first time and hopefully make some sales. The foyer was filled with the other teams and a variety of people from students to professors and entrepreneurs. Our stall was receiving a lot of attention and we had a lot of interest in our product throughout the day, receiving a lot of great compliments and also some useful criticism, it also helped us compile some market research as the majority of the people spending time looking at our products were students. We ended up also selling 2 products. This day I found really interesting, as it was a chance to talk to strangers and try to promote and sell our product. It was fun chatting to different people and expressing my passion for our product. Once again my social skills were being challenged and improved by the constant conversation with people.

Our next step was to film a marketing video for our product.

I was really excited to do this as I remember how much fun I had doing the Dr.Lemons campaign. I knew I had to rely on some of the skills I had learnt before to help with our Veles advert. As a team we headed up to the National gallery as this was where we would be filming. We found an elegant room filled with paintings it was a great scene for our advert. My teammate Alisa was very experienced in filming and directing videos so she was in charge of directing the film with me helping her, after about an hour of working with her I had learnt a great deal. She had showed me a few filming and editing techniques I wasn’t previously familiar with.

The design a business module has let me not just tap into the knowledge of the lecturers and speakers we have had in our classes but also my colleagues knowledge and skills, I do not think there are many business modules that can offer you the opportunity to learn from your colleagues aswell as the lecturers.

The importance of teamwork!

Teamwork is at the heart of any great achievement.

Being in a team does not necessarily add value but acknowledging that being a better team player can improve any team. Teams involve more people and therefore they create more energy, ideas and resources.

Working together with people to a common goal is one of the most rewarding experiences of life. (Maxwell. J, 2008)

It was time now for our final trade fair our last chance to show our product off to the public and hopefully sell more items!This time around the trade fair was at the other Kingston University campus on Penryn road. This trade fair was much busier with many more stalls and students. Once again we received great praise for our product with a lot of students really interested in our product.

However we had one consistent problem and that was our price! Even though the students liked our product our £15 price tag was too much for the majority of them to make a purchase. In hindsight we should have come up with a student offer in order to sell more products, we did however end up selling 5 Veles’s.

Again the trade fair tested our communication and selling skills. The day was a great success and now we had a lot of confidence going into the final dragons den presentation.

The final Dragons Den presentation was here and we were all very nervous, it was time for me to put upon my skills and knowledge that I had learnt throughout the module to the test.

Well the presentation went really well everyone played their part, and we had been given some really good advice for the future of our product and ways in which it could be improved.

Overall I can say that this module has been extremely rewarding and intuitive. I have learnt so many new skills, become a much more confident person and made some great new friends. Areas in which I perceived myself to be quite weak such as creativity, public speaking and confidence have all improved so much. In terms of designing and creating a product from scratch it has been a completely new and enjoyable experience for me.

References

Harvard Business Review, (2012). Reclaim Your Creative Confidence. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/2012/12/reclaim-your-creative-confidence [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

Landry, C. (2000). The creative city. London: Earthscan Publications. Page 3.

RoundPeg, (2015). Why is brainstorming important – RoundPeg. [online] Available at: http://www.roundpegcomm.com/why-is-brainstorming-important/ [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

Scott Berkun, (2011). All ideas are made of other ideas. [online] Available at: http://scottberkun.com/2011/ideas-are-made-of-other-ideas/ [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

Liou, F. (2008). Rapid prototyping and engineering applications. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Page 5.

Monosoff, T. (2005). Creating a Product Prototype. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/80678 [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

Now Novel, (2013). What constructive criticism is, and how to use it – Now Novel. [online] Available at: http://www.nownovel.com/blog/constructive-criticism-use/ [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

Solomon, A., Tyler, L. and Taylor, T. (2007). 100% student success. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning. Page 224.

Timesofindia-economictimes, (2009). Importance of trade fairs. [online] Available at: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2009-05-22/news/27647741_1_exhibition-industry-trade-fairs-joint-ventures [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

Maxwell, J. (2008). Teamwork 101. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. Pages 6-18.

The Continuation of Veles!!!

After all the work during the term and the time spent on creating our product it felt some what of a shame that Veles would be over because our module had come to an end.

However there are benefits of having a team with different nationalities! Fortunately two of our team members Asia and Alisa both from Russia, incredibly managed to generate enough interest in Russia for us to have a potential buyer. This would be amazing, as it would mean Veles would continue and as one of the creators I would be entitled to part of the profits.

It’s great to see that our product not only generated interest in the United Kingdom but also in Russia.

It would be incredibly satisfying for me as a person if a deal with this potential buyer went through as it would mean we have created something that could potentially make the shelves in Russia!

photo.PNG-5

The Final Boss!!!

So the day had finally arrived, it was time to face the Dragons but this time for real! After all our preperations I felt ready but very anxious, I just wanted to go first and get it over with. After preparing since roughly October that was roughly 6 months that we had to cover in 5 minutes, that’s more than a month a minute, so the pressure was on!

The presentation went really well and everyone did their part very well, we received some great feedback from the judges and some great advice on how to improve our product and deal with future demand.

The experience I gained from the whole presentation process was huge; I learnt so much and become a more confident and well-rounded person. It’s not often in life you get put in the limelight and judged, but these presentations and this module put me into difficult situations and I had to respond to the challenges I faced. It always feels great after experiences like this because you feel like you have conquered something and acquired new skills.

Trade Fair 2

So the time had come for our second trade fair! Our second chance to show off our product Veles to the public, the location had changed to the Penryn road campus which hopefully would provide us with more foot fall than the business school at the Kingston Hill campus.

We arrived at around at 1pm and we set up our stall, which happened to be outside this time! There were definitely more stalls with students showing off their products than the previous trade fair. The fair also had stalls selling food and drink, which attracted more people to the square.

Once again our product was attracting lots of attention, however there were more students and a younger crowd this time around. The students seemed very interested in our product, many of them asking questions and telling us that we had made a great product that they could see a lot of uses for. However the majority of them were put off by our price of £15. In hindsight we should have probably cut them a student deal and maybe we would have sold more products.

However we did end up selling 5 products, which I thought was a success.

After 2/3 hours of having our stall outside we moved to a room inside the university building were we set up our stall for about an hour before the presentations and speeches begun, some of these talks were really inspirational and it was great to hear entrepreneurs talk about their life stories and successes.

Overall they day was again a success for our team and our product Veles, it was great to take part in such a fun and insightful day.

photo-3

There is no I in Team

I really wanted to make a post on this as I felt it was key to our team and hopefully our product becoming successful.As time went on we were spending much more time together as a team, completing more and more jobs and pieces of work. I felt that our team chemistry was becoming really healthy and happy. Everyone got on really well and we worked really well as a team.

I felt that all my team members had different strengths and collectively our combined input and unselfish attitude made our team tick really well.No ideas or moments of creativity were shot down and everyone’s views were respected and sometimes laughed at, but in a good way.

It was great working with a group of people that were so open minded and easy to bounce ideas off, at no point did I feel that someone was trying to steal the limelight and take extra credit for something that they had even come up with, it was a collective effort for everyone!

This whole experience taught me that if as a team you all get on well, your productivity and creativity can really improve and can feel more natural.

It also taught me you do not necessarily need an out and out leader in your team for your team to be successful and get to keep everyone focused going forward.

Hollywood Time!!!

So after the trade fair and all that jazz. We had to create our very own marketing video in order to promote our amazing product Veles!

So Alisa, Asia, Eric and myself all went up to the National Gallery in London as this is were we had decided our advertisement would be shot!

I remember this daily really well, mainly because it was literally pouring it down with rain the whole day and I arrived soaking wet due to myself not having an umbrella, and stupidly whilst walking from Charing Cross station to the National gallery I was thinking to myself I wish we had created a sketchbook with a built in umbrella or something like that!

I had not been to the gallery for over 5 years and upon entering I remembered how beautiful and busy it was! As a team we managed to find a small room with some magnificent paintings in that was much more quiet than 99% of the Gallery, after having a small talk with some of the Gallery staff they said it was ok for us to shoot our advert in this elegant room so we had our stage!

As a team we choreographed the advert I thought really well and after a few funny bloopers and terrible acting we had created our final masterpiece! Eric and Asia were they two main actors and Alisa and I were the directors and producers!

Below was our final advert!

Trade Fair 1!!!

So in the middle of January we had our first trade fair of the year, the trade fair was our first opportunity to show off our product and hopefully make some sales!

We had to set up our own stall and as a group each of us tried to entice people into our space with happy smiles and sweets!

The foyer was full of all the other teams and different entrepreneurs and the atmosphere was great. We had a lot of interest from different people throughout the day whether it was other students, professors and other entrepreneurs. We received a lot of positive feedback, better than I thought we would to be honest and we also had some great ideas from several people in how we could improve our product in terms of functionality and marketing.

We ended up selling 2 products on that day and the people who bought them seemed very very keen! The trade fair I found very interesting and a little bit challenging. At first it was a little intimidating talking to random people about the product, but as time went on it became easier and I believe my passion and knowledge for our product shone through.

Overall the day went really well, we got some great feedback and even sold 2 items, but above all it was a great experience and I learnt a lot in terms of talking to potential buyers and interested people!

Our Team Veles 1.

Our Advert 2.