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.
Below is our finished product the change is remarkable!
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.
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.