(REFLECTIVE PAPER) The last leg of a long journey.

Introduction

 

Within the paper I will be reflecting on my experience with this module. I will use the classes and all the different things learnt to help define what my futures goals are and how I aim to achieve them. This is the end of a really intense journey but the beginning of a long and exciting story, I will aim to show what I’ve learnt but also demonstration how this class has equipped me with the different skills needed to be successful within the next five years.

 

Dreams that need to be lived

This class has truly been a once in a lifetime experience that I’m sure no one in my class will ever forget. Some parts I’ve really loved but some parts I’ve really struggled with, I can however say that I’ve learnt more than I ever thought I would. My passion in life is anything to do with music, I love singing and playing the piano, really just entertaining people with my music. Based on my passion I have 1 main goal that I would like to achieve within the next 10 years. My goal is to start my own record label where I can help other young artists achieve their dreams of being in the music industry. I have been performing for around six years and I have heard two things throughout this time, one that I have one of the most amazing voices ever and two that I just don’t have the look they are looking for. I believe that dreams shouldn’t be forgotten just because someone tells you something negative; if you believe in yourself anything is possible. This is the type of message I would like to promote within the music label, hopefully inspiring people to always continue to step out of there comfort zone and chase their dreams.

 

How the classes will help me achieve my goal

Through the course of the class we have possibly covered everything within the business- entrepreneurship sector, which includes; finance, marketing, branding, product development and so much more. However I believe I learnt the most from the classes that talked about social media and how to use it to the best of your ability, presentation preparation, how to use your skills and get the most out of it and also the USER MODEL which is a framework that helps section the different stages of the design thinking process (Beaumont, 2010). I believe I can take certain aspects of what I’ve learnt and apply them to the foundations of what I want to do with my future.

 

A big part of being an entrepreneur and starting businesses is being able to successfully network and build a strong portfolio of connections. In my Design a business class we spoke about how important social media is to anyone, especially those within a field where they are contently around people. I read an article by Andreas Kaplan where he spoke about how the world is still very unaware of how useful and important social media can be to the development of new and old businesses. There is only a small percentage of social media being used in the right way, Kaplan discuss how to increase the percentage of good use (Kaplan, 2010). I believe this is true because in class we also spoke about how social media, especially sites like twitter allow you to communicate with celebrates and other people of high status without invading there personal space, your more likely to get an answer to your question via social media than you would if you phoned or emailed. This is a skill I know I can defiantly use when it come to starting a record label. I think social media maybe one of the most important aspects of starting a business when dealing with the music industry. As well as being managing director of team Memoby I also did a lot of the work when it came to social media. I sent messages to loads of different major companies and was surprised when Etsy.com messaged me back and gave me some great advice and support on not only how to help my product succeed but also how to market myself as a strong brand because people not only look at the product but also the person selling it. According to (Ellison et al, 2007) no other form of technology is needed if social media is present, because it’s the most accessible form of communication and technology and can reach previously inhabited communities.

 

A long with social media we had classes on how to use the individual skills we have to the best of our ability. Most of the time the skill doesn’t matter, what matters is how you take that skill and adapt it to the situation your dealing with. Base on the information of DR Beaumont during class I decided to run a little experiment and see if her theory, that most skills can be used in most situations if done in the right way was accurate. During a long weekend I accompanied my mom to an international conference in South Africa that was aimed at finding different ways to promote health care within poorer communities of South Africa’s shanti towns. When I first got to the conference my mom disappeared into the sea of both doctors and marketing experts that had worked for different health services for many years. As a musician I was the odd person out and to be honest I didn’t really understand a lot of what they were talking about. What I did know is that they wanted to create a marketing campaign that would explain to the poorer parts of South Africa on why they need to regularly have medical check ups. Before I gave my advice, I thought the best course of action would be to apply the Sherlock Holmes theory to how the conferences was being delivered. The Sherlock Holmes theory is where a set of rules have been created to help enhance certain skills when in a situation that is out of your comfort zone. Based on the writing of (Parker, 2012) rules like; develop your intuition, learn to deduce facts from studying people, improve your power of observation and listen and keep an open mind. This theory can help concentrate the brain which then allow you to use the skills you have to the best of your ability. I followed this theory as part of my experiment and found that not only was the theory successful but also the overall experiment. After listening to all the suggestions on how to campaign, it was clear that all the proposals were very unimaginative. My opinion was that, basic marketing technics couldn’t always be used; sometimes you have to adapt the your surrounding and look at the cultural history and economical status of the area. I suggested that they focused on music, especially the history of South African music. From as early as the 1920s music in South Africa was used as a way to fight the injustice of what the government was doing, this was seen as the earliest stage of the apartheid (Ballantine, 1989). People would listen to the music and be filled with the confidence to keep fighting. In today’s time this hasn’t changed, music has become an even greater force and is used for so many different situations (Exploring Africa, 2011). So instead of singing about the government I suggested they sing about keeping South Africa alive by being healthy. This was received well by the people in the conference and hopefully they can use the information to save more lives.

 

 

The USER MODEL

Now that the Design a Business class is now over I believe that the class about the user model is by far the most important lesson we had. The User Model, which stands for User System Establish Realize, is a theory that helps make the process of creating a product or service a lot easier. I believe that this is a key skill that I need when starting my own business because it will help me to see the process in a systematic way (Beaumont, 2010). A long with this framework I also believe that the Darwin Evolution Start-up theory is very useful. This is because the theory is based around the premise that when like-minded companies are grouped together they can either grow stronger or weaker when enough time has been spent with each other (Bygrave, 1991). I find this interesting because I believe I can connect these two theories to my research within the social media area by creating to sets of networking groups; one based around the field I want to go into, which will mean that my label can grow from the ground up with strong companies. Not only will I gain that connection between companies but I will also be able to learn valuable pieces of information that will allow my company to succeed. The other network will be based around people, companies or organizations that are completely different to what my music label will be (Farbey, 2014). Though the Darwin theory talks about growing with companies in the same field I also believe that in order to grow beyond your expectations risks have to be taken, you can’t take risks if your always being safe.

 

Conclusion

Confidence is key! In the business I aim to go into confidence is by far the most important skill to have because it can be the difference between getting a record deal or not. In todays society it’s not always about if you can sing but rather if you can be confident enough to gain fans and turn yourself into that important brand. This reminds me of the classes where my teacher would speak on how to present yourself when giving a presentation. Over the months of this class I was involved in around 4 different presentations that all yielded different results even though what was being present was completely the same. I found it interesting to learn that your confidence can be altered based on the amount of people you present to and also the ratio of men to women. The females in my group felt more comfortable when the people being presented to where mostly women because they felt they understood the emotion of the product we was selling (Preston, 2007). However the guys in my group where more confortable when it was predominantly men because they asked less questions and allowed the presentation process to be over quickly. I’m still working on these skills myself because I’ve learnt that my confidence changes based on the facial expressions of the audience. However one day I would like to be able to present in any situation at anytime without feeling to conscious.

 

This class has firstly shown me how to be the best businesswomen I can be, I’ve learnt different ways to use my skills and talent to the best of my ability and I’ve also made loads of connections that I believe will help me in the future. In terms of the over all project I believe I made many mistake when it can to being managing director and having confidence in my judgment. I questioned myself a lot and that impacted everything from making the product to selling the product. Sometimes being a boss means making the hard decisions, I more so wanted to be my groups friend instead of their leader, this is why we struggled I believe. I had all the information and knew exactly what to say but confidence is something I really struggled with. In saying that I do believe that I have pushed my self to places I have never been before, managing a team and doing trade fairs really pushed me out of my comfort zone and it really showed me how to communicate with different types of people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

AVC (2012) The Darwinian Evolution of Startup Hubs, Available at:http://avc.com/2012/05/the-darwinian-evolution-of-startup-hubs/ (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

 

Ballantine,C. (1989) ‘A brief history of south african popular music’, Popular music,8(3), pp. 305-310.

 

Beaumont, C. (2010) ‘The USER Model’. BS7706: Design a business. Available at:  http://macekingston.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/usermodel-corrinebeaumont.pdf

 

Bygrave, W. (1991) Theorizing about Entrepreneurship, Available at:http://www.taranomco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/273.pdf (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

 

Ellison,N., Steinfield, C., Lampe, C. (2007) ‘The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), pp. 1143-1168.

 

Exploring Africa (2011) A brief background and history of African Music, Available at:http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/teachers/curriculum/m13/notes.php (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

 

Farbey, Y. (2014) ‘The Darwin theory of start-ups’, The Start up Magazine, 9th April, p. 6.

 

Kaplan, A. (2010) ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media’, Business Horizons, 53(1), pp. 59-68.

 

Parker, M. (2012) How to think like sherlock Holmes , Available at:http://www.dreamspear.co.uk/how-to-think-like-sherlock-holmes/ (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

 

Preston, N. (2007) Ten tips for presentation confidence and reducing nervousness,Available at:http://www.nipreston.com/publications/excerpts/Ten_Tips_for_Presentation_Confidence-SAMPLE.pdf (Accessed: 24th April 2014).

How the Memoby Box was created (Part 3)

This is the last section in a 3-part blog that looks at the product, design thinking and how we created the product. I will explain in detail how the memoby box came to life and the different skills we used to create a brand.

 Get the box

When my team and I started working on designing our product we seemed to complicate things a lot by finding the hardest and longest way to produce results. We started looking for different manufactures that would build the box we had designed, the aim was to use word and plastic but as time went on we found it would be very expensive because not only would you have to pay for the creation of the box you would also have to think about the raw materials. We would not make a profit because the coz for of product for each unit would be high. This is also where we used design thinking, instead of building a box we decided to by an already built plain box , which would save time and a lot of money. In total my team and I spent a third on buying a the boxes pre made, than if we would of made them ourselves. This means we can allocate the rest of the funds to designing the product.

Image

Change the box

To save money as we went to a bulk buying art Supply Company and brought all our material like paint, gloss and other things. We then transformed the boxes by sanding, painting an glossing. After doing a lot of research we decided that we wanted our products to have a homemade feel, that was a big part of our other all brand. Using the sixth rule from Eight Rules for Creating Great White Papers we found that “Graphics and the look are content too.” Sometimes the way the product looks it more important than what it does because the look is the first thing that is noticed so it can tell an interesting story.

ImageImageImage

 

Customizes the box

Our university has a great arts and craft department that we felt we could use from the beginning. Early on we set up meeting and began to build connections with the staff in that department. In return they not only gave us unlimited access to the machines that 3D printer an scanner but they also help us regularly when we used the machines. Our main focus was to use the machine to scan the memoby logo but also scan customized writing and images for each customer, which in the end cost us nothing because of our connection.

ImageImage

Image

 

Throughout my classes the main theme that my teacher spoke about was based around being different. There are many different ways to do things but it’s about taking the skills you already have and using them in an unconventional manor. One skill can have a thousand uses but if you don’t try then you’ll never know. When creating your masterpiece use all resources and connections available, anything that is free or discounted can help.

 

 

ID Employee (2005) Eight Rules for Creating Great White Papers, Available at:http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/g.w.m.rauterberg/lecturenotes/Eight-Rules-for-Writing-Great-White-Papers.pdf (Accessed: 19th of April 2014).

 

Know your Market – Market Research

Market research can be described as desire to obtain information based around the product or service you are trying to offer. It’s the effort to gather information that best helps assess the market and type of consumers you are delivering this product/service to. Market research is also important because you are able to get out into the public and really ask the public what they want and what type of product/service they would put there money to. It’s a way of seeing you competitor and allowing yourself to learn the different ways they are successful

 

As a team, we found that market research would be such am important area for us because it could actually help us determine whether going a long with a product we created was still the right thing to do. Before settling on the Memoby time capsule design we looked at writing an interactive children’s book by creating an experience before the kids went to bed. So we decided to do market research in both books and boxes, below shows the system we used to obtain information.

 Market Research System

We first began by going into the market and seeing the different products offered in theses areas. We were surprised to find that there was such a high level of interactive books on offer.

 

Image

 

A book where the parent plays the puppet hand and shows the emotions of the snow snowman. Very interactive with the ability for the child to physically touch and feel the snowman.

 

Image

 

A book where the pages are moving like a Television screen. Allows the child to physically see the action.

 

Image

 

By far one of the best children’s books i’ve ever seen. This was a pop up book with music and character sounds.

Everything we thought had not been done, had been and to a great standard. We decided as a group that doing a book we not no a good idea because we couldn’t find a need that hadn’t already been met or a style that was new and innovative. After that we decided to do research into the different types of boxes that was similar to the capsule box we wanted to develop.

ImageImage

 

Below are the other ways we did market research to best understand our product. 

  • Talk to the employees for the shops we visited
  • Talk to customers that may use the product
  • Go on websites and read different reviews
  • Look at the overall history of the market and its current success rate.
  • Look at the different products that could be similar to what we are developing.
  • Look at different ways to make our product better
  • Carry out online surveys and questionnaires

Some of the questions we asked were:

  • What different things do you consider when buying a product?
  • What things do you like and dislike about the products? currently on the market right now?
  • After seeing our idea, what would you make better?
  • What would you pay for our product?

 Market research is not something that can be done in just one day, it’s a process that should take time and take many different forms and directions. I think market research is an area that can really help create a strong product, its the customers buying the product so knowing what they want can only help help your product be a real success.

 

“It is not possible to make a realistic test of the effectiveness of a commercial in a laboratory situation in advance of real-life exposure. Until this simple but uncomfortable truth is grasped much advertising research will go on being sterile and unproductive.” Alan Hedges 

The Journey to Find the Perfect Idea

In my last blog the last thing I said was that “ its normally those who fail in the beginning that succeed in the end.” That’s exactly what me and my team found when we started the journey of running a startup. We had a total of 100 different product ideas that just didn’t seem to be what we were looking for. On two occasions we thought we had the most perfect idea but after more research and countless amounts of issues we found that we was starting to fell less inspired more drained. With some encouragement from our lecture we was reminded that we was on track to having a great idea but we was on a track that helped us learn while we developed our own idea.

The Ideas Before the Idea

The first development was an idea that came to the group after I explained that when my father pasted away he recorded two thousand hours of messages to see me through my childhood. I explained that the recordings where amazing but I always wished I had something to hold while listening to my dad tell me stories. All I wanted to do is hug him but I couldn’t do that so the next best thing was to hold some sort of toy.

  Copy write   Property of Kingston University – Team Memoby

 

  1.   Our first creation was L BEARL

L BEARIs a stuffed bear that has the ability to record and store 30 second recording. The need was to help young children deal with their emotions and sensitive information that may be hard to deal with.

Image

 2.    Creation Two HAT BAG/BAG HAT

Hat Bag is an idea that is more relaxed and easy going, the need or meaning was not so emotional or issue based. The idea was a hat that could easier transform into a bag. When the idea was originally developed everyone in the group was excited because we thought it was something unique and different that could be used in multiple countries. However as time went on we found that people saw the product as a bit of a joke, the need was not serious enough and that meant that people couldn’t see a real product but rather they saw something that could be sold in a fun shop.

 Image

By this time we was feeling a little deflated but decided not to give up or stop trying. We decided to bring our different abilities and skills together to see what skills we could bring to the product. We came to the conclusion we are  such a unique group because we as a group hold skills in pretty much all the areas that help to make a successful start up. We also came to the decision that we wanted our product to be focused on meaning. The product we created had to have some emotional meaning that helped improve or change peoples lives n a positive way.

 Image

 

Our product, Memoby box is box for pregnant parents that would like to keep memory for their child. Sometimes, it is so hard to keep every memory of a new life and it is quite messy, and memories can be lost if not collected. As a result, we created this time capsule box for parents who do not know where should they collect a lot of memory, they can use our capsule as a way of keeping many things such teeth, shoes including picture of baby or even recording the first time there baby walked or said there first word. 

Image

 

Memoby is the idea we decided to go with and i can honestly say that as a team we can happy with our product. We will work to the best of our ability to make it beautiful and what everyone wants. 

 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill 

The Dream Team

 Can entrepreneurs be successful by themselves?

 Well to answer my own question, I don’t think entrepreneurs can be successful by themselves. I believe that success is based upon individual people working to the best of their ability with the support of people around them. You see success isn’t something people can obtain by themselves, everyone need a little encouragement, support and sometimes-constructive criticism to be they’re best and continue to grow. So let me introduce you to the team that offers all of those things and more.

 

Just to refresh the memories of my regular reader and introduce myself to the new comers. I’m Indie, hi J and I’m currently enrolled in graduate school at Kingston University in the United Kingdom, studying International Business Management with Entrepreneurship. I’m using this blog to map my journey of possibly the best class in the world, designing a Business taught by the most amazing and innovate lecture DR. Corrine Beaumont. The aim of the class is to create a product, design and sell a product So in short with the support of the school we will be running our own business with the aim of making a profit, get a great grade and also learn something that we can take with us throughout life.

 

The Team – If you don’t want read about the group (Why not? We are awesome) scroll down to

 How Many Ideas Does it Take to Hit the Jack Pot?

 

Image

 

 

Indie (Me)(Managing Director) – Music is my passion, eating is my art and helping people is a life long obsession. I believe I’m good at supporting people, it’s always my aim to help people feel great about themselves and to never give up on what they want. I’m more of a dreamer than a logical person but when it comes to working hard I strive for perfection always, but lets get something straight, winning isn’t everything. The journey counts more than the destination, so if you can push yourself to be your best you’re already winning.

 

Flora (Finance Director)This lady is calm, cool and collected, She the cooling energy that relaxes the group when things get a little heated. She helps us understand the math with everything we do. Reminding us that with every purchase there is a price because sometimes we just want to spend but we are on a tight budget.

 

MaxiThis guy has a crazy genius mind thing going on, plus he likes to bake so he’s pretty much perfect J. He comes for an engineering background so is able to look at the technical side of everything. He helps the team be creative but a little realistic in terms of time and resources.

 

Aei – This woman has the ability to make everything modern and fresh. She is am amazing photographer and videographer that helps us as a team to be innovate in how we brand and present our product. She has so much energy and passion for life.

 

Faii – Is the funny one of the group, she has amazing skills in management and outside the box creative thinking. She pushes the team to be unique and not always to take ourselves so seriously. She is a multitasking superwoman that supports everyone in every way.

 

Prashanna – Is smart, level headed and down to earth. In a team full of free spirited dreamers and go with the flow individuals, he offers the group some peace and quite. When we need to take a step back he helps us look at the situation from different points of view.

 

 How Many Ideas Does it Take to Hit the Jack Pot

Over the space of three months my team and me have thought of over 100 ideas, started then rejected two ideas and hit the jackpot with one. Below you will find the system we used along side the USER Model to work on the ideas that we came up with.

 

  1. Research: What are all the different needs we can think of. Research into different areas and look at the problems or whys to make the product or how it’s used better.
  2. Think: Think of as many ideas as possible, look at different areas and themes, things that may already been done but could be better, things from different countries that would work in the UK and so on and so fourth.
  3. 3.    Gather:  Get together as a group, look at all the ides created, don’t be so quick to say no to an idea just because you don’t like it now. Whittle down the ideas to top 5.
  4. 4.    Research:  Research the top five ideas picked, look at all the different elements that will help make each product. Calculate time, costs, and overall need. Is the timing right? You may have a great product but the timing is wrong.
  5. 5.    Vote: Vote as a team for the best idea, discusses what the need is and how you feel you can help the need.

 

Don’t forget it’s normally those that fail in the beginning that succeed in the end So even if the idea doesn’t come in the beginning, by the end you will have a great idea.

 

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” Bill Cosby

 

 

What is the USER Model ?

What is the USER Model and how is it helpful when designing a business?

Dr Corrine Beaumont is an amazing American lecturer currently teaching and sharing her vast wisdom at Kingston University. During her studies as a PhD student she developed a framework for the design thinking process. The framework helps section the different stages of the design thinking process which subsequently helps structure and organise the whole process of designing simpler and straight forward.

The USER Model stands for: User System Establish Realise                      

When starting the process of thinking of an idea, the user model can help simplify the process by allowing the participant to see every area of how to design a business in a systemic way. It breaks down the process into easy but detailed sections.

Image

 

During one of my first classes, we was set with the task of testing the model seeing how it really worked and to also see how I might use it when developing my own product as part of a team.

The experiment was aimed at shoes;

  • First market research about shoes (What are the factors that make people buy shoes? E.g. color, style, price, fashion, the comfort or statement to the environment.) USER
  • Understanding the story behind the show will allow us to understand the user. USER
  • Role-play-(storytelling) creating or adapting a story to help with the development of the shoe. SYSTEM
  • Setting a goal how many shoes to design in a certain amount of time. ESTABLISH
  • Prototype –Seeing a version of the product, in this case the shoe (Learning why prototyping is so important and why taking time to properly develop an idea is important). REALISE

Image

 

It is clear that this framework can help un-complicate the process of designing a product. It breaks down the areas enough so that the process is simple but the project is detailed enough.  It allows you to see the big picture and work on the key points.

 

 

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Steve Jobs

 

 

Ref/Bib