Dragon’s Den

This was a 7 minute presentation of the feasibility idea to 3 Dragon’s of the local Kingston area, of which 3 minute’s would be allocated to explaining idea in terms of the sections in the feasibility study, and the 4 minutes would be the response from the Dragons in terms of them asking questions.  This presentation was being held at Penrhyn Road in the Galsworthy Building and a few hours before Corrine had put up a timetable of who would be going were and at what time they will be presenting at. How this would help us is that it the response from the Dragon’s we would use to improve and structure our feasibility study, while also at the same time presenting would help us develop our skills more better in presenting to a group or audience in a short amount of time.

Financing for a business

From this lecture we had a special guest speaker who spoke about financing and using financing for your business. What he talked about was accounting properly the correct way so you can see where money is being spent.

 

For the first part of the lecture the speaker presented a power point presentation on his life. What he talked about in it was that he was an Kingston University student who went on to create his own picture framing company and in that he should use the pitfalls of bad accounting practices as an inexperienced person who looked over the accounts. Afterwards he talked about his life after that and how he opened up a franchise and now was more adept at organizing better how he managed and organized his accounting finances.

 

After this presentation was finished he then handed out a sheet which I recognized as a balance sheet which is something I constructed in my previous year of Business Management. What he then did was start a new power point slide, were he had created a scenario where this guy owns a business and he wishes to buy a car we would use the value given to us by the speaker to see whether he could afford it.

 

So what he did was that step-by-step he went through the costs explaining for some whether it suggest that money is being wasted or incorrect values are being accounted for. Furthermore he showed that by using modern technology e.g. Microsoft Office accounting can present a more wide perspective on the finances of a company. Also he showed that by using Microsoft Excel and using a balance sheet, cash flow and other forms of accounting framework, this can be presented in a formal businesslike manner so this would be helpful if presenting to a bank for a loan, or if predicting future trends it helps as numbers and values can be altered on a large scale without singular changing each value.

 

What I have learnt from the lecture is that accounting for your expenditures and other things is important. As well also presenting them using Microsoft Office or another spreadsheet software, it helps organize and facilitate a need to store and accurately calculate possible future earning or losses based on the automatic recalculation that happens with the spreadsheet.

 

Feasibility Study

What we had to prepare for this lecture was a brief explanation of what our idea would be for the feasibility study. What a feasibility study is, is that it explores the idea that a person has in terms of how is solves a problem, and of what value it is and whether there are any collaborators or competitors. It is also about being able to explain it clearly so the other person can understand it as well, the skills that this uses is what we have learnt in the previous lectures to help up do this feasibility study.

 

This brief explanation is called an ‘elevator pitch’, this was seen in the third lecture when Corrine was talking to us about storytelling, she showed us a young entrepreneur who used a ‘elevator pitch’ to tell a story of how he identified the problem. For the beginning of the lecture Corrine asked us as a class to tell everyone what the idea was in only 5 words, so people had to think carefully what they would say in a short amount to summarise their idea for the study.

 

After everybody had given their ideas in a summery of 5 words Corrine then asked us to look to the person next to us and pitch to them your idea in 30 seconds and then they do the same to you with their idea. So I turn to the person next to me and pitch my idea that I had chosen for the feasibility study, and then afterwards the person asked some questions about my idea.

 

When we had finished pitching each others ideas and asking questions about them Corrine then told us that this was helping us develop our skills for the ‘Dragon’s Den’ assessment, she then showed us some helpful websites to the few in the class who did not yet have an idea. This was to help us gain some perspective for those who couldn’t identify a problem and see what other people had created to solve the problem they had identified.

Marketing, Design & Branding

For this lecture Corrine noticed that the front of the room that we were in was more awake than the back so she decided to ask us to swap side’s so that front went to the back and the back went to the front this was so she could better interact with those who were falling asleep. After everyone was settled she then asked us were we came from and people gave various places she then asked us to take out a piece of paper and with the place that we come from draw one picture that represents it. From that various pictures were drawn in which the students thought represented their country.

 

Afterwards Corrine told that symbols and images are a form of branding and that before we could brand our product that we first needed to understand the marketing basics. Marketing is divided into Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. She first started with segmentation and the various forms and how it linked in with our earlier lecture in creating a persona ‘Girl Effect’, and how this is interlinked in with Psychographic and Behavioral to create the persona or in marketing terminology and Profile.

 

Corrine then moved on to the marketing of the product explaining the 7P’s as well as the tools used for communicating and the stages of the strategies of the communication. This information was not new to me as currently during the module I am taking marketing and in the previous I was taught these things as well.

 

Subsequently Corrine put on a power point presentation which she stated was created by her what she started to talk about was ‘Branding’ what see talked about at the beginning was that with branding there is needed a communication strategy and a graphic designer if possible. And that with a branding it needs to create a unique message that has to be communicated for the brand, she showed us how brand logos are developed over time to fit trend or times, furthermore she showed us poor graphics which was the ‘London 2012’ logo.

 

Also she showed us that it is not just the image but also the character type used to type the lettering and when you put that all together with storytelling and advert like the one she showed us a communicated all the elements she had talked about.

 

For this lecture it has taught me that using branding means that it should communicate what your product or brand is and that it should tell a story as so to better help the customer gain a more interactive experience. Furthermore it has taught me that when branding everything is important that includes the logo, design and the lettering font, as any of this could detrimentally effect that perception towards the customer.

Innovation and Feasibility

For the beginning of the lecture Corrine talked about a blog that she had found on the internet by Dan Pink. Dan presented a problem of French people smoking on trains a gave examples of how other cultures deal with smoking in public places, based on the previous lecture on prototyping Corrine told us to use our imagination on thinking up ideas in which this situation could be remedied, while remembering to keep in mind the user triangle that we had been taught. There were a variety of imaginative solutions to the problem including their own smoking train and a drop down balloon to smoke in.

After that task Corrine introduces us to Diego Rodriguez “21 Innovation Principles”  in developing a business this is linked in with our up-and-coming assesment in terms of creating a idea and seeing whether it is feasible. What corrine did is that she told us to get into groups to which end she would then assign a principle in which we would have to present to the front of the class. Our group was assigned that principles:

ñ 12: Instead of managing, try cultivating

ñ 13: Do everything right, and you’ll still fail

Principle 12

This states that instead of organizing and managing staff you should instead try to encourage and motivate, and help staff try to better themselves and grow into a more diverse and imaginative staff who can better help and communicate problems more easily.

Principle 13

This states that no matter how correct you do something there maybe an inevitability that something you do will lead to failure, but it is how you deal with it.

But the problem that I found was that the site that Corrine gave us was very detailed, but it was this detail that I found off putting and I found it hard to understand what the principles where. What I then did was research websites which simplified the “21 Principles” which I found as this site:

http://thenextweb.com/dd/2011/05/08/21-principles-for-innovating-in-the-real-world-from-ideos-diego-rodriguez/

Afterwards I then researched the principles that I was assigned to in the lecture in more detail and found some interesting sites:

This blog talks about the same principle as Diego Rodriguez’s principle but more in terms of cultivating a more team based relationship rather than certain employee’s

http://www.in-equilibrium.co.uk/news/articles/cultivating-effective-work-relationships?searched=cultivating+effective&advsearch=oneword&highlight=ajaxSearch_highlight+ajaxSearch_highlight1+ajaxSearch_highlight2

This I found interesting as based on the principle number 13 as it incorporates what we do in lectures of other people providing their opinion to improve the answer or to give a different perspective on the topic at hand

http://www.experienceproject.com/question-answer/If-You-Always-Fail-Even-When-You-Put-Your-Everything-Into-Things-How-Do-You-Keep-Going-Trying-To-Succeed/2110

Also this incorporates a more real life perspective of the principle number 13 in terms of  entrepreneurs and revenue in advertising

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-09-30/strategy/30056250_1_revenue-users-advertisers

Experimentation Design (Toothbrush Day)

This was a new subject area we were starting and before we went to the lesson we had been asked to bring our toothbrush and if possible some toothpaste. But when we got to the lecture we were told this is to do with prototyping. In my opinion it did not seem that odd what we have been told to bring in.

And for the beginning of the lecture we were told to pair up and show are partner how we brushed our teeth in the morning. This again I did not find uncomfortable and responded well by showing how I brushed my teeth in the mornings and them doing the same. The class then came together to discuss how others brushed their teeth and identified within this the cognitive, physical and emotional needs to it. This was help by Corrine showing us adverts that responded to these needs as well as identifying who had brought their toothbrush with them or not, this lead to the topic of prototyping.

After showing us the adverts that where about various types of new tooth brush designs Corrine ask us still with our partners to prototype a new toothbrush that meets the 3 needs of a customer which may or may not have been encountered with a standard toothbrush. This is the result below:

This new toothbrush that my partner designed allows for greater flexibility and allows for easier hand movements, because as it is attached to the hand it means that the movements are more rounded and unrestricted. In addition through area for improvement means that the actual brush is not secure, the ability of not clenching your fists to brush means that no physical strain is put on your hands allowing for a more relaxed brushing experience.

After the class showed some of the results that had taken place from the task set, Corrine then challenge us for one last task that was to make a gun out of whatever we had on us, this was to teach us that in prototyping it is about using your imagination and not a defined norm that we should stand by.

From this lesson I then was interested in the idea of the toothbrush and decided to research how international companies like Colgate perceive the toothbrush http://colgatereport.wordpress.comScrubbing clean Colgate’s toothbrush design’. This looked at the redesign of a new toothbrush looking at the package it comes in, to the history of the toothbrush itself as well as the issues that arise from modifying a toothbrush.

 

This led me to the think of changing the toothbrush itself http://www.coated.com/new-solar-toothbrush-prototype-requires-no-toothpaste-0907201011/ what this new prototype the creator identifies that there are loads of different kinds of toothpaste and that people are looking towards more environmentally type products to better the planet as well as saves them money this seems like an ideal solution.

 

But that was changing the toothbrush design but if there is no problem then what else could be a problem when brushing your teeth maybe it is where we put our toothbrush and maybe that need to change as well.

 

Communicating your Idea Part 2

This lesson drawled on what we had learnt for the previous lesson that being the observation of Argos. What we were asking was to draw on the 3 individuals that were involved in a company which are customers, community and the company. From that, we had been asked to look at if there were any problems that appeared in the customer journey and what possible solutions could be applied to it, all from the viewpoint of a cognitive, emotional and physical need from a customer.

But these simply techniques do not communicate an idea far enough what in this lecture we would be taught is creating a story, but not any story a story using a persona that fits into the ideal customer that the company uses. This better explains and shows any problems in the customer journey where writing it out on paper does not communicate practically the solution/problem. Furthermore by creating a user specific persona the target market is clearly identified and a more understandable and simplistic approach is devised to show practically in understanding the customers cognitive, emotional and physical needs.

In addition upon being ask to identify and discuss who are persona is for a problem/solution could be at Argos we were shown the ‘Girl Effect’. This short video was shown to us as to help us understand the task we had been set. It showed a small girl and the life she led, left her in a poor state because she was effected by these situations which led to the end result, but then going back a making one small change it meant she would now lead a better life. What the point of this video was, was that the story if short created a persona that identified an cognitive, emotional and physical need which was expressed in a short practical and to the point story.

Afterwards we got into our groups and based on the ‘Girl Effect’ video we had just been shown, we were to use a similar format to create a persona on the company we had been assigned to previously which was Argos, and use the problem /solution acknowledged in the customer journey to create a story.

What we came up with was Nikki a 32 year old single mother, with three children has a very busy life by balancing work and taking care of her children. One morning her toaster breaks down, so she sends her kids off to school (without breakfast) and heads to Argos to buy a new toaster. She enters the store and looks at toasters she wants, she finds one and selects it, but the self-service machine displays a message saying “out of stock”. So she queues up at a customer service desk to ask when it will be back in stock. However, she sees a long line at customer services and decides to leave the store as she is short of spare time and has to collect her children from school.

The solution to Nikki’s situation would be for Argos to have a display on the self-service devices telling you when the product is likely to come back into stock without having to wait to talk to someone in customer services.

This persona is indicative of Argos target market which is 18-45 years olds who have child or family dependents and are on middle to lower incomes. So this shows that this sort of thinking in using a persona that recognizes the cognitive, emotional and physical needs of a customer through their journey, and creating a situation where this can be applied coupled with observing the company can create a near perfect representation of a company’s actual market segment.