LEARN TO IMPLEMENT (AKASH’S REFLECTIVE ESSAY)

The whole experience of London is very unique and impressive. I learned a lot of new things in my life and changed the way of thinking I used to think previously. Cognitive skills and learning behaviour were the two most important aspects which helped me to develop into a more knowledgeable person. It was a very tough task for me to come all the way from India and settle in London leaving all my family, friends and relatives behind and coming to a completely new country and adapt to London’s culture and teaching style. I had a dream to study abroad and develop my thinking style and become a better human being and become more responsible.

Design thinking is about capacity and learning. Capacities like managing vagueness, compassionate learning, blend, and experimentation, among others. A planner’s capacity to make significance, outline an issue, and investigate potential arrangements is critical which means that new thoughts rise when we investigate things. Design thinking is essentially how we investigate those issues and arrangements. Everybody structures, regardless of whether it’s cognizant or not. In case you’re tackling an issue, you’re structuring an answer. Design thinking is an outlook that encourages us to improve. (Ries E, 2011). 

The first stage of the module Design Thinking for Start-ups was to find and create a group for the module. According to Stewart (1999), the intensity of a successful group as the present organizations progressively structure work around groups.  We were told to form into groups for the entre module and it was the most important element for the module. There were many informal meetings arranged by the module leader for us to meet and collaborate with like-minded people to form a group at the first stage. It is a very essential part to form the right group for the win-win situation of all.

Team members need to organize and synchronize their activities, and each part has a basic job for their aggregate activity. Thus, the achievement of groups is subject to the way colleagues interface with one another to achieve the work (Marks, Mathieu, & Zaccaro, 2001). We found out that the two most important aspects for team management were the coordination and communication. We tried to coordinate and communicate in a very informal way for better team work and met several times for discussions of roles and delegation of authority.

After the formation of the team, the thing which was to be done was to find a problem and solve it by giving value to the problem seeker. Basically, we were finding a problem which a product may solve and also give value proposition to the customer. We came out with a problem of bicycle safety and thought of a solution for providing better safety to the bicycle users. Our product, HSL which stands for High Security Lock is a smarter and a safer lock for bicycles which has a two-way alarm system installed within the lock and a GPS tracker system which notifies the users through an application if the bicycle lock is been tampered. The whole idea was to provide a smarter lock to the high-end bicycle market. The whole idea needed to be innovative which was never introduced before. The three major elements for the innovation for us were the technology, the business and the people. The feasibility, marketability and the desirability of the product was the main attention.  From the picture below, it is clear that innovation is possible when there are these three elements present along with the design thinking.

THE DESIGN THINKING PROCESS:

The entire design thinking process revolves around two main characters which are the problem and the solution. The idea is to find out a problem and then solve the problem identified. According to The Interaction Design Foundation, the design thinking method consists of 5 phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test.

We started off with the first stage which is empathizing which means to interact with the people you are designing the product for or basically which is our target group. We met several people who had bicycles and understood their problems of their bikes being stolen or locks being broken. Having engagements with our target group, we tried to note down all the points and asked their review about the product that will be launched by us. Getting the views of our potential customers gave us an insight about what they were looking for and what extra features we could add in existing bicycle locks.

The next stage is the defining stage where we had to define the problem through the insights and the opportunities. By the target market engagements and engagements with the nearby bicycle shops, we defined the problem of the bicycles being stolen and the need for a smarter lock. We ideated the problem and designed the product which is a smarter and a safer lock with extra features and which gives more security to the users.

The next stage was the prototype and testing stage where we actually produced a prototype of the product. A prototype is the idea to make it tangible and allow it to user testing. The material selection and the manufacturing took a lot of time but was a very competing task where we had to finish the prototype within a particular time frame. The testing frame consists of three main elements which are learning, building and measurement for fitting it into the market. (The Interaction Design Foundation, 2019)

We built our own business based on the bicycle lock and started focussing on the marketing of the product. The main aspect was the brand identity which we had to create in the market. We used social media marketing as our main tool for marketing which included platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and our own website. We posted about the product and the company on these platforms to get ourselves familiar and known in the market. Aside from the way that Social media marketing makes it simpler for individuals to discover your start-up, it also offers you the chance to recognize what individuals need and discover approaches to offer it to them (Writers. C, 2016)

As an example, I learnt from the marketing campaign which was done by our team. We had created a small video advertisement of our product. We decided to use 3 main props in the video advertisement which were the bicycle, the HSL lock and a lock cutter. We started off showing a normal lock which could be cut easily and then with the HSL lock which was our product and showcased the features and the benefits of the product including the alarm systems and the GPS system. The video was uploaded to all our social media and the website. I learnt a lot of things through this which includes the importance of an video advertisement and the power of advertisement through social media.

Business model canvas and value proposition canvas:

The most critical and the most important aspect for any start-up would be the business model canvas. It is the initial stage where a start-up starts to think about the potential business and the product which will be launched. According to Osterwalder’s (2010)it gives a detailed model of the entire business which includes its customer segments, revenue streams, cost structure, channels, customer relationships, value propositions, key activities, key partners and key resources. We had to make the canvas of our start-up and include all these aspects into our canvas.

Another important canvas is the value proposition canvas which was also introduced by Osterwalder (2012), which gave an in-depth knowledge about the product and how is it related to the customer. The product features and benefits are linked to the customer satisfaction levels which include the needs, fears and wants. The main focus of this canvas is the customer rather than the product or the company and the needs, wants and fears of the customer are thought beforehand.

 The lean start up canvas:

The possibility of a lean start-up is about expanding improvement efficiencies and achieving the objective market sooner, therefore conceivably benefiting from the primary mover advantage. It underscores that new businesses should attempt to dispose of waste by discharging a MVP at the earliest opportunity. New companies should utilize MVPs to draw in target clients and test the esteem and development speculations utilizing measurements that are fit to driving a start-up’s development. At first, advancement should concentrate on trials that give answers to essential inquiries identified with the esteem what’s more, development speculations. Along these lines, the spotlight ought to be kept up on the motor of development itself. (Moogk, 2012)

Dragons den:

This was a very innovative and unique thing introduced in the module. In the Dragons’ den, we had to present our start-up business in front of a panel of judges and pitch the idea. We were judged on many criterions which included the sales pitch, the marketing efforts, and the financials of the company, the branding & packaging along with the display merchandising. There were totally 3 dragons’ dens in which there were 2 mock dragons’ den and one was the final dragons’ den. I learnt a lot of things from this experience which include time management, pitching the idea, presentation skills.

Trade fairs:

There were 2 trade fairs in which our group had participated. First trade fair was at our own university to just get the feel of the actual market place and another was actually in a market place in Kingston, Eden Walk. We had to display our product and try to sell the product. It was a very good experience as we got the actual marketplace feel and got to engage with our potential future customers and got to know about the value of feedback which we got.

My learning’s:

  • Importance of team work- any task can be accomplished more easily when worked in a group rather than working individually.
  • Communication and coordination is must for better team work- the two most important aspects for improvement of team work for better results.
  • Time management- it is a very crucial aspect in everyone’s life let it be professional or personal.
  • Presentation skills- through the dragons’ den and through pitching
  • Value feedback from others and implement changes
  • Customer is the key success to any business
  • Do not give up easily
  • Learn from mistakes and let go

Future goal:

My future goal is to start-up my own business in jewellery. I come from India and there is a lot of scope of jewellery market there. I wish to use and implement all the knowledge and learning’s to my real life. I can relate to the module starting with the lean canvas and bring into notice the needs, wants and fears of the customers and also relate to the prototype and testing stages of design thinking into my future goal. I can relate to the minimum viable product (MVP) concept to my real future goal. The whole set of learning’s will help me become a successful businessman and also a better human being.

I thank each and every one who was a part of my journey in Kingston University and the design thinking module. It would not have been possible without you.

References:

Stewart, G. (1999). Team work and group dynamics. New York. John Wiley and Sons. 1999. xiii, 191 p. 23 cm..

Marks, M. A., Mathieu, J. E., & Zaccaro, S. J.(2001). A temporally based framework and taxonomy of team processes. Academy of Management Review26, 356–376. doi:10.2307/259182

The Interaction Design Foundation. (2019). What is Design Thinking?. [online] Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/design-thinking [Accessed 25 Apr. 2019].

Writers, C. (2016, May 13). Tips on social media marketing for startups. Ciol, Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.kingston.ac.uk/docview/1788539588?accountid=14557

Osterwalder, A. et al (2012). Value Proposition Design. Wiley & Sons. Available at:http://www.peterjthomson.com/2013/11/value-proposition-canvas/

Osterwalder A, Pigneur Y (2010). Business Model Generation – A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers and Challengers. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.

Ries, E. (2011). The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Business.Portfolio Penguin, London.

Dobrila Rancic Moogk. (2012) “Minimum Viable Product and the Importance of Experimentation in Technology Startups.” Technology Innovation Management Review March 2012: Technology Entrepreneurship (2012): 23-26. Web.

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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

One of the most important methods of marketing in today’s world is through social media. surviving exploration observationally examines explicit internet based life showcasing destinations including animating deals, expanding brand mindfulness, improving brand picture, producing traffic to online stages, lessening advertising costs, and making client intuitiveness on stages by invigorating clients to post or share content. Alongside these overwhelmingly proactive goals, organizations can utilize web based life showcasing in a progressively receptive way. Many firms additionally endeavour to decrease the dangers of inappropriate online networking use by their representatives by setting rules on how internet based life ought to be utilized in business related setting . Undoubtedly, explicit internet based life advertising destinations and difficulties may rely upon elements, for example, the industry (e.g., B2B versus B2C) and the extent of the firm.

Advantages of social media advertising to start-ups are:

  • Better Target Audience: – If web based life is drilled fittingly it can draw an exceptionally focused on portion of Internet clients to visit your business or site. The distinctive instruments like devices like gadgets and modules accessible via web-based networking media sites help to build the perceivability of substance on nearby just as on worldwide dimension. Web based life mostly centers around intuitiveness and commitment levels.
  • Brand Establishment: – Millions of individuals every day visit online life sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and web journals. Getting your image name all over these sites and web journals helps making an organization picture.
  • Practical: – Social showcasing is one of the least expensive methods for advertising by and by accessible. Pretty much every internet based life utilized for advertising the business either costs nothing or costs an extremely little sum. This low venture with least hazard rouses even the independent company to utilize online life for showcasing their business.
  • Brand Recognition and Awareness: – Social Media Marketing utilizes instruments, for example, web journals to support mindfulness and picture of the business or administration. Blogging at the same time “spread the news” about an organization, its items, and its administrations to countless in a shorter time in this manner perceptibly expanding brand acknowledgment.
  • Easy to understand: – One of the best points of interest of social showcasing is that you don’t have to adapt top of the line code language or specialized aptitudes to utilize any online life stage, regardless of whether you don’t have a clue about that still it is fine to do web-based social networking advertising. The majority of the long range interpersonal communication destinations are anything but difficult to get to any individual who realizes how to utilize web can utilize person to person communication devices and make a profile and post data about your business and administration.
  • Increment Customer Loyalty and Trust: – People today don’t believe internet promoting efforts. The greater part of the web clients are besieged with notices each day even standards and connection advertisements have lost their appeal so individuals ordinarily don’t tap on them. Be that as it may, web-based social networking addresses your clients with an individual touch or in a conversational way. (KVR Web Tech Pvt Ltd, 2019)

We have done social media advertising through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and have created our own website for HSL. These have helped in a decent number of customer engagements and have given us the advantages as mentioned earlier.

References:

KVR Web Tech Pvt Ltd. (2019). 6 Benefits of Social Media Marketing For Your Business. [online] Available at: https://www.kvrwebtech.com/blog/6-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/ [Accessed 25 Apr. 2019].

FINAL DRAGONS’ DEN

The final day of the semester had come and I dint wanted the module to end as I was enjoying the module and the learning experience too. It was time for our final dragons den where we had to present the product to a final panel of judges who would judge us based on certain criteria like the sales pitch, business pitch, financials, marketing and the branding. We had to prepare a proper presentation for presenting and bring the product and present it in front of the judges. We were marked on the presentation and were like a milestone for us that had to be finished and get a good grade for our module. We were given 6 minutes for the presentation and 10 minutes for the question and answers with the judges. We got to know the time constraints and were very difficult to deliver the whole presentation in 6 minutes where we had to deliver the knowledge about the whole start-up. Time management was the main thing which I learnt from this experience.

We started to prepare for the presentation and also had to prepare a business report of our start-up and give a detailed piece of information about the product and the start-up. There was a learning procedure in this dragons den as well because we had a mock dragons den a week before the final dragons den. In the mock dragons den we were not really prepared but were keen to know the comments from the judges and the improvements or amendments which were to be made to make our final dragons den the best. We received a lot of feedback from the judges on the mock dragons den and got to know about the right way of presentation and the order that needed to be followed in the presentation to make it look more professional and interesting.

We clearly read the feedback forms and had a group meeting about the changes and made the amendments for our presentation. On the final day which was 14th march, 2019 we were the last group to present and were very nervous as it was the final presentation. We delivered the presentation in front of the judges and were a unique experience as we got to know how professional pitching was done and got recommendations from the judges about our product and how the start-up would be successful in future if we wished to continue it in the future. The whole journey of our module was showcased in the final dragons den where we had to present the in and out of the product. It was a beautiful journey which started with the idea generation to implementing it to the real business world.

MAKING THE PROTOTYPE

Prototype is an early example, model, or arrival of an item worked to test an idea or process or to go about as a thing to be recreated or gained from. It is a term utilized in an assortment of settings, including semantics, structure, gadgets, and programming. A model is commonly used to assess another plan to improve exactness by framework experts and clients. Prototyping serves to give determinations to a genuine, working framework as opposed to a hypothetical one. In some plan work process models, making a model (a procedure at times called appearance) is the progression between the formalization and the assessment of a thought.

There are many advantages of prototyping which include:

  • Diminished time and expenses: Prototyping improves the nature of the details and necessities gave to clients. With prototyping, clients can envision greater expenses, required changes and potential task obstacles, and above all, potential final product debacles. Solid prototyping can guarantee item quality and reserve funds for a considerable length of time to come.
  • Improved and expanded client association: Most client need to feel like they are included with the complex subtleties of their undertaking. Prototyping requires client association and empowers them to see and collaborate with a working model of their undertaking. With models, clients can give their prompt input, demand venture changes and adjust model particulars. Prototyping above all kills mistaken assumptions and miscommunications amid the advancement procedure.
  • Diminished time and costs: Nothing makes clients more joyful than undertakings that come in under spending plan. Prototyping improves the nature of prerequisites and determinations gave to clients. Required changes identified later being developed cost exponentially more to actualize. With prototyping, you can decide early what the end cliental needs with quicker and more affordable programming. (Rapids Reproductions, 2019)

Our group HSL which made smarter bicycle locks with a two-way alarm system and the GPS tracker into it took a lot of time to make the prototype. As it was a challenging job for us to make the prototype of our product, we focussed on the quality of the product as the first impression is the best impression and it was an example of what we would sell in the future. All the collections and selection of the raw material was done by me and the allocation and ordering was done by my other group members. The main part was the raw material selection and the designing of the product. Getting it manufactured by a manufacturing unit near Indonesia and getting it delivered to London was also a part of the prototyping process. It was a difficult task for us to complete the prototype and cross all the hurdles which came in between. Overall it was an exciting task with many decisions which were made by us and due to this we felt a little too matured.

References:

Rapids Reproductions. (2019). The Advantages & Disadvantages of Prototyping – Rapids Reproductions. [online] Available at: https://rapidsrepro.com/advantages-disadvantages-prototyping/ [Accessed 24 Apr. 2019].

EDEN WALK TRADE FAIR

This was the second trade fair but a more serious and important one. We had to display our product in front of the real market place where we could meet the potential customers of our new start-up and see the behaviour of the customers on our product. This was conducted in a small marketplace in Kingston, which was Eden Walk. The trade fair was on 23rd February, 2019. We had one month exactly after the Kingston university trade fair.

We focussed mainly on the feedback we had gotten earlier and were seeking for more feedback from the potential customers. In this stage our final prototype was ready and we were more prepared as compared to the previous trade fair. This time we had a feedback forms, one sheet of the features and benefits of the product, the prototype, the website of our product, our social media campaign with all the photographs and the company’s visiting cards to be distributed to the public. The trade stand was very interesting and showcased a great stand. It was better than the previous stand and was appreciated by many people. The prototype was ready this time but the packaging of the product was not done as the final product was not ready.

We were still not ready for selling as our final product was not ready and we just had the prototype with us. We were keen more on selling our idea rather than the product and get ourselves familiarised in the market. We had done a lot of efforts for the trade fair and the arrangement of the trade stand. We have gotten new comments on the product and the changes that can be made to improve the product. They were people who were ready for pre-ordering the product but we were told not to take any money for pre-orders. Many people were keen on knowing more about the product. Our stand was crowded at many times and was a very interesting day and many judges also liked the product.

The whole idea of the trade fair was to have a unique experience of the actual marketplace and active selling. We got to know more comments on the product and learnt a lot about the selling techniques and procedures. We got two pre-orders which is they gave us our contact details and know when the product is ready. It was a very good feeling when people were interested in our idea and was a “ahha” moment in my life.

VIDEO ADVERTISING AND THE OSCARS

This was the best task in the module- Design thinking for start-ups. We had a make to video film of our product that clearly was done for advertisement of the product. Each group was given time to prepare for the video and present it in the class in front of some judges and was given the name The Oscars’. Our group HSL was keen on making the best advertisement and winning a prize.

Video advertisement is the best source of advertisement for any company as it helps to improve the awareness and the brand identity. There are several advantages which are as follows:

  • Video is prominent: The first and most evident motivation to pick video is that it’s basically what buyers need. Over 70% of the online US open routinely watches gushing video on the web. This is a crowd of people that can’t be overlooked.
  • Video is a ground-breaking converter: Video is a superb method to expand brand review. In one examination, it was noticed that 80% of respondents recollected the recordings from brands they’ve viewed in a 30-day time frame. That is not the situation for content and photographs, which buyers are immersed with so frequently they once in a while recall singular examples of publicizing.
  • Video gives your image an identity: Video enables you to give your image or item an identity. They enable your customers to associate with an individual or circumstance, as opposed to a picture, which can refine your image.
  • Individuals share recordings: It’s evaluated that 92% of people who’ve seen a video have shared a video. In the event that you’re searching for an imaginative method to expand brand mindfulness, at that point this is a number that you have to consider, as the more individuals who share your image’s message, the more that mindfulness will develop. (Shopkick and Team, 2019)

We started off with our video and as usual it was not a very easy job for us to finish it. It caused several problems in the editing and the execution of the plan. We decided to use 3 main props in the video advertisement which were the bicycle, the HSL lock and a lock cutter. We started off showing a normal lock which could be cut easily and then with the HSL lock which was our product and showcased the features and the benefits of the product including the alarm systems and the GPS system. Our video turned to be successful and we finally won an award for advertisement which was liked by all our classmates and the judges. It was a great moment for our team as our hard work was successful and was actually a good learning experience with all the hurdles and overcoming the hurdles to successfully create and execute the video and showcase what actually we wanted to.

References:

Team, S., Team, S. and Team, S. (2019). Video advertising: Advantages and disadvantages for brand growth and awareness – Shopkick Insights Blog | Partners. [online] Shopkick Insights

Blog | Partners. Available at:

Video advertising: Advantages and disadvantages for brand growth and awareness
[Accessed 24 Apr. 2019].

FIRST TRADE FAIR

24th January, 2019. It was the day of our first trade fair where we had to display our product which is our start-up and try to sell the product. This was a part of our module and was held at our own university which is the Kingston University. The whole point of this trade fair was to make us feel at an actual market place and face the real world challenges. It was a very challenging task for our group. Having realised at this stage we were still in the prototype phase of the product as our product (the smart bicycle lock) was not very easy to build. The whole journey was a difficult one as our product was challenging as well as the whole trade fair.

However, we did not lose any hopes and still faced all the people who passed by our stall because we were clear about the product and the features of the product. We had determined a sheet in which the product features and the benefits were linked so that the customer could easily relate to the value proposition and get interest in the product. Our main aim was to spread knowledge about the product rather than sell the product. Selling the idea was the main focus as we were still in the prototype phase. We had the half prototype which we had started with the benefits and features and the feedback forms on the table stand which we were given in the beginning.

There were many hindrances in the whole process which included the group members’ conflicts of thoughts and the prototype faults. We had to overcome all these and move ahead. We had been working for this day since the start of the module- design thinking for start-ups and had a lot of confusions in the product selection, prototype making etc. Finally, on that day we were all ready for showing up our product and briefly explaining about the product features and what customer satisfaction the customer would get if he buys the product. It was a very unique experience as we got a lot of feedbacks from the mentors and people passing by and many compliments for the idea. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get any prizes which were given based on the best sales, best trade stand and best product. As a whole, the idea of the trade fair in the university was a very good experience as it is a learning process and we learned a lot of things from the experience and tried to understand all the feedback which we got from the mentors and the random people, we tried to implement it for the next trade fair and implement some changes in the product as well.