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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