When I think about writing this blog post, the first impression is …it goanna be painful one. Though it has been a while, I still can remember very step we took in the journey. I always have the dream about how to create my business in the future. Unfortunately after years of working, I become lazy and comfortable to stay in my comfort zone. Before I decided to leave Taiwan, I read a lot of books, articles, movies about adventure and encouragement. It is still difficult for me that to image start up my business. But after this course, I found myself more confident of building up business.
Looking back the first workshop I attended was last September in kingston hill campus. This workshop is the first time I learn the term: Elevator Pitch. At that time, we were told to write our pitch in few structured sentences, such as for_____ who__________is a _______that_________. Unlike _______, the product__________. As a template, it is useful for us to start our first pitch. We were asked to find problems around us in the UK. The problem framing method is the first thing that I learn in the workshop.
And it is useful that we try to locate problems in a human center way and by doing so, it is to find a specific problem and solve it with a human center solution. By understanding how to fix the problem, we first stated to listen to our classmates and this approach also can use for later design thinking start up course. To understand our customers need and listen to them by observation and listen to them as a tool to came up with solutions.
Lesson learnt: problem-framing approach.
As many stories we read in the news or articles, successful stories can base on small observation from people around you. I believe the start point is the most important one. Design Thinking is the center module of MACE and every other course is to help your business growing. The human centered nature of Design Thinking is the most important value of this course.
As Brown (2009) wrote about the design thinking in Harvard Business Review: Close observation of actual shift changes, combined with brainstorming and rapid prototyping, produced new procedures and software that radically streamlined information exchange between shifts. The result was more time for nursing, better-informed patient care, and a happier nursing staff.
It broke up the lines in traditional business and even in the opposite to the traditional business operation. In a such process, there can be more risky factors happened and alternatively, a management role will take part in the business management process to prevent waste resource (money and time).
From “The Lean Startup”(Ries, 2011), we adopted to build up the early prototype. The lean startup is a principled approach to new product development. Take this process as an experiment development; it is very difficult for me in the beginning. Take something not perfect in front of audiences, and ask for their feedback than adjust or rebuild the product base on the feedback. The loop can repeat over and over again.
Teammates are one coin with two sides. The diverse background can bring in different ideas but go wild sometimes when you disagree with each other. I remember when I read “The Creativity Inc.” (Catmull, 2014), there is one chapter mentioned about teammate. When he realized that George didn’t share their dream. Because he is always more interested in something else. And for a while, they had managed to move on towards the same goal but it became disparate in the end. I am always a dreamer since I was young. So when I am a little girl, I made up stories and write them down. It help me later when I play music. I believe one are more seasonable to his surrounding will have more feelings and empathy with others.
During the term time, we had class about funding, angel investors and venture capitalists. Although I experienced crowd funding before, I am not familiar with the other terms. It is interesting to understand that people invest people and willing to trust them.
Few weeks after we started class, we were told to find people to team up for 4-5 people group. At that time, we didn’t have enough knowledge to recognize people but we have to do this. Unfortunately, it is very important for us to do so I did it anyways. We had to brainstorming about how we want to formulate business and how to deliver our products.
During that time, we had many class about how to use different canvas, such as value proposition canvas (Osterwalder, 2014)and business model canvas (Osterwalder &Pigneur, 2011).
The purpose of building this designed business model is to create a good human-centered business. To be honest, I really don’t understand what I was doing in the beginning of this course. I always felt lost and tried very hard to figure out what I am researching in terms of customers and products. In order to keep in mind that our business focus on human centered basis, we kept track back from time to time so we can stay focus.
The very point of this lean startup method is to prototyping our product. Even none of us has product design experience or knowledge about it, we start to think about which can be our best option. The most precious experience I learn from this method is the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), it allow me to think small in the first phase than move on to the big picture for future. The minimum loveable product is to show the demonstration of product and ensure team member to understand how it works.
What is MVP? The Minimum Viable Product? Eric Ries(2011) used the term he described it as:
A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
After building up business model canvas, we start to think about our customer persona. In other words, who is our target customer and why they are. At that time, we still struggle with our first proper prototype. So it is very difficult that we image the target customers and locate real market. I guess it is the biggest mistake I made during the whole period. Since I am the one who responsible for designing the product. But I am not sure when to make decision and how to reach the common sense in the team.
But I am good at storytelling so I believe it not difficult to create the whole story behind. The only thing is it all in my mind so I don’t know how to say it to my teammates.
Another important thing is to learn how to pitch our idea to the investor and judge. So as you can image, the good structure of pitching is the gateway to heaven(the good impression)!
The first trade fair is a special experience for me. At that time, I don’t have a product with me. Only the blank white bag which I ordered the material online than stitch it with machine. We use this trade fair to test out our product and mainly get feedback from customers. It is a successful one since every customer we spoke with is impressed with the material. This is the point that all of our team convinces the material.
Although we have been taught to be creative thinking and be innovative thinking, there still need to put in practice in reality. As all of us are keen to be succeeding, none of us want to step back for our ideas. So it is been hard to reach the common sense. The product development stage is most essential but it actually take a long time to make it.
Although I tried very hard to avoid conflict, there is much disagreement in the team. Since everyone comes from different background and culture difference can lead to miss communication. When things need to be done in a more efficacy way but in reality we all tried to avoid things out of control. Everything I learnt along all the way, I took it as a precious and valuable asset I got. I believe I won’t have the same experience again.
Do I believe we can change the world? I still believe it. As two of my favorite book: The little Price(Saint-exupery, 1945) and The Alchemist (Coelho, 1992).
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that once can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.
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OSTERWALDER, A., PIGNEUR, Y.( 2014) Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want, Hoboken : John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
RIES, E.(2011). The lean startup : how constant innovation creates radically successful businesses. London: London : Portfolio Penguin.
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