A Reflective article

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Overview

After learning from the module :“Design Thinking”, there were some fascinated activities and lectures, which took place in the Kingston University’s business school. It is my honor to engage into this module. In addition, it is an ideal options for me to apply for studying it if I have a desire to establish my own business enterprise in the creative industry field. With utilizing teamwork and progressive learning of experiment, I acknowledged some of the basic approach from this module. Hence, the following article will narrate those fundamental events, which occurred in this model, and reflect the past critically about how much I learn from this course in terms of the theory, and most importantly, giving applicable future goals in practice which could combine the module’s concept after graduating from the university.

Design Thinking in Entrepreneurship and application
In the beginning of the three sessions, the course we have participated is the initial backbone of startup business. The tutor Eewei Chen introduced me and to organize and plan the lean startup session, which is the fundamental method for a company to launch a new service. And it consists of learning to be validating, experimental process, and iterative service releases to decrease the period of developing products, proceeding measurement, and obtain value from customer’s suggestion. At this root of the development of creating products, we continually modified our service in order to simulate the customer’s demand. By the time we were inventing an app program for smart phones, which has function for watching flicks via smart phones. However, I soon realized it was profound to launch a new product; you had to establish a persona (Cohen, 2011). Therefore, we developed our persona, his name is Jeff, a businessman who does not spend time on exploring the movie information from the online movie review website and forum. After building his background and the characteristics, we started to create assumptions to him. It was a surprisingly and amazing experience for me due to the fact I have no idea of setting up a service. In the end of the first session, I realized the process of launching a product does not simply create a product and sell it to the customers; instead, the company should aware of the features of the customers. Moreover, the activities for guiding us to inquire people inside of the campus to ask for the user-experience could be another significant case of leading us to go through the actual market research procedure. During this period of learning, I have realized that the essential approach to reach successful outcome is seeking for creative thinking, it is not just being concern about the basic need of the customers. More importantly, the consumers would like to explore a brand new experience that they never have in their life times. And this is the reason we created the most entertaining apps called” M-planner” (Organizing your movie lists in chronological orders) and “Movie Bingo”(An appealing game which associates with the knowledge of movie).

 

The fundamental point-Business Plan

I have learned from the lectures of how we created our business plan using multiple approaches, for example, setting up insight or developing suitable service and projections. It could be seen from Hockenson (2013), she implied about the 3 fundamental ways to reach an effective business plan. Despite it was a roughly process of forming a company, we have learned how to develop about our products, and decided about our future vision, and moreover, analyst the internal and external environment. At that period, we established our own brand, called Easthetic, which symbolizes eastern cultures and have sense of aesthetic within all of our members, and using different approach to produce the idea for our whole background of business. I also learned from the website IDEO (Brown, 2013), it has revealed that as an outstanding design thinkers, they may focus on exploring an opportunity for creating an idea from a common daily life. Therefore, we had an idea of seeing a problem through discussions with our members, and eventually we admit ourselves to have future visions that consist of simple idea and eco-friendly, and inspire people in certain ways.

New Commodity advancement and Prototyping

After learning from the roughly but intensively practice of startup business process, we were delighted to develop our own product. Hence, we were trying to generate the different ideas from brainstorming. As Tim Brown (2009) stated the creative process in design thinking as a valuable commodity, which could not only satisfy consumer’s demand but also finding out how does the product influence the customers. In the beginning of product development, our product designer Gott came up of an idea by carrying flowers, it was a problem for him as well. He pointed out that whenever he and her girlfriend went to the Columbia supermarket to buy flowers, they felt awkward of holding too much bunch of flowers. As a result, this will be a obstacle when people finish shopping flowers and go to somewhere else. That is why we invented a flower carrier, Pozzy, which protects the flower itself instead of the one thin plastic transparent paper. And most importantly, it offers a hands-free experience when people carry Pozzy, just like carrying a tote bag.

Cumulating social resources via social media

The social media power has ruled the world for ages. However, the lesson of what I have learned from this social media sector was not only superficial knowledge, instead, it has taught me the importance of expanding your social capital by utilizing different variations. I also acknowledged from Carter (2013), who specified in social media about the strength of social media, that is, to create a personality for our website, and generate more customers without geographic restrictions. At that moment we already launched our product called Pozzy, which was a flower carrier for people to carry with hands-free. To be candid, we were just established the account of our website and Facebook, and Twitter account in a basic approach, however, the interactions between customers and our group were developed to a certain level; Generally, the different social media sites offer different functions and benefits. For instance, we found out the Twitter account catch retailer’s eyes where they may have an eagerness to sell Pozzy. It has effective consequence to have access to stickiest, and the business experts in terms of the flower industry. About Facebook, it has been a sufficient implement to gain exposure. In the end of May 2013, we had made 5% sales within our products and obtained 500 followers in Facebook.

The social media gained much exposure to our products; nevertheless, there was another alternative together with social media. It is the power of crowdsourcing In terms of funding method, the crowdsourcing strategy I found it very fascinated from Nesta’s outstanding analysis (Baeck & Collins, 2013). Although we did not have enough time for joining into the competition of crowdsourcing websites(e.g., Kickstarter, Indiegogo), I still have made certain plans and promote statements for backup plans. Without knowing a way of using crowdsourcing, I would never know there was an alternative approach to do the fundraising. It could bring an unexpected effect for a startup business, especially if I would like to set up my own company in the future.

Branding concept

When pitching or approaching to the customers, there are some vital strategies I learned from branding theory, and those perceptions lead me to build up a suitable image from our company Easthetic. Based on the analysis from Design Council (2013), they suggested several branding strategies to improve the reputation of a company, such as defining brand with appropriate identity, adding value, personality, storytelling, and naming, ……etc. Thus, our brand Easthetic did discovered ourselves as modern, simple, inspiring lifestyles. Because of all the members are Asians and with certain talent of making creative stuff, the Easthetic Design became our brand name. And moreover, we identified our logo as a simple black and white shape in concern with our product Pozzy, which made with a simple strap and an illustration on the carrier. And the goal of our logo shape is to combine with the image of traveling, that is why our logo as created as a round shape and look like a stamp. As for the definition of insight, we developed our future vision as “ simple ideas, which could inspire people.”

Marketing

As a marketing freshman, I was searching for the related sources from books and website. I found the book marketing in a Nutshell: a key concept for non-specialists (Meldrum, 2007) was really come in handy, especially using SWOT analysis to exanimate internal problems and external competitors. In our Easthetic design, we have used official website and social media to attract on-line users. As for the offline users, we have attended several fairs to obtain exposure. In addition, there is a practical marketing strategy I have learned from my classmates, it is called guerrilla-marketing methods. Therefore, we created a Instagram account, and threw a campaign of taking flower pictures, and also emphasis the eco-friendly image from our company in our Facebook page, these essential knowledge enable me to know more professional ways of promoting our products.

Financial management and costing

In terms of the pricing strategies and the issues about finance, I used to struggle with the numbers, and until Mars (2013) revealed the four basic elements of financial statement, I began to do some researches of balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow. In spite of Richard Branson (NPR, 2012), who is a leader of Virgin, used to say that he had no clue of sense between gross profit and net profit, I still learned the basic knowledge from the lecture notes and research references. As for pricing strategy, I learned for the lectures about how to control our budget and capital utilizing cost strategy, and manipulated a suitable margin of pricing. For instance, we have two different Pozzy bags; the cost of Premium pozzy one is higher than Hessian Pozzy bags, so we set up the margin of the Premium pozzy is 19%, and the Hessian one is 33%, and the profit we earn from the Hessian is apparently higher than Premium ones.

Future goals

After graduating from the university, I always eager to work in a music industry. Generally speaking, it could be considered as a product to sell music in this field. Therefore, an systematically method to justify the practical issues would be required to implement, even I do not start up a musical label or relative business, those theory and practices would help me to identify the key points, and success in this industry. In design thinking logic, my goal would look at the product/service’s (or a gig event) strength and weakness in terms of human-centered behavior, and use market research more often to understand the customer’s feeling. As business plan, it is essential for me to discover a future vision that could change customer’s behavior and accommodate them to begin a new user-experiences. In addition, Problem-solving and observation from prototyping (Fastcodesign,2013)played a significant role in terms of developing products. I would focus on seeking the problem of the product/service, and maintain the decent quality of my product. About the social media strategic, not only can I set up several social media website but also I can find some other alternatives (fundraising) to gain publicity. In terms of branding, I would consider about using sort of branding strategies (e.g., storytelling) to highlight the personality of our products in the future. In addition, it is also important to be my goal, which is analyzing internal factors and the external environments. As for pricing, I would focus on finding a lower cost in order to obtain profitable margin price of the product in the future.

 

References

Baeck, P & Collins, L. (2013). Working the croWd A short guide to croWdfunding And hoW it can Work for you. Available: http://www.nesta.org.uk/library/documents/Working_the_crowd.pdf. Last accessed 20th May 2013.

Brown,T. (2013). Class of 2013: Start Designing Your Life. Available: http://designthinking.ideo.com/. Last accessed 20th May 2013.

Brown,T (2009). Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation . London: HarperCollins. 21-22.

Carter,T. (2013). 6 Benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses.Available: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/02/benefits-of-social-media-small-businesses.html. Last accessed 23th May 2013.

Cohen,H. (2011). How to Create Marketing Personas. Available: http://heidicohen.com/marketing-persona/. Last accessed 22th May 2013.

Design Council (2013). The power of branding: a practical guide.Available: http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources-and-events/business-and-public-sector/guides/the-power-of-branding/. Last accessed 22th May 2013.

Fastcodesign. (2013). Google’s Project Glass: Inside The Problem Solving And Prototyping. Available: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669937/googles-project-glass-inside-the-problem-solving-and-prototyping. Last accessed 20th May 2013.

Hockenson, L. (2013). 3 Elements of Every Successful Business Plan.Available: http://mashable.com/2013/04/15/business-plan-elements/. Last accessed 22th May 2013.

MArs. (2013). Financial statements: The four components. Available: http://www.marsdd.com/articles/financial-statements-the-four-components/. Last accessed 20th May 2013.

Meldrum, M. & McDonald, M. (2007) Marketing in a Nutshell: key concepts for non-specialists. Elsevier Ltd, London.

NPR . (2012). Virgin’s Richard Branson Bares His Business ‘Secrets’.Available: http://www.npr.org/2012/10/10/162587389/virgins-richard-branson-bares-his-business-secrets. Last accessed 20th May 2013.

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