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My First Blog Post

A Hackathon with Surrey County Council

“We should all dream, share our dreams, then go out and make them happen”

— Richard Branson

Beginning with the course we were set a task before any of the modules even started, which at first made me feel quite nervous. The induction week turned out to be very interesting not only did we receive information about our modules but we were given fun activities; one in which me and my classmate won a box of galaxy chocolate hmm yum!

We did a Hackathon with Surrey County Council, the session was for two days and the task was to work in groups, something I have always enjoyed is team work. I believe when working in a team it is important to have good communication skills as well as empathy and involving all the team members to achieve the same goals. Working in a group not only helped me to build up my confidence, but also decreased my fear of starting a postgraduate course.

 The first step of the task set was to work in groups and firstly create a persona which was quite fun as each group created different personas. In my team we worked well as we had many thoughts and ideas that were shared.

The second stage of the task was to identify the problems that may be faced in the community by the persona we had created. These problems could be anything from depression, loneliness or even being unemployed. When we had the problems listed, we were then asked to give solutions and again this could be volunteering for example.

The third stage of this project was to create either a product or service, we created a service which we had then presented to the Surrey County Council and they had given suggestions for us to improve our idea as well. This stage was really important as we had to make sure we listened carefully and noted their suggestions.

The final stage was to create a poster which we had used to pitch our presentation on the final day. At first, I felt quite nervous before pitching our presentation, but as we started speaking to the members of Surrey County Council, it turned out to be quite fun and a great experience. We had to repeat our pitch as we presented to different people, by repeating our pitch I feel we became more and more confident. We were able to answer the questions in a fluent manner. I mean practice helps a lot and makes it easy to pitch/ present, I guess. Planning our pitch really helped us because we took turns to speak and everyone knew when to speak.

Overall the experience was great not only had I made new friends from different backgrounds but also a good learning experience to begin the course with.

Looking back to one of my favourite quotes as shown above by Richard Branson. Sharing our dreams or even ideas is something we should always do, whether is making a difference to the community or fulfilling your dream.

Bright Ideas Grand Final

I was really happy to find out that our product made it to the Bright Ideas grand final and top of that we had won £250 for runner up in the competition. This shows that the hard work we put in really brought us to this place. Everyone in our class has worked really hard and we have all made massive improvements which really shows. The next step is the trade fair at Kingston market which will lead up to potential customers. This is a great opportunity for us all to be able to showcase our product to the public. I am really nervous but excited and cannot wait to receive the feedback from the public.

Reaching to the grand final has really encouraged us as a team to work even harder with our product. Practicing pitch in empty classrooms until we presented our pitch in front of the judges, as practice makes perfect. This has helped me to become more confident with pitching even though I still need some more work with it. As a team we kept helping one another with our speech and instead of trying to memorising our speech, we made sure we know what we speak about it a confident manner and ensuring we know our product well. By observing each other’s body language and tone in order to make sure we presenting properly and look good too!

In the grand final of the Bright Ideas competition the wait was long as we were literally the last team to present out idea/ product to the judges. The feedback we were given from the judges seemed like some of them were impressed with the product. During the grand final ceremony, we sat in the room feeling quite excited to find out the winners of each of the categories. When our product was called for winning, we were so happy. It was really a great experience for all of us and enjoyed our day.

Our next step is the trade fair at Kingston market and we are working really hard to prepare for it. We are trying our best to create a better prototype and finalise the design of our product with packaging. For the trade fair day at Kingston market we need to make sure that we present our product in a good way and not how we had done before in the university trade fair. Also, we need to make sure we grab a lot of attention and one of the ways in which this can be done is by involving the public to try and play our card game.

Great experience to be added to my CV, working in a team with starting up a business and reaching to the grand final and winning £250 runner up. Also, being a part of a business idea/ product making would make my CV stand out as well. All the skills I have used and gained while working with my team on this product will be useful in future too.

First Trade Fair!

Before the Trade Fair I felt so nervous but excited at the same time. I was not sure what to expect from the trade fair as I have never taken part in any types of trade fair. However, the experience was great and really enjoyed it all. Me and my team made sure we were prepared for our first ever trade fair. For the trade fair we made sure we developed our prototype into a better and improved version. We received many positive comments and feedback from people visiting the trade fair and also the judges. There were three awards in which we had won best product for.

The trade fair was a great opportunity for us as we needed to gain feedback for our product and also know what we needed to improve on for our product. The purpose of the trade fair was to showcase our product and sell to the public and this was the first time to experience in talking to potential customers. This was very important for us as we needed to test our product with our potential customers and the public. However, rather than selling our product our aim was to show our product and test it on the public and gain feedback from them.

Our product is a card game that enhances your creative abilities both individually and collectively among a team in any environment such as; classrooms, workplaces and at home. The game encourages and to help its users to come up with ideas through simple activities. The game also helps to improve ideation, team work, time management and presentation as well as pitching skills.

Trade Stand Presentation

For our trade stand we had prepared for the trade fair it did not show what our trade stand was selling or what our product was even. On our trade stand we had small canvases with easels and used scrabble letters to write our product name. This had changed the whole atmosphere of our trade stand, as it did not show our brand or what the product was. Few people were little confused at first when they came towards our trade stand because it looked like art to them or a game of scrabble due to our product name was written with scrabble letters.

One of the main feedback we received from the judges was that when we were asked who our target customer was, we had many answers and this had confused our judge. We were told we needed to focus on one customer target and not different customer segments. It is important for any type of business to know target customer in order to meet their expectations and needs.

We had won best product and this had really made me even more motivated with our business idea. We still need to improve on some areas but knowing that we won best product made us really proud and to know that our product has a great potential is motivating.

Dragon Den Pitch

Preparing ourselves for the dragon den pitch was fun but quite tiring at the same time. The reason to why I found it quite tiring was because we practised a lot which was good but it did make me more nervous and frustrated as well. There was a moment I felt like I needed to step out and be alone and after few minutes I came back and felt so much better as my team was very supportive and understanding.  However, the fun part was getting along as a group helping each other out. We even created a prototype for our product.

When it came to creating the prototype, we had so much fun, as we came up with the design, colours, features and content to make it as unique as possible as well as fun to use and play with. Before finalising our final idea, we had many ideas for example student notebook that is not only personalised but student friendly to use with all the information they would need for their course and University information included. However, when we thought about it properly and with the feedback given from our lecturer and classmates. Then we knew it was not the best or a unique idea to work on as it could get complicated. The idea for our product was to create a unique educational purpose card game for our potential customers to use.

Near to the dragon den pitch day we practiced so much and it helped us so much and I believe it also gave me confidence in speaking and knowing what I wanted to say.

The day of the dragon den pitch the judges did make us feel comfortable, but it was still quite a stressful atmosphere. Seeing everyone present and hearing the questions and feedback they received was a great opportunity to know what we should do and not do as well. One of the main feedback most of teams received was that do not focus just on the problem but also give the solution for the problem and so on. However, everyone overall received good comments about their product/ service which was great!

When we had presented, we used our time quite wisely I think and completed on time. There were both positive and negatives points maybe but overall, I believe our presentation was good. The judges gave us few questions but more comments about our product and one of them even mention how our idea in the longer run could become a B2B which was great to hear!

It was great to hear feedback from the judges as well as before in our practise run from our fellow classmates as it encouraged us to do well and also think about the questions that may be asked too.

Now next time is to make our prototype even better to turn it into a real product to test on people and see their reaction. It is important to create something that we can use to find out if it will work in the business world and whether or not people will like it.

The Lean Canvas & Business Model!

Before starting the design thinking start-up module, I was not aware of the lean canvas at all. I knew start-ups use business plans and business models before start-up their business idea.

Lean canvas was created by Ash Maurya; it is a one-page business plan template. It was created to help getting ideas across with the key assumptions. The lean canvas was adapted from the business model canvas created by Alex Osterwalder. The learn canvas is less time consuming, where as creating a business plan is very time consuming.

https://leanstack.com/leancanvas

The lean canvas helped me and my team as well as the other teams to I believe. Our team were able to use the top three ideas we had to work on for the lean canvas in class and after class in our meetings. I would be carrying the lean canvas in for most of our meetings at beginning until we felt we knew what we had to do next. The lean canvas was simple but also a lot work needed to be done by us in order to get it right. We struggled the first time however, our lecturer helped us a lot which made it easy for us and straightforward for completing for our ideas we had.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Model_Canvas

The business model canvas was created by Alex Osterwalder as mentioned before in this blog. The business model is to develop thinking with the nine different areas that combined into one. These are as follows customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, resources, activities, partnerships and costs. All these areas a very important, this is because it helps people to make sure they know where their idea stands as each area is needed. The business model canvas helps to understand what is needed for a business to work and to be able to launch it all components are essential.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedgreenwald/2012/01/31/business-model-canvas-a-simple-tool-for-designing-innovative-business-models/#3b79151816a7

The difference between both the canvas is that firstly visually you can see that label of each components is different from both the lean canvas and business model canvas. When we used the lean canvas at first, we were little confused but as we discussed more about it then we got to learn and did a good job with identifying where our ideas each belong. For example, which idea belongs to which segment and their unique competitive advantages and so on.

I believe that both business model canvas and lean canvas has its own advantages. The business model canvas is great because it helps to give a unique way of creating a business where the potential customers will like and enjoy the product or service. The lean canvas focuses on the problem more the idea which is great, as your then able to understand the idea more.

First Idea Flop/Failed!!

As they say never give up and failure leads to success!

Me and my team struggled with coming up with a good and unique idea. However, we really needed to redesign an idea that was already a product or service. As a group we sat in the University library researching and researching!

Good and unique ideas always take time!

When we had few ideas, we liked as a team then we did a little interview session with students in the library. The one to one with students went really well they had given great feedback and advice, as well as liking some of our ideas which was great!

However, when we picked our first idea to present in class as a roleplay in terms of problem and solution. We found it easy to roleplay it out and we practice a lot too for it.

The day of the roleplay presentation we felt quite confident with our roleplay but I myself felt quite confused and I was not sure if our idea would be approved few other team members felt the same, I think as that’s what it seemed liked. In a team its important to hear all members of the team and agree to a final decision and be confident with it.

So, the idea we decided to present was very different and very redesigned, we did not even do survey or interviews with people to ask about their opinion. We did not spend much time or research into the idea to see what is already available in the market.

After we presented our idea in front of our lecturer and classmates, we received many questions from our classmates and comments as well. However, our lecturer killed our baby aha!

Which we agreed to and did not regret!

Our idea was to help the visually impaired people fit in with everyone around them, and not let them feel left out. It was a quite a tough idea when we receive the feedback. Our aim was to change the way people see blind people and also to remove the white stick they use to a cap.

The cap was to help navigate visually impaired with voice over and alerts to keep them aware from hazards and objects approaching them. When receiving the first comments our lecturer it made us realise that we are taking away their identity from the stick to a cap. This can cause many issues and difficulties for them as they have always been identified with a white stick and black glasses too.

However, we did not fail but we learnt from this lesson to take another step to arrange more meeting with team and get our head down a good idea that would succeed. We had meeting and calls and group texts through WhatsApp to keep the team together and on pace. This was to ensure we do not leave members thoughts and opinions behind but to encourage our team members and have the same goal which is to succeed to a good idea as a team.

Unfortunately there is no images of the cap or any other images support this blog.

The Design Museum Trip!

I am not really fond of visiting Museums, I just really go whenever we had School trips, but this was the best Museum I have ever seen and it was really related to me I feel. I will explain why I felt it was related to me as I write my blog.

My first thought of The Design Museum as we entered was not very interested but as I saw the innovative ideas around me and the crowd of people, I felt like there was something I yet did not know about.

I learnt so much out and we did not want to leave at all especially me I really wanted to buy something but the things i liked were kind of expensive aha!

What I have learnt that nothing is impossible! Any idea is do able and you do not need a new idea to be successful you can redesign a product or service. Anyway, we had a small task to do when visiting the Museum. It was to pick the top three designs we liked as a group and create a presentation to talk about with our classmates. As well as giving reason to why and how might we questions.

We selected three designs that were healh related:

Elvie Breast Pump

The Elvie Breast pump is designed for mothers. It solves many issues one of the main one is breast feeding in public places. Other areas it solves is that there is no noise, its wireless and cordless. The mother would not need to change her clothes to fit the pump. It is different as it is smart technology to address difficulties of breast feeding in public places which has an yy to use to track and check. There are variety of specifications such as its silent, wearable, tracks pump history and milk volume.

Lia Pregnancy Test

The Lia Pregnancy Test is designed for pregnant women. It is environmentally friendly and holistic, flushable and discreet 0% plastic. The designed has not been changed in the past for 30 years. In previous pregnancy test they were 100% plastic and one million kilograms of nonarable waste in US landfill. This design makes pregnancy much more private and as it is flushable its not visible when thrown away. The cost is less than the other pregnancy tests too.  

Raptor Hand

The Raptor Hands is designed for people who are unable to afford high priced artificial limbs and for children who are physically impaired. The customable design makes its low cost and used by 3D printing.

Raptor Hand

When presenting in front of the group and watching other groups present there was something, I really liked was the Alter Ego which is something that would be great for my disabled brother who has cerebral palsy. The Alter Ego is a device which is put on the ear and touched to the chin and it’s kind of like google and Alexa but you just have to think it and not say the question.  

Overall the experience was great and would love to go to The Design Museum again!

The Toilet Journey!

It was one of the interesting and unusual Design Thinking class we had and very different type of experience which was new to me.

For this session in class we worked in teams of three, in which each member of the group had different roles one was a robot (that was me for my group). The robot was only told what to say or do, which meant he or she was not allowed to talk without being instructed. This was quite difficult for me. Anyway the other two members roles were one of them was a mute person and the other was a visually impaired person.

The task that was set for us was to take a journey to the toilet and back to the class safely. It seemed quite straightforward however, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds like. We had to find a way to communicate before we left the class to start the journey but we did not create any communication signals as we thought it will be quite simple and straightforward. On the other side the journey was alright I guess but communication was not as good we expected it to be during the journey going to the toilet, but coming back there was a communication created and it had made the journey a better experience for all of them members. The three members had different experiences to one another, this was because they had different roles to one another. As for being the robot I felt quite bored and useless as first.  Afterwards as I was being asked questions, I felt I had a good and maybe an important role in the group. Each of the members situation was quite different to each other, as the blind was not able to see and the mute and robot were able to see their surroundings. The mute was not able to speak but could hear and use their limbs for guiding the blind. Finally, the robot could see hear but could not act out anything without being told or asked to speak.

When we came back to class, we had to map out our experience using An empathy map is a collaborative tool teams can use to gain a deeper insight into their customers (SolutionsIQ, 2019) . It was created by Dave Gray.

I haved added a youtube link for you to watch on ‘how to Empathy Map’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HwpR3Njq00

On the empathy map, there is different categories such as smell, feel, think or say. Below is a diagram of our empathy map.

Each of the members had different experiences on how they felt, the person who was blind said she felt “scared” and she mentioned the sounds she heard for example “air” as they doors opened. As for me and the mute person we could see so we felt that the blind person in other groups, as well as in our group was not being helped always. Being the robot, I felt that it was difficult in a way to get past other groups.  One thing that the blind person mentioned that she had trust issues so in order to clear the issues she would ask questions on the way back for example “how long left to reach.”

I believe that communication is important in any and every situation. The reason for this without communication you’re not only able to helps you to understand how to listen and understand others (Business.qld.gov.au, 2019).

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