In the beginning, blogging was a quite challenging task for me because writing what is on my mind in English was uncomfortable. But now I am thinking it was undoubtedly useful to record my knowledge from lessons. Looking back upon my term, it is amazing what I have accomplished and learned in designing a business module. Generally, I could gain a live business experience and develop management skills, such as finance, copyright and marketing, by collaborating with outstanding classmates. I have learned entire business process and expertise with involving myself in running a small venture in a group. I have never expected this project that I produce something creative objects and sell them in practice. The biggest lesson through the course is gaining a spirit of adventure that I take courage to start my own business enterprise with unlimited enthusiasm. I had always considered to do it in the past, but thought that it is too dangerous and complicated. At present, I have changed my mind and taken a positive view of business after completing the course. The following is an outline of my study what I want to reflect on.
I would like to talk about significance of communication skills and collaboration in group works. All assignments, such as Know your lemons and Dragon’s den projects, which were given to me are group performance. I personally used to prefer to work independently rather than on a team since I can manage time more flexibly and make my own decisions. However I was faced the situation that I should work in a team. As a result, I have learned lots of social abilities and academic skills through working together with others.
Firstly, it was a perfect way to enhance my creativity in heterogeneous and multicultural groups. The team has been formed with various people who have all different backgrounds, experiences and nationalities. After finishing these projects, now I understand why tutor wanted us to work with mixed personalities, as all we have different types of approaches and views when we confront an issue. So it has given rise to various ideas that I cannot think of a better one alone. There is a saying ‘Two heads are better than one.’ “Individuals with different experiences, cultures and backgrounds increase the creativity of both individual team members and the group altogether.” Each group member is usually able to produce far more constructive solutions when they apply different knowledge than acting single individual alone on the same problem. We helped each other by exchanging ideas and sharing skills. Finally, it generates a synergy effect that we could come up with a brilliant idea “TOUCH gloves” for our business. Secondly, through the group working, I have become aware how to deal with different individuals effectively, even though I could not really well at this time. I relatively took on many roles in group project than others because our product is relate to design works. It was quite hard to distribute each other’s responsibility and force them to do it. Ideally, I wanted that every teammate participate in group project evenly to the joint effort by dividing individual duty according to their abilities and strength. But it did not turn out as I wished because limited time and busy schedule preclude few members from co-operating. We should have communicated more rather than keeping silent to resolve this problem. “Conflict in a group doesn’t have to mean that the group cannot function. In fact, if the conflict is controlled properly, it is actually allowed to support the group to function well. People can grow and improve from dispute, especially if it can be resolved in a way that makes the group a winner, not in a way that makes one individual the loser.” (Hadad & Reed, p.268) The most essential thing is that the group, regardless of their makeup, is taught the way to communicate effectively from one another. Lastly, collaboration leads to comprehend more about myself. I could fully grasp what is my pros and cons. For instance, I am good at putting ideas into action. When we discovered the final idea, I made plans concretely for the project progress and executed it step by step with passion. In addition, I especially enjoyed designing a product, logo, package, business card, display etc. I really loved to do these work and create things graphically. It must be the happiest time in my course to create images and concept for branding design. On the other hand, I am not good at speaker in the presentation. There were many situations that we needed to deliver a summary of our product and service for a limited time. Thanks to the group partners, we could finish the elevator pitch quite well in Dragon’s den and trade fairs. I am really pleased to be part of the ‘TOUCH’ team.
I believe that sharing knowledge, appropriate feedbacks, understanding and communicating should be accompanied by one another for the successful group collaboration. Consequently, working as a part of a group was an invaluable experience. It makes possible to increase much more productivity through motivation each members.
An idea starts from the finding and solving the problem. Each group was given a task of creating something amazing and unique objects which do not exist yet and merchandising on a budget of £1,000. We did brainstorming and researching all together to come up with creative thoughts but we had a difficulty in figuring out something golden ideas. It should e feasible and novel. Finally we found out good idea that everyone agreed, TOUCH gloves, using this creative problem-solving activity. We followed the above picture process: Identifying a problem, looking for possible solutions and effective implementation. On the contrary to this, according to Van and Scheepbouwer (2011), they suggested “thinking backwards” that the procedure begins with aspirations and goals rather than difficult situations and problems. From the starting point, they concentrate on prospective solutions and ambitions instead of diagnosis. Analyses are sought for experimentinig solutions, not for expanding problems. “Fundamentally, solutions are not about direction or decisions but about creating movement. Decisions are nothing, intervention is everything: decisions do not move people, only interventions do.” (Van and Scheepbouwer, 2011) In our team situation, we referenced general problem-solving technique. For instance, we struggled to resolve an inconvenient condition in our real life by creating new development or alternatives rather than focusing objectives. At first, we began to talk about disadvantage of living to identify troubles. We found something common inconvenience that all members have felt in UK. We were all international students and it was our first experience to use oyster card on public transport in London since we moved to here. Whenever I take a bus, tube or train, I should find Oyster card in advance. It was too cumbersome for me. I usually used mobile phone equipped with transportation card when I commute in Korea. Also, it is allowed to pay cash on the bus when I forget to bring cell phone or card in Seoul. Different transportation system bothered me and our group members. So we focused to invent substitutes, improvement or something easy way to touch cards on the machine. It was winter at that time and one of our members was wearing gloves. Hence we suddenly came up with TOUCH glove which has a pocket to hold cards. Besides, we added more function of cutting the edge of gloves only for thumb and index finger sides to touch devices comfortably. Based on this basic idea, we developed the prototype considering both function and design. As a result, we produced gloves and achieved successful results with resolving problem.
The power of Storytelling in branding
Stories are one of the best ways to communicate with target audience in business. Verdonck stated that “Words tell but Stories sell”. “Whether you are a start-up or you have a large corporation, the only method to create a long lasting competitive beneift and stand out in the crowd is to have the Brand identity that fits you and compels to your customer.” The story should be unique, special and needs to be told progressively. Power of storytelling is significantly great especially in brand marketing for the successful business. Mckee suggested that storytelling is the most influential way to put ideas into the world today. When we started our TOUCH gloves project, we also constructed a brand story to appeal our target audience who is London commuters. A potential future consumer’s relationship with the brand may start before they actually purchase a product. It helps to connect people emotionally as well as ensure brand identity stronger. Our story is simple, but has a core message with representing product major feature. In addition, we unify into all elements of our brand concepts from the colour and typeface of business card and packaging, to the product itself. The reason is that product is also one of the parts of our story. Later, we visualised it by making advertising based on this storytelling. I trust people think in stories because it generates empathy. Story listeners who are potential Consumers easily remember the product by engaging in activities in the brand story.
The future: “A philosophy of life: I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure.” — Paulo Coelho
During the designing a business course, I have decided to operate a small retailer as a fashion buyer in the distant future in Korea because there is much potential. I had a great fear of starting my own venture as I am a risk-averse person. After finishing this study, I gained an opportunity to allow myself to move outside my comfort zone and challenge the new way of life. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I mastered a broad range of design skills in fashion. I acquired a deep-seated knowledge of making clothes, fabric technology, design sensibilities etc. In the course of creative economy, I could gain numerous empirical working skills from leadership and collaboration to selling products and making advertising for promotion. I got the creative vision of making a positive difference. Furthermore, creating high value for the consumers to impact the world is a crucial point in branding, so it is important to empower and inspire co-workers to create values. These abilities would be useful when I deal with customers as well as colleagues. I believe I can fulfil my long-cherished dream with the power of optimism based on the lesson in this module.
Thank you Corrine and all my classmates!
- Beaumont , C. (2015) Designing a Business (Design Thinking + Lean Startups), Available at: https://macekingston.wordpress.com/
- Glaveanu, V. (2010) Creativity in Heterogeneous Groups:The Shared Representational Resources Model, Revista de Psihologie Organizationala, X (1-4), 25-38
- Hadad, m. & Reed, M.J. (2007) The Post-Secondary Learning Experience
- Van, H. R. & Scheepbouwer, M. (2011) Thinking Backwards The art of good problem solving in business, Singapore Marshall Cavendish International Asia Ptd Ltd