The Lean Start-up (a great book)

I am not one to enjoy reading books, but starting this new challenge, being this masters degree. I decided to try something new and start reading a book. What a great book to start with as recommended by our course tutor.

“Startup success can be engineered by following the process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught” – Eric Ries

This book provides insight into new approaches of creating and managing startups. It teaches the reader how to steer their start-up, when to turn and whether to persevere or pivot.It is an approach that is best applied to new product development.During my time reading this book there was a few lessons that i picked up, i learnt how to tackle uncertainty, how to work effectively, how to develop a viable product and a new way of learning.

THE LEAN STARTUP PROCESS

In today’s volatile market it is important entrepreneurs are aware of how to continuously innovate in order to be successful. Whilst still in the process of reading this book i have been able to apply certain principles to the idea that my team and I are currently in the process of completing. The Lean method offers a new way of growing alongside technological advancements. Working on our comic we now focus on things that work well instead of things that don’t.

It is important to emphasise the importance the entrepreneurship is a form of management, throughout reading this book I noted 5 key management skills:

  1. strategic orientation
  2. commitment to resources
  3. control of resources
  4. management structure
  5. commitment to opportunity

I have recommended using the Lean Start-Up framework to all my peers in the process of starting a business idea, to me it is the modern business model canvas.

Dragon’s Den

The most stressful week to say the least, for the very first time, my MSc had caused me some stress, as you can tell in the photo above. It was a week that enabled me to come out of my comfort zone as I had to present my idea to judges for the very first time. The session was extremely insightful and interesting and I was glad it was set in place as we were able to obtain great feedback on how we can progress with our pitch and idea.

If there was one thing I gathered from presenting the pitch is that my team and I still had a very long way to go in order to have a viable idea. I am not one that enjoys public speaking, so being able to practice this was extremely helpful.

As mentioned in a previous blog, our idea is a comic therefore with time as a constraint we were unable to present a prototype during the Dragons Den. Fast forwarding to today, we have not finalised our 2 different story lines and we are looking to begin the printing process.

In the weeks coming up to the Dragon’s Den we spent time conducting 20 interviews each which came up with the total of 60 interviews. We interviewed friends, family, student colleagues and strangers that felt comfortable in sharing their story with us. We conducted these interviews so that we can gain information into the type of assault individuals around us have experienced and how/if they were able to overcome. We focused on those aged 18-30 as that is our target audience.

Images from Dragon’s Den

It was firstly important that the judges understood why we aim to offer this idea to the market and why we are aiming to solve the issue. Our pitch could have gone better than it did but i blame that due to the lack of preparation and one of our team members were unable to make it due to an emergency..so what did we do? We did some procrastination that in my opinion failed horribly. But practice makes perfect right?

Unfortunately like all things in life, we faced barriers, in order to produce a comic it was important that we researched the process of making a comic and this looked like a process that required a large team. It felt like we needed 100 creative minds but like i said i like a challenge so we continued to persevere by contacting a comic creator and he aims to work along with us in providing what we need.

RECEIVING CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM FROM JUDGES:)

My journey to the toilet

“LETS EAT TODAY AND SECURE FOR THE FUTURE”

So, this design thinking class wasn’t any different from the rest of them.. extremely unusual. Although it was very new to me.

During this class we were told to work in groups of 3, in which each member in the group had a specific..important role. One of the roles being a robot, which I was, there were certain rules i had to abide by, the robot was only given instructions on what they can say or do. This meant I was only allowed to speak when instructed too. I found this exercise quite challenging as there was times I wanted to speak but I was unable too. Not to mention the other two members could’ve been more helpful than they were lol.

EMPATHY MAP CANVAS

Anyway, on to the task, we were set on a task to take a journey to the toilet. Seems easy and straightforward right? Well, not quite. It was vital we had planned our journey before leaving the classroom and how we were going to give each other signals/alerts on what directions should be made. Furthermore, the journey was a pretty successful but the silent communication could’ve been better. I feel as though after multiple attempts we would have created a sufficient communication plan.

Another interesting experience taken from this exercise was the fact that each member had a different experience from one another, due to the nature of each role. Being the robot i felt extremely helpless…which I didn’t mind..it just meant i didn’t have to do much lol.

After we completed the physical side to the exercise it was time to complete the empathy map. An empathy map is a tool team use to gain a deeper insight into their customers (SolutionsIQ, 2019). The empathy map has different categories such as; think, feel, hear, smell, say. Illustrating this map was quite interesting as each member had a different experience on how they felt. The person that was blind-folded said they felt “paranoid” and “annoyed” as they had no control. In my opinion this exercise was about trusting your team and seeing how well we can work collaboratively to reach the end destination.

I believe this was a clever way of learning the role of communication beyond asking the basic questions. Be able to observe things such as body language which is non verbal gave individuals involved a new insight into certain behaviours. Being able to gain insight into certain behaviours gives us a new way of understanding and answering the “why” and “how” questions.

Communication is an important tool in almost every environment and without communicating things will constantly be misunderstood.

A visit from Young Enterprise

“IF OPPORTUNITY DOESN’T KNOCK, BUILD A DOOR”!

On the 18th October, my Design Thinking Class were paid a visit by a gentleman from the Young Enterprise programme. It was the first time I had ever heard of such a platform that provides a service like this. Before we get ahead of ourselves let me give you some background on what the YE programme provides.

YE is a charity that has the aim to motivate young entrepreneurs in succeeding in a volatile market. YE ensures that their clients are provided with the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence they need. Wondering how? Ok, well let me break it down for you because I was just as amazed as you may be. YE have designed a specialised framework that devises the important steps in running a business, the steps are as follows; 1) Starting up process, 2) Creating the Board of Directors, 3) Generating the idea, 4) Business Planning, 5) Launching, 6) Running the Enterprise, 7) Winding Up, 8) Looking back and next steps. I believe if this step by step process is followed accordingly all team will be able to achieve to the best of their ability.

During this class in which the guest speaker was explaining the different features of the programme, we were told about future competitions that we will enter and the potential benefits we can obtain is extremely exciting such as cash prizes and recognition!

After the guest speaker came to discuss the programme, my team and I felt a mix of emotions, overwhelming, excited, nervous and optimistic but we knew we had to get straight to work and apply pressure to our idea. After a few days of research, clashing our heads together and intense thinking, we collectively came up with the idea of producing a comic that raises awareness about physical assault in the London context. I feel extremely excited about this new challenge, I am an individual that enjoys challenges and competitions, my biggest constraint in this period is time management. As we come into a new year and decade. my time is something that I aim to manage effectively as time is something we cannot get back. I aim to start my days a lot earlier, as well as ensuring that I time myself on each task i aim to complete in that day. Prioritising is also an important element when it comes to time management as we only have 24 hours in a day and there is only so much one can do in a day. With only a few more weeks till the Dragon’s Den, it is crucial that I am dedicating my time effectively and efficiently. Please stay tuned to see how my time management continues to improve and progress..or get worse;)

A visit to London Design Museum

LONDON UNDERGROUND TRAIN

In October, my team and I took a trip down to the Design Museum in Kensington. The museum covers product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural designs. Throughout our visit we were able to see how the principles of design have been applied to solving worldwide problems.

During our time at the museum we aimed our focus towards things that we have direct influence with such as; transportation, technology, appliances etc. One of those things we found amazing was the Deep Tube Upgrade Programme also known as New Tube for London that is currently in the production stage. This new edition train was implemented by the government as a kind gesture to its users to thank them for their long term commitment. This programme aims to introduce 250 new trains in 2024. One of the main issues my team faced as common users of the TFL is the lack of capacity. Visiting the museum gave us insight into the new designs, with an increase of up to 60% in capacity. Another design that caught my eye was the kitchen design, through interacting with the design I was able to gain an understanding as to why the kitchen as the basic layout.
Another thing I must mention is my conversation with one of the staff members in the museum. This conversation sparked by me questioning why I was unable to receive signal on my telephone as we were attempting to locate one of our team members location. He explained to me it could be due to the material of the abstract concrete ceiling is made out of and he went on to explain what the building was used for before it became used for the museum. He began to educate me on how the building was used to house the Commonwealth Institute, the building was developed by a design team led by John Pawson. 

I was also amazed at how innovation has continued to expand along with technological breakthrough and how these advancements has caused worldwide social issues to be solved.

My first experience at Kingston – Design Thinking Edition

I will be sharing a few thoughts as I embark on a new journey at Kingston University studying Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship.

My first encounter at the university is when I visited the Hill campus to complete my enrolment, my first thoughts entering Kingston University was that the environment was very tranquil in comparison to where i undertook my undergrad (Nottingham Trent).The campus in Nottingham is a lot busier with students patrolling left, right and centre. This is due to the fact the campus was in the middle of the city.

Starting my masters course was a very challenging start as I was absent for the first 2 weeks due to a family bereavement. On my return I felt thrown into the deep end as I unfortunately missed the Hackathon, therefore,it was left to me to gather the necessary information in order to catch up and make friends on my course so that I was able to get the help and guidance needed.

Having now settled into my masters course, I am enjoying the process and my time with my student colleagues. The experience is very different to what I am used to as I have never been in a class full of international students, I am enjoying the change of environment and getting to know everyone.

Design thinking for start-ups is a module I very much enjoy as it is hands on, i enjoy working with teams as this enables me to measure my strengths and weaknesses.Lets start with breaking down the module, lecture by lecture.

The first lecture I was involved in was the ‘Shoe Day Experience’..an unusual but yet interesting class. I can’t quite say that i have experienced a lecture quite like this before. This aim of this class was based upon reflection, it forced us to think critically about the theory of design thinking.. which at the time was completely new to me. We looked at extreme users and i gathered when conducting research for an idea having an extreme user is important as this type of user allows there to be meaningful insights, there is no peer pressure and there can be a sense of empathetic connection gathered between those involved.

In the images below we have what we call “The Vault” after walking around the campus and conducting some primary research we came up with what we thought would be a prototype which represents the point of view from our interviewees. With the resources we had we were able to produce a luxury shoe that represents the connotations of a vault (MONEY!!!).

Thanks for reading my first blog…subscribe below to get notified on future blogs. Have a great day!

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