Considering the whole year in Kingston, I did gain a lot. Those all made me grow. I summarised them into two categories: in the class and outside the class.
Inside the Class
During the lesson, I had a very good time with my course tutor Corrine and other guest lecturers, as well as my lovely classmates. I could still remember the very first class: Toilet day. The ‘Shoe day’ also gave me very deep impression. All Those lectures given by Corrine were so helpful that through the interaction between tutor and students, as well as among classmates ourselves, I did have great class experience. This is different to the Chinese style of teaching. Before I came here, I got so use to the traditional way of Chinese school, which means the teacher talks and the students listen, that is it. Almost all the thinking during the class would be ignored during the lesson. Human beings are sort of lazy in nature. If you could not even have the chance to think and discuss of your ideas or opinions, why bother after class? Most people would just choose the let their questions go without any deeper consideration or proper answers. So interation in class is a very good thing that this course should keep.
Here are some thoughts I gained and learned from this course throughout the year. Firstly, I learnt that creativity needs observation, confidence and experiment, and so on. And to establish a product that satisfies the needs of the user, the process of observation, market research and user testing is very essential. When approaching to customers or audience, to share empathy is a effective method to promote the relationship among people, which is widely used in many areas.(Leung, 2008) Commercial market is where it can function as a critical tool to earn people on your side by sharing empathy through storytelling and personas. Followed by the future direction, looking for new business ideas and management methods is a constructive way to break through the industry bottlenecks. Introduction of new business projects to attract customers, the only way is to stand in the fierce market competition but not be eliminated out.
Moreover, About the guest lectures, they are amazing as well. They did not only spread out the knowledge we need, they broaden our horizon in some way. Like the lady talked about Coco Chanel’s enduring success, and the other one spoke about accounting and finance by using Carl’s Cafe as an example. All those are very helpful for our later business running. I can undoubtedly say that I like most of the guest lectures very much.
The most time-consumming but valuable experience during the year is running a small creative business with the other three girls in my class. We designed a product called ‘POPCUP’. Popcup is a reinvention of the cup sleeve. It helps hot beverage drinkers protect theirfinger tips and tongues all within a sleek fashion accessory. It is an adjustable reusable cup sleeve that protects the hands and can also be used as a cool accessory, to be worn on the wrist, belt loop or bag strap. Also it is eco-friendly. The most interesting essense of our product is that we use colour-changing paints. To promote our product, all of us tried very hard. We made loads of prototypes by trying different materials. We designed online market research. We interviewed people at many coffee shops around London area. We attended two trade fairs and made our showing stands for it. We had many meetings to perfect our product. All these things we did together would be remembered and cherished by me later in my life. Particularly, during we were running our small business, the most important thing I learned is the significance of teamwork. Later on I will talk a lot more about my reflections of teamwork.
Dragons’ Den is a British television series. The show allows several entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their varying business ideas to a panel of five wealthy investors, the “Dragons” of the show’s title, and pitch for financial investment offering a stake of the company in return. After first several weeks’ harding working on building up our own small business, we got a really good chance to experience the Dragons’ Den in class. We also had another one at the end of our course as well.
It gives great insight into the strategic thinking of these highly successful business people and what they look for when investing in a business or a person. And to do a good job in Dragons’ Den, I think there are many skills needed-creativity, teamwork, problem-solving, organisation, timekeeping, presentation, persuasion, discussion, evaluation, and so on.
Outside the Class
Moreover, I quite like the idea of twittering, blogging and other social media getting included in the whole learning experience. At the very beginning, it was a bit annoying, honestly speaking. We were busy so many assignments, course works, but we still needed to spare some precious time to write our experience, our thoughts about design or business, and so on. At that moment, when my time was occupied by loads of homework, I just hated the idea of blogging. However, time after time, I found myself fell in love with this idea of blogging.
Now I would rather call it a ‘habbit’. Because of it, I could clearly figure it out what I have been up to lately. I could take some time off those serious academic assignment which has to be done under very strict rules. Writting blog encourages me to read more and to participated more. Also reading and commenting others’ blog are fun and gainful. Before this course, I only used all those social media to entertain myself. However, now I knew much more about how to build up your business social network and to promote your products or services by using these medias.(Lash, Lury, 2007)
There is another big advantage of writting blog that you would periodically do reflective study of your life, not about what you have been eating but about what you have done and learned. Everyone needs to reflect of yourself, from my point of view.
I participated in school’s student events, like boat trip and BBQ. I went to some friends’ parties and business drinks as well. The most important and helpful people I knew are Amy Hsieh, student of Kingston University, MA of Communication Design. I am using her for my interviewee of my personal dissertation proposal. Ruif Chen, student of Cass Business School. I used him as an adviser for our product and business, and I am still using for my personal dissertation. Jordan Chung, exposure analyst at UBS Investment Bank. And I used him as a investment consultant for our business.
Throughout those social networking activities, I found myself become more courageous to get outside of my comfort zone to meet new faces. To approach strange people and get them into my network for later usage is quite a tricky but helpful way to future succeed. Moreover, there is not always an obvious usefulness of a person. However, he/she may know someone helpful. Don’t judge a person too soon at the very beginning. (Howkins, 2001)To be patient and spend a bit more time get to know him/her more and better sincerely from your heart is very important.
Designers Block – This exhibition was held in Farmiloe Building at 34 St. John Street, London. Last Friday afternoon, 23rd September 2011, I went there with my school fellows. That was at the beginning of the year. It was very impressive that it gave me a general idea – earning money from your creative thinking. How to put your creative thoughts into business, this is always the problem, or you can call it knot, for artists. However, as seen at the ‘Designers Block’ exhibition, this problem seems to be solved quite well.
Frieze Art Fair – October 13, london, the most impactive modern art exhibition ‘Frieze Art Fair 2011’ opened at the Regent’s Park. Frieze art fair is one of the few which flaunt on displaying only contemporary art and the artworks of alive artist, the galleries are also usually very active as well as famous today for contemporary art pieces. In the past four years, the number of participators of Frieze Art Fair surpassed 60000 people, including many curator, artists, collectors, galleries from all over the world, as well as the general public who are full of interest to the art world.
The Museum of Everything – Different from the other exhibition, The Museum of Everything is located in the basement of Selfridges in London.The Museum of Everything is only Britain’s museum dedicated to art by the untrained, unintentional and unknown artists of our planet. Since 2009 it has exhibited in London and across Europe and welcomed over 200,000 visitors. Another amazing thing I find about this exhibition is its website. The website itself is supposed to be called an exhibition. People can experience a lot as well as explore a lot in this little outsider art world.
Besides all above, I also went to V&A, the National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the Design Museum and many galleries. All the exhibitions I went gave me fresh air of design, of creativity, of being creative. I also watched several famous musicals, for instance Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Chicago and so on. I traveled to several cities. I believe that these activities I attended are silent transforming influences on my later creative business.
Here are my extra reflections of teamwork. This is the segment I gained and benefitted the most from the whole business running process.
It in any business ensures that the task at hand is executed with the help of a united effort. The significance of the united effort is that the business organisation that is concerned, functions like a single person, thereby enhancing the quality of the operations. There are, also, some other related factors, such as ensuring equality in profit-sharing and division of work. It also helps the members of the organisation to maintain avery good system, that designates appropriate authority and responsibility. A united effort, also, reflects good team building and team spirit. Teamwork ensures that there is an equal and fair distribution of work within the organisation. A fair work distribution ensures that every person or every working unit, executes any task at hand, with the best possible efficiency. The division of work, also, ensure that the work is done on time and deadlines are not extended.
Another very good advantage of teamwork in business is that a person is able to specialise in one specific field. That is, he can optimize the quality of the work that he does, and can also work with the maximum possible efficiency. This ensures a high quality output from all individuals and the whole team.One of the biggest advantages of teamwork is that personal interest is subordinate to organisational interest. This ensures that all the team members put in the maximum possible efforts into their work, thereby ensuring a high quality and timely output. (Raffo, O’Connor, Lovatt, Banks, 2000)
All in all, I profited really much from this year! Thank you, Corrine, Thank you, all ‘Popcuppers’! Thank you, all my classmates and tutors!
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Design Thinking & Entrepreneurship in Practice: http://macekingston.wordpress.com/