Author Archives: Thomas Jones

Consultancy Week: How to Sell the Simplistic Solution to Succeed

Imagine this scenario…

You have collected 400 creative points over the course of the process. You now have the opportunity to spend these points on scarce resources and consultancy. But a TV starts off at 400 points, with immense demand. And you need sessions with three different consultants to help provide insight for your team’s idea. Do you spend very little money on a table stand and spend most of our money on consultancy? Maybe we don’t need to speak to every person as we have the best idea in the world, but we just need a way to stand out for the judges next week, to buy a large TV screen for our exhibition stand. Although, we probably do have to speak to Gareth about communication, Swain about our business model, Phil about the wellness tourism sector and Cameron about the technology involved in our idea. Should we buy out 40 minutes of Gareth’s time or should we saviour that money for a better stand?What should we do? We only have 1 minute left to decide!

This is how everyone was thinking and consolidating on Auction and Consultancy week. It is the battle of understanding what takes priority for your team, especially under scarce supply, limited funds and against 11 other competing teams.

It is all about understanding the value of the creative points, something that has been very little understood under this week. Every team is assigned homework after every week’s session. This is to not only help and guide the teams to prepare for the next upcoming week, but also give more time for the teams to really work together and build upon their work in the session, as sometimes 2 hours is not enough.  For completing this work, each member can be awarded 10 points; 40 points per team, per week. This helps incentives doing the work. Except, without receiving the rewards themselves and not knowing what the creative points can buy them, the currency’s incentive salience and value is diminished. And this is what the postgraduates have been discussing this week, to understand what is the best way to rework the currency system to reward teams for their efforts on a weekly basis without replacing their intrinsic motivation.

One possibility has been to have a current creative currency and a potential creative currency system, to illustrate what teams have earned and what they could have achieved. Additionally,  another point raised is that the value of these points could be established earlier in the process. For example, in Week 3, there could have been an early intervention or consultancy week to guide remove any uncertainty or to clarify ideas and thoughts the teams may have had, only provided by spending creative currency. As this is an competition, the team’s collective effort and actions should be rewarded and thus, would have more points than other teams for which they can buy more resources and expertise. However, this does not mean other every team is disadvantaged, as they also had the same opportunities to earn the same amount of points. Therefore, the more effort and intrinsic motivation the team has, the more collective points they earn and can spend.

This is always an exciting and high-pressured event in the Enterprise by Design process. However, it is also full of complexities and uncertainty. Hopefully now after having invaluable expertise and buying scarce resources, all the teams will direct all their efforts to the final part of the process; the final week where the winner of £2500 seed fund will be announced!

 

Week 6, the end is nigh whilst innovation is a high

Six weeks ago, the Enterprise by Design process began for 2018. Now, there is only one week left until the main presentations! Time flies when you are innovating.

Everyone has been wearing their creative caps for the most part of the process, but now it is time for direction and focus. This week is all about being decisive and to have a consensus as a team for one idea and really push down with it, shape and mould it and present it for next week. And what a selection of choices that Team Fortnite have!

Innovation as a concept relies on the possibility for constant developing progress and staying away from any ceiling effects. With this in mind, there can never be a perfect idea or product, but only ideas that have potential by being highly feasible to create, desirable within the market and viable regarding a healthy investment return. Without these attributes, there would be no innovation but only another idea. That is why it is critical for every team to highlight and clearly communicate these attributes in their final presentations in the next few weeks, and why it was notably important this week to have the opportunity to spend extra time conducting action research and discussing as a group on their own ideas. This session time is so useful to truly understand beyond the face value of the idea and to dwell into the nooks and crannies of how the idea or even prototype is going to thrive and survive amongst the mess of every other team.

It is also important to acknowledge that Enterprise by Design is a vulnerable process and is significantly useful to anyone with their future if it is done with maximal intent and effort. This process is the first real step into how many real-world problems are and should be solved; through the perspective and cooperation of multiple fields and experts. Within academia, there is a reductionist approach towards focusing on the technicalities of ones own field that we tend to forget there is more to a situation than one single angle. Having the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience within the teams, it allows the opportunity for everyone to be highly critical and have valuable insight of how successful their idea can be and what they need to do to achieve that success. This brings on to next week’s session, as each team over the process has collected their own account of creative currency, which will be used as spending money for an array of resources and expertise; to build upon and receive constructive feedback on their current ideas or to help communicate and sell these precious ideas in the final presentations.

Lastly, one really critical piece of advice would be that “a complex problem doesn’t always need a complex solution, and sometimes the simplest prevails amongst the clutter”

 

 

Week 5, Liquid Slate

For Enterprise by Design this week, the main focus has been on location, location and location, except with Andy Goodman hosting the episode. Specifically, this session was about identifying broad numbers of location-based technology that are currently used within society, i.e. Bluetooth, iBeacon, GPS, Near Field Communication and many more, and combine these technologies with previous week’s work, the four user personas, adventure asset map and wellness tourism, to create 24 different and introspective scenarios per team through 2 rounds. Fortunately, Liquid Slate managed to do over 36, respectively.

These scenarios created are essentially randomly assigned components that may have some degree of congruence between them all or not, but ultimately are acting as constraints to really focus down and create potential ideas for each niche scenario. This activity was all about quantity over quality, to think outside and beyond the mundanity of normative thinking and perspectives. After each team have come up with all of their scenarios, they were asked to narrow down and select four potential ideas and evaluate how feasible, viable and desirable these ideas could be – with the latter being worked out using estimation.

The power of estimation and approximation is of vital importance within modern times for many fields and careers. The basic premise for estimation is to guide towards an answer through a rational series of questions. For this session, estimation was used to understand the target market for each of four potential product/service that they have now narrowed down to. By doing so, this will help the team to reflect upon their ideas and understand more about how viable – is there a potential market gap – or desirable – is there currently a need to be fulfilled? – their ideas are.

Regarding Liquid Slate, it was clear that the team had a lot of creativity and innovation still at bay. There was so many ideas flowing on the table, no matter how random the constraints seemed to be. However, the only criticism or point that I could say is that the unison of all four components of the scenarios was not always fully considered. Nevertheless, with 36 potential ideas, there would be at least one or two hidden golden nuggets amongst the pay dirt.

In sum, I was very happy with the team’s progress within this session and their completed homework. It seems that each team member knew what was expected of them and managed to utilise much of their creativity this week.

Week 4, Innovateam!

This was an extraordinary and critical week for the EBD process; the checkpoint week.

Before all the teams cross the finish line in another 4 weeks time, each team had the opportunity to present their current ideas, through a PechaKucha Presentation and a 30-second video, to a judge panel comprised of representatives from RibRide, ZipWorld and other expert guests. Notably, this experience is all about gaining invaluable insight into not only what other teams are thinking about, but to also receive immediate feedback from the companies, which can help boost and prosper their ideas in a more directed, narrow way.

The second team that presented was Innovateam and they certainty had a few brilliant ideas up their sleeve. Ranging from developing new camping accommodation throughout North Wales to highlighting a lack of transport for many popular adventure sites to increasing promotions and interactive signage within Holyhead for all the annual Irish comers.

These ideas were all well-received by the panel, but one consistent point for all the teams was that there was a lack of focus on one, single idea. Throughout the series of presentations, many teams highlighted potential ideas and thoughts that could be implemented, but not many have narrowed down and selected one or two key product/experience ideas, which is going to be naturally the next step for all the teams in the coming weeks. Of course, this checkpoint phase is part of a elongated process over 2 months, and not all the ideas and experiences presented this week are going to be only ideas nor the last ones either. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I could say for all the teams is that success is not final and failure is not the end of the world. To succeed and produce a brilliant final product that may one day become developed, failure and feedback are the two most important steps for this process, and success of receiving positive feedback doesn’t mean you stop thinking, stop innovating; it means you’re on the right step, but you can go further and do better.

Overall, I would emphasise that Innovateam is on the right lines and have some novel ideas. But now with more key insight from the panel and a narrowed and focused mindset for the weeks ahead, it would be useful to develop and analysis your ideas further, to see which ones are feasible from a economic, social or environmental perspective. And finally, sometimes it can be the smallest of changes that can lead to the biggest impacts. Your ideas do not have to be big and experience in nature, just have value and potential.

 

By Thomas Jones

 

 

Amser mynd yn cyflyn! Week 3 in the EBD process!

“A dot is a point, but if you connect two dots together, you have a line, a journey, a story” – Andy Goodman, 2018

Time flies when you’re innovating at the Enterprise by Design camp. It is now week 3 and the teams have been kept busy. Last week, everyone had introductory presentations to the two partnered companies of this year’s EBD, ZipWorld and RibRide, and asked to create an digital adventure map of all the local assets in the North West Wales area.

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The Cyfyln team discussing Week 3’s activity. Owned by Dan Lane Photography

This week’s main focus is on wellness tourism. Wellness has been a hot trending topic in recent years, with everyone already breaking their New Year resolutions and trying to manage the tedious mundanity of our everyday going-to-work-and-stress-eating-chocolate lives. Subsequently, there has been a significant drive and personal focus on improving and maintaining physical and mental health and well-being, whether in the office or outdoors. In fact, when asked in a recent SRI international survey, many of the participants reported that they like to “take a vacation, an adventure” as one of the top five ways to enhance their personal well-being. With this in mind, there is a growing segment of travellers and a tourism industry dedicated to enhancing wellness. This is the sector that North Wales wants to be infamous for in the next few years, and the topic that is centred for this week’s task.

 

For the first task, the teams were asked to combine their user personas and digital maps created in the past two weeks to develop 8 consumer scenarios, two per persona. Specifically, each group has to analyse their persona’s demographics and psychographics (interests, hobbies, personality traits) and plot a journey they would take on their adventure maps throughout North Wales. This was to explore and identify potential barriers or gaps that the tourist may experience on their journey and any other experiences/attractions that they could be interested in, which may in the future be targeted and notified by iBeacon technology whilst in the physical environment. After 30 mind-boggling minutes, each team were asked to narrow down to just solely one consumer scenario which will represent their inspired idea for the next phase; a 30-second video.

 

After a much needed cupcake and tea break, the next part of the night was to dive deeper into their scenario to create a storyboard for a 30-second video, due for next week’s EBD session. The video doesn’t have to be of grammy award-winning potential, but to simply illustrate and communicate their team’s idea of a new experience or intervention to enhance their consumer’s journey. However, in the midst of all the creativity, RibRibe informed all the teams that they were all invited for a quick, yet fast, experience on a RibRide next Wednesday, to gather new experiences to transfer to the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enterprise by Design 2018, Two in a Fortnight

12 teams were all mesmerised in this week’s project session as the two companies part of Enterprise by Design 2018, RibRide and ZipWorld, revealed their newly joint adventure project together! After both companies introduced themselves and their position in North Wales Adventure sector in the first hour of the session, RibRide finally disclosed the big project. As the project is not yet publicly or officially announced yet, any projects details cannot be mentioned or revealed, although this project indeed got all the teams full of adrenaline and ready to start making progress in the process.

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After a quick tea and brownie break, all the teams were back together for the first team activity, but this time with all new postgraduate facilitators. For this week, the team that I choose comprised of Hang Yu, Tara Moran, Matthew Harry and Hugh Macgravie, which all identified as Team Fortnight. The objective of this week’s creation on the 2nd week of the EBD journey was to gather an expansive understanding of the local area. This was done through a mapping activity, where each team was asked to make a mind or geographical map of all the related adventure/tourism or key aspects of the local area, ranging from the Menai Bridge to Bethesda. Afterwards, each team was asked to be reflective and selective upon their map to highlight the 10 most important aspects of coding them with sticker icons.

 

Overall, I was pleased with my team’s quick thinking and individual input for this activity, as each member had at least a moderate level of local knowledge and valuable insight of the area. Additionally, there was a few strong examples raised and an in-depth team discussion during the selective phase of the activity. There was little reflective input needed to re-establish the criteria of the activity, but nevertheless, Team Fortnight’s performance was excellent this session. Lastly, each team member produced their homework assignments from the previous week of their own user profiles, all to an excellent and insightful standard. All creative currency was awarded.

 

Lastly, as time was of the essence, each team were asked to further analyse their maps for potential gaps or perceived barriers towards people travelling, staying, approaching these key aspects. For example, one idea highlighted was a lack of accommodation for the large input of consumers ZipWorld receive on an annual basis. This activity requires all the teams to meet within the week, independent from the formal sessions, to work together on thinking, reflecting, and digitising their maps by next Tuesday.

 

Written by Thomas Jones