During EbD the teams have been collecting creative currency, for attendance and homework. At the end they had a possible maximum of 400, as each member got ten for attendance each week and ten for doing homework tasks. However the teams were at a loss about how the currency would be used, and what it meant when they had it. In the meeting before the session the facilitators discussed how the currency could be used earlier on to give the students a greater idea of the value. We discussed if the teams could see their balance every week, or if they had to report it themselves would this influence their motivation. One thing everyone agreed on was that currency shouldn’t replace the intrinsic motivation for completing the work over the weeks.
This week the teams used their currency to buy resources for their final presentations. They were able to buy screens, projectors or posters to enhance their exhibition space for after the presentations for the judges’ question time. The teams were also able to buy expert knowledge to add to, and refine their ideas. I encouraged this weeks’ team to think of their ideas and any specific questions they needed answering, what they could do themselves and what they needed help with. After deciding which slots they needed they developed their questions, before they went down to the consultancy. When they came back they did have more questions than they started with, however these were questions they hadn’t been in a position to ask before so they did feel more confident.
Now we are nearing the end of EnterprisebyDesign it is worth thinking about the benefits of the process. As an interdisciplinary project, with a vague brief compared to most academic modules EbD can add substantial value to academic courses.
Even as post graduate students, taking masters and PhDs we are very much focussed on one discipline which does not reflect how a real business operates. In order to solve a real business problem a solution has to come from multiple different angles, and consider many different aspects. The team in EbD are designed to broadly to provide a scientific, engineering, creative and business perspective to every solution. This not only shows the value of working in a team, but also adds value to each individuals skill set. When working in one discipline it is assumed everyone speaks the same ‘language’ however in a real business setting this is not the case, and the ability to not only explain the core concepts of your discipline to others but also understand theirs is vital to effective cross-discipline teamwork.
The problems of miss communication in businesses are well known and widespread, and this stems from academic silos and reductionism. Whilst every discipline will have aspects of the process that they can contribute to more than others- for example business students will be the most familiar with a SWOT analysis, and engineering students will be able to provide insight into technology enhancement for their solutions, and the psychologists will understand how to use the principals of their disciple to make an effective presentation of ideas to the panel in the final week the value comes from all of the these skills working together. This is what EbD is about- adding value through bringing the best of four academic worlds together, and providing students with invaluable skills. For individual students this will hopefully result in a more critical outlook and a ‘what about…’ ‘did we think of…’ ‘how will…’ approach to problems even within their own discipline.
Another source of value is responding to the new style of brief, as this is a completely new experience for most students. Learning to work on what are essentially, shifting sands is giving students a new outlook, as well as increasing skills in flexibility and real world application. From my own experience in EbD I know that it is a jump in the deep end, especially since I like the academic environment, however I can also speak for the eye opening experience and skills the process provides.
This week the focus was idea generation. We put pressure on the students to produce ideas fast, focusing on quality not quantity. This week there was a focus on integrating location based technologies into the possible solutions. These situations took one of the team’s contexts, personas a location based technology (for example GPS, iBeacons, or Bluetooth) and a wellness factor (intellectual, physical or spiritual wellness). Wellness has been identified as being particularly important for the North Wales tourist offering, therefore the teams solutions will have to have an aspect of wellness. The scenarios had to be generated random to encourage the teams to think outside of their comfort zones. After taking time to make sure the teams understood the many dimensions of wellness, and what these might mean practically the task got started.
The main problem for the team this week was sticking the constraints of each example. They came up with some very innovative ideas, however often these only met three of the constraints. Having gone from focusing on broad ideas to suddenly having rigid criteria to meet was a shock, especially for this team as they have already been considering product ideas quite a lot already. As one member of the team was absent the team didn’t get the full number of ideas the task aimed for, however they still worked through their ideas at a fast rate. The team were also very instant that they didn’t want to come up with bad ideas, which did impact their confidence when discussing them with the rest of the team, however after some reassurance that it was all about quantity, and quality checks would come later, they began to come up with some far- out ideas about how the meet wellness challenges with technologies.
I can say that as the post graduates had a go at generating our own ideas for products before the teams started I am proud of the team for embracing the challenge, despite initial hesitation.
The team were also given an introduction to estimation, which will be a vital skill for the rest of the project (especially the final presentation) and in their future degrees and job interviews.
This week was presentation week, and this team presented their idea for an integrated North Wales adventure package students. They will use a Velocity loyalty scheme for the attractions to bring them together. They want to create wellness USP for North Wales, and utilise social media hashtags to create awareness for the North Wales offering.
The feedback from the panel was positive, however the team have some key actions to work on for next week. The main feedback was: Why Students? Although students make up a big proportion of the population in Bangor both Zip World and RibRide want to expand their audience to wider audiences, throughout the UK and the world. Their plan also seems to be in two halves, both a loyalty program and bringing together services. Both have advantages, a loyalty scheme could be used to solve the problem of people visiting North Wales’ attractors only once and this scheme may be a way to encourage return visits. The combination of attractions too helps create a more cohesive solution for encouraging visitors, but this is likely to be even more effective for visitors from further afield. The panel suggested that they should focus on the latter. A more specific focus may give them a better direction for the next few weeks, as they do not have long to consider their ideas.
The two questions the team have to consider now is how to monetise their scheme, as well as consider how to get local companies to endorse a loyalty scheme that will give discounts to consumers.
This week was building on the previous two weeks work to think about a journey that would be taken by one of their personas across the map they created the week before. This would help them create scenarios that would inform their product or service design.
This week started off rocky as the team didn’t bring their personas, which slowed up the process of making their journey narratives. The team started with a very good ethos- thinking about an experience in terms of the before during and after. However they had difficulty relating this to the journeys they were creating. To save time they did work on individual journeys for each however they switched the scenarios between themselves so add richness of the full teams ideas.
When the time came to think about the product I could see the panic in their eyes.
Their family scenario seems to be their strongest- this is the one I see the most opportunity in. They are thinking about what families want in terms of pre and post experience. They are also thinking about what families don’t want, a key example for the group was avoiding long travel times.
The main problem with the group was not finding opportunities but seeing their ideas as possible opportunities. Hopefully they are able over the next week to think about these problems as the opportunity for their product or service.
The team were awarded 40 XP for the map homework from Week 2.
This week the teams were able to understand more about the other stakeholders and companies engaged in the project. Zip World and Rib Ride are two very different adventure tourist attractions in North Wales, in terms of scale however both face similar challenges in terms of branding and challenges in the local area. The task for the groups this week was the take a small section if the North Wales area and consider what attractions and attractors there are within this area.
Initially the group discussed and listed ideas about what in the local area they should put on the map, they considered ideas from many different domains: nature, food, culture and places to stay.
However they did struggle with differentiating the attractions from the attractors. Citing the university as important they pointed out that the university brings in many people from outside the local area, however when considering how this fitted into a tourism map they struggled.
Similarly the group realised that social media would be an important part of increasing awareness of North Wales, however they had difficulty grounding this to a place on the map.
I suggested that now they had decided on the important categories they should think about what unique things North Wales could offer in each of these areas. For example, though Tesco is a source of food for tourists it is not unique to North Wales and may well be a disappointment to tourists. If they couldn’t find anything then I suggested this was a gap to consider later on the project.
This week’s homework was to refine and digitise their map, for last weeks’ homework the team all completed good user profiles, and so were awarded the full 40 XP.
The aim for ELOP is to bring together different disciplines, and in working in multi-disciplinary teams participants can evolve their skills and combat the reductionist approach currently prevalent in higher education. The first week the team got to know each other. The team is made up of a computer scientist, a psychologist, a creative studies student and a business student.
The first week was mainly centred on creating the teams, introducing the concept of ELOP and a short introduction to the brief. The brief is centred on two adventure tourism providers in North Wales and introducing the adventure map, bringing many of the attractions in North Wales together. The teams were created by picking each other based on the boards they designed that showcased their skills and personalities. The team were sent home with the task of creating persona and deciding what characteristics of these personas would be important when consider how they might use ZipWorld or RibRide.
The team initially seemed bewildered by the whole thing, however once they began to discuss their ideas they began working well as a team. Some are more vocal than others, but as this is the first week as they work closer together the team should be able to balance out and all disciplines can bring their skills to the project.