The Penultimate Week!

It’s the penultimate week of Enterprise by Design, and we had a very useful and interesting session tonight if student reports are to be believed.

The creative currency that the undergraduate teams have been accumulating throughout the competition are finally put to use in a Dutch auction and a timeslot-buying market simulation.

But, as with last week, the post-graduate discussion downstairs before the event was where a lot of really interesting discussion happened that is worth thinking about.

Something that I think the whole Enterprise by Design process has struggled with is giving the students the right amount of information they needed to be able to make the best judgements for their projects.

A lot of groups have said time and again that they weren’t 100% sure what they were supposed to do that week, and even coming into the fourth week with their PechaKucha presentations there was mass confusion and uncertainty.

A few ideas were thrown around by the post-grads for a solution to the issue, but something I wondered is whether situating the simulated market in a fictional currency was one of the causes of the confusion amongst the students.

A lot of students would ask what the credits were worth, or how much resources were going to be, and in truth the answer was “we don’t know”, because in the end their worth fluctuated the more scarce a resource became.

If you want a large group of people to quickly understand the value of something, it needs to have reference to something familiar for them all. A touchstone that they will all recognise and understand is actual currency.

When you tell someone you can ‘hire’ a TV and stand for their presentation for £160, fake money or not, it immediately has a value they understand and can place in context. When you say 160 creative credits, suddenly you’re throwing a stumbling block into the game.

For a project and competition that is aimed at bringing interdisciplinary teams together to understand how their differing expertise can come together to benefit a business in the real world, using real world values would probably be the best way to communicate that to the participants.

“You’re going to get £10 to spend for each team member that turns up, per week”, is more effective than saying, “You’re going to get 10 creative credits to spend per team member”. To borrow an idea from writing, you lose the willing suspension of disbelief that team members have when you throw a concept they don’t yet buy into at them.

“What? Why do we get creative credits?”

The mental roadblock of “what are creative credits?” stops the team from listening to the rest of the instructions. It’s like saying that the creature that looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck is called a “smeerp”.

Obviously, this may introduce the complication of teams thinking they may actually get £100s for their end presentations, but this notion is easier to dispel than the confusion that students went through with creative credits and the idea of what they’re valued at.

Other than that, however, the night was really successful. The students were given the opportunity to speak to consultants, the academics and the business representatives, in 10-minute slots.

Some teams decided to hog a particular source of information, a solid tactic, by purchasing 40-minute blocks and muscling out any competition. From what I heard from some of the teams, they really valued the longer time spent with the consultants; and gained a lot of useful feedback on their ideas.

Using the spreadsheet market was an interesting concept, and I think it was a good solution, though there needed to be more oversight. One team, who will remain nameless, actually went 20 credits ‘overdrawn’, and thus spent more than they should have. Nevermind, I’m sure the rest of the teams got what they needed in the time they had.

I’m looking forward to next week to see what the teams have to offer Rib Ride and Zip World!

Sixth Week – Cyflin

The session this week kicked off with a lecture about how to appeal to people and were shown two systems of approach. System One uses statistics and hard facts to win over the audience. System Two however uses a more emotive approach, appealing and relating to the human nature of the audience. After the lecture and a tea break the structure and time management for the rest of the evening was free allowing the students time to concentrate on whatever aspects they felt important.
I worked with Team Cyflin, the name translates to fast from Welsh, although this week they seemed to be stuck on how to progress their idea forward. They concept they proposed definitely had some grounding but Cyflin lacked any real insight on how the end user experiences the product. I’m not going to give away what they are working on but we stated by talking about the key framework in which to analyse their product: the viability, feasibility and desirability. A discussed brewed about how to present their justification of each element and how it will be best shown in the final presentation. Discussion also extended to the key features of the product, how the intricacies interacts with each other and how their previous work integrates into the system. The team have done excellent to reach this stage and be decisive in what they want to achieve, they can however place a little more thought towards how they make their product attractive the logistics of how each of the elements are implemented. Good luck to Cyflin in the penultimate week, spend your currency wisely!

Action Research and Made in Wales – Week 6

From the meeting to the innovations workroom:

Synthesizing their 4 estimations, 4 creative currency credits, nothing ludicrous. Uses, Environment, Technology. Teams should commit to the presentations, less discussion in this session. Now is the time to shape/ mould and create. Commit to the idea you have been working on.
Ask questions; “How might?” and evaluate your explained reasoning.
The challenge here was the team I was working was had only one member there.

The Homework; Startup simulations, Business Concept Statement, SWOT analysis of the idea to inform allocation of creative currency.

We were told to Critique the desirability of the team’s ideas, push them to find an enthusiastic response to your proposal from end users, which will provide statistics to quantify the desirability of your product. Viability will provide estimates, what’s the purpose/value provided in your proposal?
Feasibility was the biggest challenge for the team here, because they lacked the prior work, only one girl had turned up out of her 4 members. She had not been there the previous week. Rather than giving up, we persisted on to generate somne of the 24 ideas which were to be created. This proved a challenge, but together we came up with the final idea for her team to continue with.

Multidisciplinary Action Research. Kurt Lewin, then a professor at MIT, first coined the term “action research” in 1944. In his 1946 paper “Action Research and Minority Problems”
What is the added value of this kind of work/research? It was the process of a changing organization to be tested and assisted by external professional researchers to improve overall organizational strategy. Elope verged on action research, it had external professionals involved, but it wasn’t a changing a company, and the same can be said for Enterprise by Design. If the students were involved directly with the company, they could be action researchers, but it is early days for many of them, including us supervisor graduates.

A mood point which resonated with me deeply was the idea brought up by Andy Goodman that education is too focused on giving education to students, helping them to understand work, but not build upon it. I figured out how to do exams in first year because they didn’t want our original thought, they wanted us to prove we understood, and nothing more. As I progressed in my Electronics Degree, especially Masters year, I noticed that the questions in assignments was more tending towards original thought, which is why it is more enjoyable. This is only possible once understanding is shown though.
Educare (latin)- To extract knowledge, as opposed to inserting knowledge into students. “bring out, lead forth.”

Team Fornite’s opportunity

The opportunity video Week!

This week the groups got to display their understanding and the opportunity for the stakeholders- Zipworld and Rib ride and their peers.

It was an intense presentation style was Pecha Kucha- which is the style where the presentation is automated and is 20 seconds – after the presentation they showed their 45sec video displaying their vision for the place.

 

Team Fornite!

This week I looked at team Fornite

They presented their persona that they focused on which was a 25-year-old – professional couple who came to the area for a nice weekend away. This couple found adventure tourism activities while they get here. They wanted to promote the fact that everyone could be involved in these activities and that one way that they could is accessibility.

One way to increase accessibility is through addressing the problem highlighted by rib ride that parking is an issue. Team Fornite also highlighted that public transport was underused even when there was a direct route. They think there is an opportunity to find in depth user trip to highlight places which can become symbols.

Their video

They also presented the concept behind their video, they focused on fast paced experiences where tourists packed in the activities in their visit to reflect intense action they could do.

Copyright – Dan Lane Photography

Feedback!

The feedback for the presentation and video was that they needed to focus on the narrative that they were using – that it fits the audience.

Sam and Mat from rip ride highlighted the focus of public transport and parking problems and how this would be a good issue to focus on. However, this problem does not affect ZipWorld as much, so this would be a highly focused problem – solution.

Phil asked them to look at the complication that if it is transport then they need to look at not just tourist but how this affects this staff and visitors. He also said that they should look at how they could be innovative with the solution for this problem which would be unique to north wales and add value to the companies.

They needed to concentrate on the final objective for a project which they honest with saying that they did not have one because they were concentrated on the problem and the opportunity. Team Fornite said that they had the impression that the presentation was about the video.

The task for next week for the group is to think about at least three concrete proposal that could have the potential of adding value to both companies.

Copyright – Dan Lane Photography

Trex packing a punch

This was the wee, the week which the group cemented their ideas and grew it in preparation of next week is the market! This week they were shadowing work by Austin Valar Business model canvas.
This will get the students to develop on the feasibility, viability and desirability of their idea. The main concept of this week was for them to operate as if they are start-up. To think about the next steps of development therefore their homework this week was a SWOT analysis (Strength, weakness, opportunities, threats) and a business concept statement.


Trex
This team was one down, but they didn’t let that stop them from developing their project.
They have a fantastic long-term vision but struggled to ground it in the first steps, but by the end of the evening they had a clear first few baby steps. To help them do this they worked through this, they used the SWOT analysis to evaluate their future idea and see how they could counter out this idea in the development.
Their idea is to use a system like google cardboard around North Wales, when you scale back this idea to the first steps they have the great initiative to use it alongside the aspect in north wales, to have dragons at points in the environment that people cross. People will download the app when they visit one of the attractions in zip word and rib ride.
This will initially be an app with augmented reality and then to further with the progression to go into google cardboard. They want to one fix the problem of people but aware of a lot of attractions around North wales so choose not to stay there. This app will add value to both companies as it will enhance the experience of say traveling from ziplines to zipline or wait for the rib ride.
The problems to work out was narrowing down their great ideas and focusing on a problem. But their ideas were rich and unique, and I saw a lot of passion from this group. They also had a good idea and experiance in the way they want to present, ( which i wont give away) so i cant wait to see what they can getthere hands on in the market.

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 6- What has EbD ever done for me?

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.

 

On the homestretch…2 weeks to go!

Well folks, time has absolutely flown by here at Enterprise by Design!

We are officially on the home stretch of our 8 week challenge, with only two weeks left to go. Last week was Idea Innovation week for the teams, so it’s now time to nail down exactly what direction the students are all going in.

While the last couple of weeks have been about helping the teams brainstorm tourist profiles, tourism assets in North Wales, technologies, and ways they can create viable products for Rib Ride and Zip World; this week, the focus was on how to win the judges over.

While obviously the goal is for the teams to create innovative and unique ideas for the company, with only two weeks left the students were reminded that this is a competition, one with a £5000 prize at the end of it!

Learning about System One and System Two in branding and advertising…

Dr Gareth Harvey from the Pyschology department led the discussion this week. He gave a presentation on how best the groups could communicate their winning ideas and what it takes to persuade an audience to buy their product or choose their business plan. He laid out two different types of decision making when it came to persuading an audience, called system one and system two respectively.

System one focuses on selling the facts of the plan you are presenting and why your plan would be a profitable and useful choice for the judges.

System two encourages the students to appeal to their audience with an emotional strategy, a plan that not only had facts and figures, but one that was personalized, and had an element of humanity in it.

By balancing the two strategies, the teams can tell a convincing story all the way through their presentations that are not only informative, but hopefully getting the audience to believe in something that is useful for the community.

Students were then shown the difference between two adverts from Sony Bravia and Coca-Cola. While one was visually beautiful, creative and fun, audiences had a hard time understanding just what they were being sold. The other, while still being humorous and engaging, did a fairly reasonable job at branding the product they were selling.

Can you remember the adverts? Here they are again to jog your memory.

After some yummy chicken tikka masala and flapjack, the first challenge of the night was to come up with key reasons why people would buy into the ideas the teams had created, and to think about the best ways to structure their ideas. Students were encouraged to identify what their strongest arguments were, and which were their weakest.

Teams were also told to start thinking about how they were going to present their arguments when they talked one on one with the judges two weeks from now. They can either have a one-sided argument that they present with well informed information, or present a two-sided argument that presents the counter argument as well as their own, so they can tackle both sides of the argument head on.

Lastly, teams have to consider how they will present themselves on the day of the presentation. How they speak, how they dress, how they communicate with the audience and how they are selling their brand by the way they come across to the judges.

As the night came to a close, teams were told to start conducting basic market research to look into what has been done before, possibly who has similar ideas to their own, and what the market size is for their plan. Other things they are going to have to think about during their chats with the judges, is what the cost of their ideas are going to cost, how the clients are going to get the money for it, and how many units need to sell before the companies get their money back.

There is so much for these teams to research and think about in the coming weeks, and on top of that they still have to create a video and a presentation for the final.

Good luck to all of our teams, it’s going to be a challenging couple of weeks, but the hope of £5000 should spur our students into action!

For Homework this week:

For the last regular meeting of Enterprise by Design, teams are expected to write a business concept statement, and be ready to use “Creative Currency” that they’ve been earning since the beginning of the challenge in order to bid on useful tools that could be used on their final presentation.

Build in Action

Last week pre-meeting we discussed about action research related to EBD. Action research is a scientific approach to assist the “action” in improving or refining his/her actor.  The most important is, action research is always relevant to the participants. “Relevance” must be guaranteed, as it ensures that a specific solution would be figured out to the problem. Linking to EBD, even though this project is centred on designing a product or experience that smooths the Velocity releasing into market in May, however, it is not a real focus that should be defined by the researchers. Zip World and RibRide are hunting for the potential solutions to increase extra values on their cooperation and products, while they are not sure what exactly they are looking for. So the knowledge building and delivering in each workshop is at general level, while not well-targeted. Second, feedback, i.e. collecting the data regarding participants’ actions is an essential process that enables researchers and academics to adjust and improve participants’ actions in future. Currently, there is no this particular process. Therefore, this spiral process is cut off without this feedback process.  For participants, build their knowledge as the block is quite challenging, as they rarely did the reflection by themselves  neither given by the outside. They developed their own communication styles and social constructions, which might not be the most efficient way to create idea then form the product in the end.

From the side of researchers and academics, introduce the context is necessary, but how to deliver the most specific and relevant information about it is also important. As if participants not well understanding the context, then their actions will not relevant for the purpose of the research and consequently no specific solutions to the problem. Considering EBD, all participants are undergraduates with few working experience and business thinking. When academics deliver and introduce the knowledge at the beginning of each workshop, should think about if these participants digest the information and knowledge properly and efficiently. Based on what I saw among group performance, they are not managing very well. Unsurprisingly, their actions are far from the requirements of the tasks, sometimes even give up playing their roles on it. This kind of learning-analyzing-improving process is destructed.

 

USS ENTERPRISE BY DESIGN—Getting ready for the big auction

So it is consultancy week next week and slowly we are getting to the end of EBD where all teams will have to present their big ideas to the judges.

These days the three magical words are:

Viability

Feasibility and

Desirability

Judge’s decisions can often be emotional; therefore one has to do some work to convince the judges about how their innovative idea is viable. This can be done in showing utility and in the appraisal of the estimation. A business concept statement is also very useful is putting an innovative idea forward.

The teams have been asked to select their big idea and do a SWOT analysis. This is expected to inform the decision on how creative currencies will be spent next week.

One big question that Andy asked during the facilitator’s meeting is how the current EBD program is related to action research.

While we agreed that there is some form of action research going on, we also acknowledged the constraints which primarily include limited access to the organisation and limited autonomy on what is to be done and how it is to be done. It is not likely that undergraduate students can carry out a full action research but it is interesting to see them engaging in some form of action research which is a good way to learn above and beyond simply being told what to do.

Tolu Oluwafemi