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Bright Ideas sprint

The Bright Ideas sprint was held on 19th and 20th of January 2019. Its aim was to help and support students to improve their business idea before the Bright Idea competition. Our team applied for the competition in October and we were very lucky because our idea was in the top 20. So we went there full of excitement and pride but honestly also a bit worried because we were struggling to build the FoldAble tray.

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On the first day they taught us how to write a value proposition, which we had done before but it was useful to go through it again. Also, they introduced the business model canvas and let us work on it for our business. In the afternoon session, we gave an update on our business to the coaches so they could give us feedback and some recommendations.

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On the second day, we learnt how to get others to believe in our ideas and how to make money. Then they put us in groups and asked each group to create their own coffee shop. We needed to provide a name, description, perfect customer, prices and financials, fixed and variable costs and lastly, a marketing strategy.

Our group decided to make a coffee shop for students who wanted to have a quiet area for studying as well as a convenient price for them. This exercise was very helpful and we covered the important parts of the business in less than an hour.

After that, we had a guest speaker from the Mayor’s Entrepreneur to give us an idea of how to participate in their competition. There were also some entrepreneur guests. They shared their experiences with us from the start of their business until they became successful,  including the difficulties and obstacles they faced.

At the end of the second day, we pitched in front of the judges; we had 2 minutes to present our idea then 2 minutes for Q&A from the judges. After that they chose a winner from each category. Our group was in the healthcare category but unfortunately, we did not win.

Learning points:

In my opinion, attending these workshops is very important because learning never ends and above all, it gives you a good chance to network. Also, entrepreneurs can share their ideas with people to evaluate different aspects and who knows, you might find a partner for your business, which is an excellent thing, especially at the early stage.

In future I am planning to continue attending workshops and participating in competitions.

 

Useful link:

https://www.kingston.ac.uk/bright-ideas/

 

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Dragons’ Den

In the last class for design thinking start-ups on Friday December 7, 2018 we had a Dragons’ Den day. The aim of this was to give us the chance to present our idea in front of experts as well as our classmates. This was helpful as it allowed us to receive comments, advice or any other criticism, which meant that we would be better informed about whether our product was really needed, whether it would be easy to build (realistic), and whether it would make profits and be easy to distribute.

Before the Dragons’ Den, we had to complete an entry form for the Bright Idea competition. At the end of the year the team who wins will receive £1000, which can be considered as funding to complete and spread out the business.

In the Dragons’ Den each group was allowed 5 minutes to present their idea plus 10 minutes for Q and A. We were not allowed to have presentation slides, but we could  use posters instead and we were able to take along our prototype and any other things that could help to deliver our message.

The experts marked us on the following:

  1. Elevator pitch
  2. The need or problem we are solving
  3. The product
  4. Competitors
  5. Market
  6. Presentation skills

Out product is called the FoldAble tray. It is for wheelchair users who have difficulties with finding an appropriate table when they go out. The aim of the FoldAble tray is to improve their experience when going out and to make them feel confident, self-assured and independent. What makes the FoldAble tray special is that it is foldable, convenient, lightweight and portable.

The members of my group are Aman, Claudia and Najma. I am so glad to work with these organised and professional people. We scheduled dates and times for meetings with plans for each day. There were many tasks that needed to be completed in a short time, such as filling out the form, building a prototype, creating posters, searching for competitors, prices and others. After we had met all the requirements, we started practising. We wrote a script and distributed the speech between us. Each one of us started to practise alone, then we met many times to practise as a group. We practised in the library, and we stood up and did it as if it were real. The students there were looking at us, wondering what we are doing, but we did not care and we believed that practising in an open area would make us more confident.

Finally, we successfully presented our business idea in front of the expert judges, classmates, teacher and some guests. They liked our product and gave us some comments on how we could improve it. We wrote them down so that we can work on them in the next step. I am looking forward to seeing our product become real.

Business Model Canvas

Let me start my blog by asking you one question: what is the difference between a business plan and a business model canvas?

A business plan guides you on how to achieve your goals. However, a business model canvas is a tool that guides you on how you can make money.

In any small businesses, entrepreneurs should describe what they do and how they do it on one page called The Business Model Canvas, which was developed by Alexander Osterwalder. This canvas is a visual representation that gives people a common language in which they can discuss and evaluate the business easily. It is mainly used by strategic managers.

The business model canvas has nine building blocks and it can be used for both new and existing businesses. Existing businesses can use it to work on new initiatives and identify opportunities.

The structure of the business model canvas helps to make the discussion easier and it keeps everyone focused on the same page.

How can you use it?

Start with filling out what you do so you stay focused on your main goal as you fill out the rest of the building blocks, adding some details, activities and resources.

Use sticky notes to write down keywords for each building block of the canvas. This makes it easier for you to move the note from one section to another if needed. You also may use different colours for each section for more help.

The business model canvas building blocks are:

Customer segment:

This might be the most important part of the canvas. In order to sell your product, you need to know exactly who your customers are. And why they would come to you. You need to be specific.

Value proposition:

This is about what you make and who you are making it for. Before this, you need to know what the problem is that you are trying to solve and who has this problem.

Channels:

This is about the way you are going to deliver your product or service to customers.

Customer relationships:

This is about who you are going to have as customers, and how to maintain and grow them.

Revenue streams:

This is about how you are going to make money.

Resources:

This is about the resources you need to be successful, e.g. cash, funding, stores or delivery trucks.

Key partners:

This is about the people and companies who are going to cooperate with you.

Key activities:

This is about the most important things a company should do to make its business model work.

Cost structure:

This is about how much it is going to cost you to keep your business successful.

Business_Model_Canvas

Useful links:

https://www.cleverism.com/business-model-canvas-complete-guide/

https://www.businessmodelsinc.com/about-bmi/tools/business-model-canvas/

 

Design Thinking in Healthcare

After I learned how the design thinking process works, I thought ‘How can I use this process in healthcare?’ I tried to search for some information and I found that in the UK, they have been using design thinking for 20 years at The Royal College of Art. In the US, it is been applied by healthcare providers for a long time now in two main hospitals – the Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente hospitals.

So, design thinking has entered the healthcare system and adds value to it. A great example is the Kaiser Permanente hospitals, where they used design thinking to improve information exchanges between nurses at the end of their shifts.

Case study

There was a problem at Kaiser Permanente’s (KP) hospitals; the nurses were wasting 45 mins when changing shifts because of the need to handover all the information related to patients to the next nurse coming on duty. KP asked IDEO to help solve this issue. IDEO came to the hospital and created a team that was multidisciplinary, observed by IDEO members.

Firstly, the team observed the shift change and they took pictures to understand carefully what might affect it. They noticed that nurses used different ways to handover; some passed on the information face to face while others wrote it down on a sticky note or in other ways. This is not just issue with regard to time, but could also lead to information being lost.

Secondly, after identifying the problems, the team started brainstorming. They prototyped and tested their ideas for 3 weeks. “CareBoard” was one of the solutions – they put a board in each patient’s room so that the nurses could fill it in during the whole shift. Patients could also add to it. They found that after implementing this board, the time consumed became less, nurse satisfaction increased and patients felt that the nurses were taking care of them.

This board is available now in every ward at KP hospitals with huge success. This successful project is called Nurse Knowledge Exchange (NKE). In addition, KP hospitals created an innovation center to continue using design thinking.

From looking at this case study, I believe that design thinking can be applied in any field by anyone. It is only a matter of training, having passion and being open minded. Having a multidisciplinary team is important to figure out the problems from different perspectives and to make sure that the solutions cover every point of view.

After my lessons on design thinking and after discovering this case study, my passion for design thinking has increased. I need to start thinking about how I am going to transfer this process back to the hospital where I work. Design thinking will help a lot in improving the care provided to patients, and patient satisfaction and experience. Actually, it will improve not only patient satisfaction, but staff satisfaction as well.

 

References

(PDF) Design Thinking in Healthcare. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281408556_Design_Thinking_in_Healthcare [accessed Oct 28 2018].

Bodystorming !

Time is passing fast! It is the 5th week. I believe that when you learn new things, especially things you like, you don’t feel the time passing. Anyway, let me tell you about the new challenge we had this week!

Firstly, we were asked to work in groups to identify any difficulties that disabled people might face in our campus building. We started brainstorming and we found that there are no clear signs for wheelchair users, the doors are heavy, there is a shortage of press buttons, the snack shelf in the café is too high and finally the elevators are too small.

Bodystorming

After that, we started a new technique called bodystorming. It is to “put oneself in someone’s shoes”. It helps to better understand the problems as well as the solutions, as through this technique we can trigger empathy for real users. Bodystorming could be defined as “a technique wherein designers and other stakeholders use their bodily expression to create or represent ideas about the interactions and configurations around a given experience. This tool enables a better understanding about the relevance, main requirements and adequate configuration of a service by means of an empathic approach, allowing the designer to put him/herself in the role of the other stakeholders” (Santos et al., 2018).

One of the team members (Claudia) acted as a disabled person. She sat in a wheelchair, tried to reach the bathroom and came back to the class. The rest of us went with her to observe any challenges. When we had finished, we wrote down the issues that she had faced and we also asked her about her feelings. The finding were: the doors were heavy, which made her tired because opening them needed a lot of strength, there were no buttons for doors, which made her feel trapped, and there were too many doors in her way, which was time consuming and made her feel annoyed.

 

Solution:

We came up with a solution, which was an “easy access card” that can open all doors, e.g. hall doors, and classroom and washroom doors. This card would be given to disabled persons only and we could also add this feature to the KU app in case someone forgets their card. In the app they could check if the washroom is vacant.

 

At the end, we were asked the question – if you could re-design the building, how would you do it? We came up with the idea to have the elevators in the middle so that they were close to everything. Another change would be to have safe zones at each side of the building to help in case of fire.

Take home message:

Act and use your body to describe your ideas.

Bodystorming = user-needs centred

Bodystorming helps to gain a better understanding of the problems

Bodystorming triggers empathy

Bodystorming enhances innovation and creation

 

Useful links:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220382250_Bodystorming_as_embodied_designing

http://designresearchtechniques.com/casestudies/bodystorming/

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED)

Kingston University organized a women’s entrepreneurship week in October. On Wednesday 17th October 2018, I attended a festival of women entrepreneurs at Kingston University. It was really well organised, inspiring and helpful. It started at 10:00am and ended at 5:30pm.

In the morning session, there were multiple inspiring guest entrepreneurs who talked about their experience in business. They explained how they started, the challenges they faced, how they overcame them and how they sustained their success. One of the speakers was Janja Povovic, who we had met earlier in one of our classes. Janja has her BA in fashion design and has worked in this field for some time. She has featured in some fashion magazines. She obtained her Master’s degree in managing in the creative economy from KU. She established the start-up Ayswap, which is an environmentally friendly idea for minimising the use of plastic for coffee cups. She has won many prizes with this great idea.

The afternoon session comprised two workshops: team innovator and team trailblazers-mini hackathon . I attended the first workshop, which was presented by the Mayor of London. They gave us a sheet of paper that included techniques to help us come up with our own start-up.

  1. Identifying a problem/challenge
  2. Divergent thinking (bloom, flow)
  3. Finding a solution

Attending such activities inspires you and keeps you full of energy to work hard and persevere.

Women’s Entrepreneurship day (WED)

This is an international day on which women entrepreneurs can celebrate and share their success over 144 countries worldwide. It is held on 19th November each year. The first WED was in 2013, and it was founded by Wendy Diamond. This day is important because it inspires and empowers females who are thinking about starting their own business. Also, it is a good networking opportunity, as women entrepreneurs can meet each other and exchange information.

Below I would like to introduce some data from the WED website:

“Women in developed and developing nations alike are becoming increasingly active participants in local and global economies at a rapid rate. Today, in the United States, 38% of new businesses are founded by women, but only between 2-6% of them receive VC funding. One recent survey of 350 woman-owned tech startups revealed that 80% of founders used their own savings to launch their businesses. At the same time, an increase of women in leadership positions from zero to just 30% is associated with a 15% increase in profitability. Women are the world’s most responsible borrowers, paying back microloans worldwide today at a 97% rate of return. 90% of the money they earn is used to educate their children and to provide for their families.”

I am so happy and glad to see strong women who trust themselves and participate in improving the economy.

The qualities of women entrepreneurs:

  1. Accept challenges
  2. Work hard
  3. Patience
  4. Ambition
  5. Educated
  6. Passionate
  7. Motivator
  8. Innovator

 

Useful links:

http://www.womenseday.org/about-us/our-story/

https://ayswap.com/

EXHIBITION: The Future Starts Here!

I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday 9th October 2018 with my teacher and classmates; this was the first trip for all of us together. I was happy and excited. The aim of this visit was to see the new trends and to become inspired! There were many projects but here I would like to focus on some of them that I liked the most.

 

An intelligent robot that does laundry!

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The first thing I saw was an intelligent robot that does laundry. Actually, seeing the robot was something I expected to see. But seeing it made me ask myself – is that really what we need? A robot to do simple stuff! I mean, if everything we do is replaced by a robot, what kind of daily activities are we going to do? Does that make us lazy, or does it give us more time to do other stuff?

Driverless car!

This was so amazing! Actually, I got inside and experienced it for myself. What surprised me was that it is not only a car without a driver, but actually it can communicate with passengers, helping them to decide where to go, which place is the best and which road would be the fastest or less crowded. Basically, you feel as if you are talking to someone real. However, a question came to my mind – what might happen to drivers? Especially those for whom driving is their main job!

Honestly, I am not sure that I would ever trust a car like this and take a ride in it. I guess I would be scared and never try it.

If you could freeze your body, when would you want to wake up?

This idea shocked me! Why would people want to freeze themselves?! Do they give up or just want to see what happens in the future, what life would be like? There are bracelets worn by people who have signed up for this, which include instructions to the medical team stating “no embalming and no autopsy”. Around 2000 people have enrolled in this with no clear information about whether or not it will succeed!

Live longer!

This is about taking 100 capsules/day forever! I am wondering if this is safe, and has no side effects! Moreover, does it really work? Who might like this idea?! Maybe individuals who have a fear of death or even successful individuals who want to continue their success.

A self-organised emergency service!

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This app can send alerts to family or friends if someone needs help without police involvement. In addition, it can be used to record live videos and save them in a third-party server where they cannot be removed.

Finally,

I have to say that this trip was excellent. It opened my mind, widened the way I think and exposed me to multiple business trends and industries.

 

Exhibition link:

https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/the-future-starts-here