The real world of business is considerably crucial, competitive and full of intensity. Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship in Practice class has provided me the valuable opportunity to experience of setting up a business as an entrepreneur. This module allows me to develop my potential and creative thinking in order to become success in my career path. The main benefit that I have learnt from this class is basically learning by doing. It has been 7 months that my group has started to do business. We have faced of many problems in terms of developing ideas into the product. At the same time, this project has been given a lot enjoyable moments and a great experience to my student life. I would like to say that this module has provided me the best practice of entrepreneur in action than any other courses.
The biggest challenge for me since the first start is I do not have background in business in my Bachelor’s Degree. I graduated in Journalism and Mass communication in broadcasting. Therefore, I have no idea what I have to confront when I study in Msc International Business Management with Entrepreneurship. Even so, I personally think that it is a good chance for me to gain some new knowledge. For this reason, I was quite excited to study in this module.
In the beginning, I was surprised in the way of learning in this course. I clearly remembered that in the first day of our class, our teacher; Corrine Beaumont asked us go to the restroom with eyes closed in order to know how would it be if we were blind. I admitted that at first I think this task was ridiculous and absolutely not interested. I had a question in my mind that how come it would be related to business and this subject. Surprisingly, this task would really help me to think differently. This observation had taught me that sometimes I had to look in different point of view in order to get some new ideas and inspiration. This method of education is the same way that entrepreneurs have been using to build up entrepreneurial behavior (Katz and Shepherd, 2003). Therefore, the teaching method of this class is quite different than others. It is more than just learning from the books and listening to lecturers but rather motivation us to see views from various angles. Martin (2009) illustrated that most of the company such as Apple and Facebook has been using the design thinking to gain competitive advantage. Therefore, I was interested how this module can lead to my progress.
Next, it was a time to start up our own business with the people in this class. It is the biggest project from this module. In my group, it can be seen that there is a perfect combination of various personality and background. Because we had barely known each other before, it is no doubt that we might face with some disagreement during the working process. After a team member has been allocated, I found myself that I was quite a good listener rather than a team leader. I feel uncomfortable to express my feeling to the person that I was hardly known. However, I realised that if I had not committed to a team, I would have been end up with working on the product that I dislike through out the year. Therefore, I tried to give my views as much as possible when it came to brainstorming. We had been spending most of our time in the first 2 months to develop our ideas into business. We had plenty of bright ideas but no single one was outstanding and being approved by all members. In fact, the conflict usually happened during the group meeting because each of us has very different perspective. Bulleit (2006) demonstated that the bad conflict create pressure environment which would affect to overall performance. However, Correia (2005) suggest that the positive side of conflict which is an exercise of building up with an innovative idea. Therefore, the conflict management is required to reduce this tension and enhance productivity (Alper, Tjosvold and Law, 2000). In our group, we tried to produce more positive conflict rather negative conflict. We decided to talk with each other more about our similar interests and trying to think what we can do to contribute it to the business instead of coming up with the product with no references. After we had discussed for a while, we discovered that we are all interested in art, books and photos. Finally, we came up with the idea of bookmark calendar and it was a starting point of our business plan.
The bookmark calendar had come from the concept of “making art useful”. It is small bookmark that contained 12 months calendar in the backside. It is different from the other bookmark calendar in the market due to product designed. Furthermore, it is provided exclusive picture that represents an emotion taken by one of our group member, Genia Boustany, and a quote from a famous artist in every single page. This unique bookmark calendar would be perfect for a New Year gift or keep it as personal collection. It aims to target book lovers and photography lovers. Our main objective is to inspire our customers with a piece of art whenever they use the product. To conclude, it is well design of artwork that fits with every day life.
W.I.D , is referred to words, dates and images, has become the name of our company. I am responsible for finance part in this project. I have to say that it was tough for me to handle with all numbers and calculation. However, it is because of me that I was afraid to say no to my friends to do something that I am unfamiliar with. This situation has caused me lot of problems later when I had a hard time to do profit and loss sheet, cash flow and break even point. I tried my best to manage with it by asking for help from my friends who has a financial background. After I had spent many hours trying to understand basic accounting, I could manage all those tasks by myself. I could not believe that I can do it eventually. I was so pound of it. To tell the truth, I now become a financial expert. I really think that the knowledge of finance would be benefit for me in the future. Papulová and Mokroš (2007) stated that knowledge of financial management is fundamental for entrepreneurs in order to become successful in business. Rogers (2002) also pointed out that this financial knowledge would help business owners particularly in small enterprises to analyse their financial heath and prevent them from the failure. I am absolutely agree that the finance knowledge is required for business owners and high position managers to realise what had happened in the past, how to improve it in the present as well as looking further to future trend. This project all me favourable opportunity to learn how to do it professionally.
From this class, I can clearly see my self-development through the tasks that provided in this module. For example, my writing skill has been significantly improved from posting blogs regularly. I was looking back my previous posts while I was doing this reflective assignment. It is obvious that my writing is increasingly much better. Yang (2009) suggested that writing blog would help me to observe the progress of the personal development as well as self-expression. I have to say that I really hate writing a blog at the beginning. I personally think it was waste of time to write about what we have learnt in the class in every week. But after I see the improvement, I decided to continue posting from now on. Writing is one of skill that I need to improve urgently. I think that writing a blog from the wordpress would be my first step to conquer this problem.
Moreover, I discovered my own talent during studying in this class. I do not really know that I had this skill until I attended a trade fair. I found that I could persuade customers to purchase the product more than other people in my group. In that day, I could sell 10 products in total while other members had none. Another factor that might help me increase in sale came from the viewpoint of Telpoukovskaia (2010), it is said that a professional seller is needed to truly believe in the product before selling to others. The fact that I believe in our product would lead me to have more confident in order to convince other people to believe what I said. I found out that selling is the thing that I enjoyed the most during this project. Consequences, I can use this selling skill to become my strength in the future career.
The assumption of our sale so far is absolutely impressive. The total number of product sold is 124 which it is valued 707 pound. We already got our payback from our investment since December and it was continuously growing. Our company is considered as a remarkable success in terms of product sold comparing to other teams. The last thing that I have to do in order to finish this project spectacularly is to make a business report and presenting it in front of the Dragon Den. It was generally about selling our ideas to the judges and made them interested in our product by presenting our business performance. Our group had put lot of effort and energy for the presentation in order to attract the judges. For my part, I was chosen to present finance and risks in the business. I was practicing all day because I was afraid that my English would be a problem. As a result, our presentation went very well. Surprisingly, our product was selected to be one of the finalists to present a business pitch at the end of the day. I was really satisfied with the outcomes. I have to thank all my group members. We have come through a long path together from nothing until it came into the products. I could not do it without a great teamwork. Hoegl, Ernst and Proserpio (2007) stated that having a good teamwork is better than a good product. I think it is absolutely true that the quality of teamwork would lead us to right way and this project is the best example to illustrate this point.
Looking back all the knowledge that I have learned so far including other aspects that I did not mention in this reflective essay such as Customer behaviour, Personas and Creative Collaboration, is certainly applied to this project more or less. I found that this project is a lesson from our experience. The profit does not matter to me that much. The most important thing is to go for it and see how it goes. I strongly believe that if we put a commitment to something, a great result will come afterwards. My goal is to open clothing shop in Thailand. Therefore, the skill that I have been improved from this class such as assertiveness, communication skilled and creativity would help me to setting up my own business in the future.
In conclusion, I would like to give a credit to Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship in Practice class that give an opportunity to work with diversity of creative people. This module has given me a wonderful experience to show my ability. I had made lot of mistakes but eventually I have learnt from it. After studying in this course, I have clearer mind about what I have to do in the future as well as how can I achieve it. I could not believe that it comes to the end. However, I think it is just a beginning of an amazing journey.
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