Dear Future Self,
The lessons learned throughout the journey of MA in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship will always be part of my practices in the future and would greatly help me in making decisions and carrying out the business processes in the future.
I still remember the day when I had to enrolled for MA in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, when I was asked about my ambitions and the reason for enrolling in this particular program. I was very much sure about my interest in starting my own business in the future. However, what I was not sure about was that, whether I will be able to successfully incorporate my knowledge and skills and make it a success in the market or not. But when I started attending my classes for the module, I came to know that there is much more than just thinking about starting my own business, as each and every successful business needs to be properly planned and require sufficient level of skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform the business operations efficiently and effectively.
This overall module has greatly helped me in differentiating between analytical thinking and design thinking, before the module I often used to think about the possible products that can be offered to the market and multiple different business plans. But this module has taught me to consider design thinking by focusing on the problem of the market regardless of just analysing the product or business (Jain, 2018).
I have learned that the value proposition is the key to being successful in today’s competitive business environment. My overall thoughts about being an entrepreneur have got significant aid by developing my knowledge and understanding regarding numerous different strategies and activities for startups. This overall module has introduced me to design thinking that has further allowed me to focus on the people in the market rather than just focusing on the products.
This has helped me in understanding the importance of identifying the problem and gap in the market that has further helped me in identifying the needs and wants of the customers in the market. The five stages of design thinking taught to us in the module has greatly helped me in understanding the overall value of developing a deeper understanding of the gap in the market and then defining that particular gap (Pinheiro, 2014). After that, design thinking helps in brainstorming potential solutions to the identified problem and then developing the prototype which is then tested xin order to evaluate the response of the market.
Furthermore, this overall module has given me ample chances to practically enhance my overall knowledge and skills by providing me the opportunity to form our group and develop a product. Before the beginning of the task, I was very nervous when we had to decide on the product and to pitch the product in our elevator pitch presentation. This activity has helped me in identifying multiple different abilities, skills, and shortcomings in myself.
During the task, I felt very much confident after the identification of the market gap and the development of the product for the market. I believe that some of my strongest abilities and skills during the task were my communication skills, team building, time management skills, and leadership skills. The task was very scattered in the initiation and it was difficult to being together all of the teammates to one idea. However, when our tutor guided us through the value proposition canvas everything started getting simpler for us.
We have learned that value proposition to the customers is the key to the success of any business in the market and the canvas served as an essential guiding tool for us by allowing us to identify the overall value that our product (Easy-Out) can offer to the customers (Brenda et al, 2015).
After evaluating the proposed value of Easy-Out to the customers everything started getting simpler for us and we were given a task to develop a lean canvas for our product.
During the overall task, I identified that my major weakness was to deliver the pitch in front of others, and I lacked confidence during the delivery of the presentation. I do believe that this overall module has given me ample opportunities to overcome my weaknesses by providing me numerous different opportunities to speak up my thoughts and opinions and to present our product on multiple different occasions like Dragons Den Elevator Pitch, the trade fair in Kingston Business School, Bright Ideas Competition, development of advertisement for Easy-Out and Eden Walk Trade Fair.
All of these platforms have greatly helped me in addressing my shortcomings and I do believe that all of these activities have greatly helped me and supported me in being expressive and presenting our product to other people. The bright ideas competition has greatly helped me in being expressive and to take part in the competition collectively with teamwork and passion. I believe that all of our team members were very much passionate and enthusiastic about our product when we were nominated to Bright Ideas Grand Finale. The competition was for all the students from different departments and the ideas were categorised in multiple different categories.
We did practice for more than 5 days consecutively considering my shortcomings of talking in front of people. However, my delivery skills were improving, and thanks to one of my friends who gave me the idea to keep notes during the presentation regardless of memorising. Unfortunately, we did not win the competition, but all of us were pleased with the victory of other participants and learned from our mistakes. This has greatly helped me in overcoming my weaknesses and in delivering my presentations with confidence.
Furthermore, one of the best activities that have greatly helped every single member of our team was the Eden Walk Trade Fair. After getting recognition for the best advertisement for Easy-Out all of the team members were very much excited to present our product in front of the customers in a business shopping center in Kingston (Figure 1).
I believe the task has greatly helped us in strengthening our entrepreneurship skills by getting out of our comfort zones and interacting with the target customers. The activity was held on the 22nd of February 2020. We were supposed to be present at the shopping centre at 08:45 to set up our stand and we started the activity at 10 am.
Our stand was on the most convenient and accessible location, which presented numerous different benefits to us including good customer flow and huge customer interaction. The activity has greatly helped us in:
- Engaging with the customers in a professional and positive manner
- Providing the solution to the customer by communicating them the need i.e. market problem or gap
- Interact with the customers through social networking platforms and informing them about our presence at the shopping mall.
- Obtaining feedback from the customer regarding the product and its utility to them.
We had almost a month to prepare for the event; however, our prototype was not as per our expectations. I believe that this was because of us not being able to properly communicate with the manufacturer. Also, we must have focused on keeping the substitute manufacturer or at least consulting another manufacturer for the manufacturing of the prototype. However, we did not have much time in the end to search for another manufacturer. However, we contended ourselves with the prototype and decided to communicate with the customers by showing them our advertisements. This turned out to be an effective strategy, as it allowed us to further promote our product on social networking platforms as well. We also distributed our business cards to most of the customers by interacting with them in an efficient manner.
I believe that the overall task was very much fruitful for all of us team members as it has helped us in identifying the potential and scope for the product in the market by obtaining feedback from the customers. Most of the customers found the product very much convenient and useful for them reflecting the potential growth and success of the product in the market. Further, the task has greatly helped us in focusing on more precise target customers segment as the product was mostly liked by the students and youngsters who often like to eat from their favorite fast-food joints and can carry the tray in their bags conveniently.
This overall task has helped us in understanding the importance of developing contingency plans so that the chances of any possible issues can be minimised. For instance, we should have planned for at least 2 manufacturers for the products, which could have helped us in getting the prototype ready within time and keeping the bargaining power of suppliers low as well.
Throughout the learning process, I have gained sufficient knowledge and skills regarding the startups and effective management of the business processes and active participation of the whole team has greatly helped all of us in effectively carrying out the overall task. After all of these tasks and interactions with other people, we started preparing the final report for our product which we had to present on our dragons’ den presentation. I have now overcome my weakness and believe that I can present any product in front of people.
We had to present our product at our final presentation in front of the judges and as always all of us reached early so we can prepare for the presentation. All of us started sharing their own ideas and opinions to deliver the presentation in an efficient and effective manner in front of the judges. I would like to say that we did a great job of delivering our presentation and explaining our journey throughout the module.
In the end, I would like to say that this overall module has greatly helped me in pursuing my goal of becoming an entrepreneur. I have always been interested in developing the product that can serve the needs of the customer and can obtain the swift response of the customers, but along with the development of my knowledge and skills in the area, I have learned that the utility of such products tends to diminish along with the passage of time. Hence it is necessary for an entrepreneur to continuously monitor the changing needs and wants of the customers and to establish and deliver the products accordingly in order to obtain a better response from the market and to stay ahead of the customer in the market. This overall module has taught me numerous different skills, processes, and strategies most importantly it has helped me with my creative confidence as an entrepreneur.
All of this will greatly help me in the future while carrying out the research for any business or product idea and to turn that idea into reality after getting its initial research. The teachings from this module will greatly help me in being a successful entrepreneur by considering the overall importance of need identification and delivering the product in the market that can meet the changing needs and wants of the target customers in an efficient and effective manner along with continuous development in the product and value proposition.