Here we go….next term has started, let’s see if it will bring any changes…

Being honest, when I have chosen Kingston, I thought, that it will be more demanding…Maybe british education  is simply not my way ( tried it before and then I moved to american school). Writing assignments which final grade will depend on referencing, making blogs it’s not for me, and I’m saying it openly. I find it very discouraging. I need something more, which race with our young businesses doesn’t deliver either.  Overall, I am fairly dissatisfied with the course. I must say that previous term did not bring anything that I expected it to bring except from very varied group of people who I met there.

I know, that I do a lot better, when I have to learn systematically, and when I know that at any time I can be asked to take part in class discussion. That motivates me more. I like to know and I like to know a lot. I like subjects that are interdisciplinary, anonymous tests and exams because I find it challenging and motivating. Grading  is not for me. I have never treated marks as any form of incentives. Getting good or bad grades were never a matter of a gain or lose for me. I like to do something because I like it, and because I find it interesting. Only then I know, that I do it well.

It took me a while to realise about the things that I have written above. Maybe its hidden disappointment. Maybe the fact, that Marzenna left the course made me think about it a little bit more. 

To sum up, please check on this video. Something about motivation,  on how and why we work as we do.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

work it….

11/16/2009

Last Friday we had a talk by people from Young Enterprise. We have registered on-line and now, officially we had started running our businesses. Few more weeks and we will have business bank accounts, cash statements p_445206and we will be deep into the game…For now, Friday talk has created some confusion but also give us a bit of hope.

Firstly, I think that everyone was happy to hear that we actually do not have to put out all the capital for the companies by ourselves. We will have shares that we have to sell, and which (happily) are un-resalable. However, we are not able to get sponsorships for our businesses. We can try to get grants, etc, but we are not able to get someone to charitably sponsor our activities. It made me a bit sad;  Pika has already started planning activities that would lead to raising more starting capital. Now we have to change the plans and the way of thinking about it too. Obviously, this is to be done, but it will need some additional, to what we put in already, effort.

Secondly, we have found out that we can try and make another kind than bank only transactions. We can use cash, PayPal or other ways. The primary concern was not as we thought a liability disclosure, but the fear from Young Enterprise, that we can miss some of the transactions on our financial statements.

So…as it has all legally started now, as we are registered with Young Enterprise, the future looks a bit terrifying, but at the same time I have hope- we can make it, and….we could be good in it. Let’s get to work then… and make this thing moving…

Not so dirty….

11/01/2009

Last week, when some Halloween monsters joined us instead of our colleagues, we learned how to prototype. The class started with few videos and then it moved to both individual and group exercises.

What stroked me was the fact that what we discussed involved elements of brainstorming, and we had a look at earlier.  Before by  prototyping I understood making tangible object, not a though or observation process.

postits-721188

After doing couple of exercises, I noticed one part is missing in this prototyping theorem. It’s the element of trust. All of us we know, that in any team are stronger and weaker individuals, and I find it extremely important for all the team members not to be afraid of talking about their ideas and opinions.

This was the excercise with designing lift buttons that helped me to understand this. We were asked to communicate in different than verbal ways, or with having our eyes closed. Things like that very often take us out of our comfort zone and usually this is the moment that we show how comfortable we feel in a group.

For the lift experiment I worked with Cynthia, what was pretty funny. Two of us- stubborn individuals, we knew what we want the prototype to look like from the start, so all the following communication exercises only made us more confused.

That was one more pleasant and brain draining afternoon.

 

Some highlights/reflections’ on Friday class:

Storytelling seems to be the most efficient way of grabbing the attention of the audience. Using people’s emotions to deliver the message one more time has proven to be very successful.

On Friday class, we have seen some examples of different storytelling. It turned out that some of the people in class would pay to know what will happen to a bear chased by lioness in one of the movies we have seen.

I think that storytelling is so successful, because it engages our imagination and almost forces us to follow it. As we follow any story, we become more and more curious and cannot wait until the end. Storytelling wakes up a sympathetic person in each one of us and we personify with the individual that the story is telling us about.

While following the examples of storytelling that Corrine posted, I have come up with some ideas for our own project.  As we want to do something sustainable, it seems reasonable to engage our audience in some other than just visual way. Storytelling makes you think about a certain problem repeatedly and does not allow you to forget about particular problem, good story can create new needs. Therefore, would be perfectfor us to use it to make our target audience aware of our product.

Tim Brown video that we watched during second half of the class has opened my eyes for the importance of innovation in industries, where I did not consider it as necessity. Taking us, trough design thinking process and giving examples of some successful innovative products for hospital reminded us of the constant need for evolution and development. Personally, I think that listening to successful entrepreneur is very important to raise self-confidence. The way Tim Brown spoken about innovation and inspirations, and developing ideas made the subject seem very easy and approachable for any passionate person.

At the end of the class we made impossible possible.  During special exercise, we had to come up with the weirdest mix of brands and products. “My Little Pony Butcher” have won the contest.

brainstorming-matches_id404149_size485

Let me introduce you to pika….

10/21/2009

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So…we have decided what product we are going to do for our MACE our project. I won’t tell you what it will be exactly, but what  I will say, is that we will do our best to make it uber-cool cycling accessory. Meanwhile, below you can find the list of companies that I consider to be our biggest competitors.

1. Rapha – http://www.rapha.cc/

2. Speg- http://www.speg.co.uk/

3. TWOnFRO- http://www.twonfro.com/

4. Raleigh- http://www.raleigh.co.uk/

5. Polaris- http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=25105

It’s crazy how much I’m into bikes now ….Once I started cycling myself I realized that it’s not only an excercise. It can become your lifestyle…it’s addictive. It gets into your wains and (like any other kind of sport) leaves your organism starving for more and more adrenaline and dopamine. But it’s not where my fascination finishes….3865927624_0e1acc5a1c

Bike design is amazing. The more  I look at those hand-made babies, the more I fall for it. Here, to make you more familiar with what I’m on about I post links to some websites (shops and blogs that are mainly focusing on fixed gear bikes).

http://bricklanebikes.co.uk/gallery/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fixedgearlondon/sets/72157600020586281/show/

http://www.chargebikes.com/projects/

I also found out that with governmental  help (50% discount on bike and accessories) you can become a happy owner of your own environmentally-friendly two-wheeled monster:)

http://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/home,intro.htm

Beautiful bikes, good design but…what about accessories? The range of gadgets available on the market is really wide. However, if you are a woman you shouldn’t think that you can be stylish when cycling- there is almost nothing in there (accessorizes or clothing range) targeted specifically into 25 over …:( You can find something for young, active girls and a very stylish menswear).

http://www.carhartt-streetwear.com/products/fw09/womens

http://shop.vans.com/catalog/Vans/en_US/category/women.html (they have something more, however they are us based label)

http://www.rapha.cc/

Rapha (gentlemen clothing label) on woman, how they looked 100 yrs ago…

http://www.rapha.cc/library-of-congress–women-on-bikes?locale=EU

I’ll give it to you straight- I don’t like to advertise myself. I’m better when it comes to doing things than talking about myself and my achievements.

What I have on offer is being solid – reliable. I am a person who will be there to discuss things and when everyone and everything fails, I will work on finishing off the project anyway. I like to take risks, go onto different path, make people think in a different way. Give them feedback and leave them to come up with an idea and then try it out, because everyone should have a chance to try their idea as everyone has their own individual talent.

I have a business and marketing style of thinking. I tend to think ahead and calculate the possibility of failure. As I mentioned before, I am a bit of a gambler. So if you want to have someone in your team who will be willing to undertake the craziest project that has great potential but very little chance and requires a lot of work – this is me.

I love interacting with people and analyzing them and their needs. With 3 years experience in customer service I can still be positive about it and find the joy in delivering a good service. It happens because I put a lot of love and passion into everything I do.

I am a very good fashion drawer and an excellent researcher. I like interdisciplinarity, it encourages creativity and helps to explore fields that have not been explored before. For example, architects designing shoes, industrial engineers working on clothes, fashion designers creating furniture. Prada is a good example of combining projects and conceptual art – this is what I want to do. I want to join my strengths- my business mind, passion for art, fashion and people with someone else’s technical/design skills and work towards something new.

Customization&Recycling

Go-green shoes, made of recycled rubber and canvas with supplied markers/photo pockets  to pimp-it-up yourself.

dejavuing vu jade

09/24/2009

On Friday 18th we have been asked to conduct the survey that would help us to find people footwear needs. Divided into teams of 3s and 4s (as not to look to weird running around and asking questions alone) we went out on the campus looking for people who would be willing to spend few moments and answer 5 questions. For the group that I have been with these come as follows:

A Why did you wear this particular pair of shoes today?

What do like about this pair of shoes?

What do you dislike about this pair of shoes?

Do you walk a lot?

Do you shop more for style or for functionality of your shoes?

Initially the answers we got were not a surprise for me, but after I gave it a deeper thought it all started to make sense. I will explain it in a moment but before I wanted mention two of the stories we found out during that survey.

Karen , who studied  nursing, when asked why she worn that particular pair of shoes that Friday said that it supposed to be a “Pocahontas theme” ,adding next, that she thought it  was going to rain. She really liked the fact that she could customize her mass-produced shoes just by adding feathers. Shoes that she was wearing were form Primark and Karen admitted that they were poor quality. The sole was very thin, what made them very uncomfortable at times as well as easily worn out. Karen walks a lot, but also cycles. For her the style was the main shopping factor. She didn’t really put as much attention to quality or durability of her shoes.

Polen, who was older than any other participant in our survey, emphasized how comfortable her shoes were, and that working as a nurse, what she needs is footwear, that is more functional than trendy. Therefore her profession was actually driving her choice of footwear. As she stands and walks a lot her preference towards shoes shifted from stylish to comfortable. She admitted that she regrets the fact, that when getting older she had to forget about fashion and often choose footwear that is maybe not so appropriate for her age (mentioned this she shown pair of Converse trainers she was wearing).

I think that questions that we asked were short and strict. Answer to each question could be as long as one or two words long, depending on the person and his/her willingness to cooperate with us. Initially I considered a problem how biased they where –  we knew the answers that we will get before we even asked anything. However, these questions delivered predicted answers,  they also allowed us to name needs, that we didn’t think of  before. And all of a sudden it seemed magical how such an easy questions asked to people who weren’t very talkative (neither we were trying to stress them too much by asking questions that were not on the list) can help to find a solution for complex task.

Being nice may help a lot, when conducting survey like that. Funny thing is that I fully realized about it today when standing in the que I started talking with a girl next to me. Being nice I complimented on the coat she was wearing and to my surprsie- she told me its story. It seems like a vu jade to me…

Going back to our that trial shoe survey, I think that it is important to have smaller groups of surveyors. One may look weird, agree, but groups of 3s and 4s are like hunters. They surround a prey and force questions on it. It is obvious, that if you are being asked by a group of 3 to take part in a survey it doesn’t matter how friendly they will be, you will feel as you are being pushed against the wall. I think that groups of 2 would be perfect- one person can ask the questions, the other one write down the answers.