Module - 2014
This reflection is an addition to the group reflection and only covers the elements that are specific for my own learning development. The group reflection can be found in the report of week 2.
In this module we continued to develop the concept “Moving Avatar” toward a business concept. The first week was mainly focused on developing the concept itself, while the second week was going into depth about the business strategy and finance. Each week on the Wednesday and Friday we had to present the business concept to possible investors, while in between we had to develop the concept itself. What stood out was the Kickstarter campaign that we created to convince the investors.
In the past years I’ve been working as an entrepreneur in several situations. I have created De Jongens van de TU, founded BTS-imagineering and helped in setting up the company/product Smallplayer. These companies are still small start-ups and I choose this module to learn about the next steps in entrepreneurship in combination with design, such as creating a solid business model.
The module provided the opportunity to pitch a concept that could be chosen to develop further within the program of the module towards a business. I was disappointed that my concept didn’t make the final five, although it was chosen as one of the seven finalists. This led to the situation that I had to work on a concept of someone else that I didn’t believe in, with a teamleader that didn’t showed the commitment that I expect from an entrepreneur. Yet, as a group we managed to make the concept of our own during the module and we were able create an overall convincing story during the presentations.
Although I have pitched many ideas already and created multiple stories with the why-how-what structure before this module, I did learn quite some helpful elements within this module that will improve my pitching skills to a much more professional level. Especially the sequence of pitches helped me improve the characteristics of the pitch since we were able to improve the same pitch in a short amount of time. With characteristics I mean the way we presented ourselves as a design company, the way we presented towards professional clients and how to make a presentation attractive to hear it all the way through. I learned that in a pitch it’s all about presenting a tempting and convincing concept. The question of how are you are going to achieve all the plans you state are important as well, but in the pitch you just have to convince the audience that the business plan is well covered, without going into boring and distracting details. These details are important and need to be covered when asked, but must not be in the pitch itself. I will keep in mind that question after a presentation are part of the presentation, so to elaborate on specific elements of the concept of business. Another important lesson that I learned when working with De Jongens van de TU, but turned out to be very much applicable with pitching as well, is that a business is a much worth as the people who run it. As so, presenting yourself in a good way is just as important as presenting the concept in a convincing manner. To do this is to show ambition and to show ambition is to think big, to be convinced that I am going to conquer the world with this concept and not just selling an amount of products.
Creating a business is more than just creating a business plan. Yet I had hoped to go more into the subject of business plans than we did during the module. The situation of creating a business for mass market products did offer a challenge which from which I learned. Because of the large amount of sales and production, the challenge was to comprehend the enormous figures and network of partners that we needed to include in our business plan. Practicing with this helped, but in the end it was good to learn the complexity and uncertainty of a business model. I understand that for these things it is good to go to experts for their advice and second opinion and maybe even hire some. To get more experience in this subject I want to use the theoretical background and experts of the module to apply in my Final Master Project and my own company.
With this module we all had a design background, but I have worked together with other disciplines in a business context as well. Through this module I learned some specific advantages a designer can offer a business team. I believe a designers is much more able to create a better experience of (presenting) the concept, for our ability to understand the client, the client’s client and the idea behind the business and to transform this knowledge into concrete additional ideas and details. Indeed I learned that for a business to business structure, there is always an end user we eventually design for. Another interesting notion from a guest expect in the module that I will keep in mind is the smiling curve. This suggests that the most value for a business lies with the intellectual property and the branding of the company. I believe that just within these elements a designer can contribute most to.
After all I have had two great weeks with a lot of new insights towards the business side of design. I wanted to learn practical skills that I directly use after I graduate since this was my final module. In this I succeeded and gained insights in new business models, pitching before professionals and experienced how a company of a much bigger scale than I used to would operate.
Movie of our created Kickstarter campaign acted out
Pitching yourself is just as important as pitching your idea
Making a business plan visual and to the point
Checking our business with the Business Model Canvas
The website of our Kickstarter campaign