I am very lucky to have an incredible journey in the year of MACE, from the confused state at the beginning of the module to the understanding state at the end, and I feel an unprecedented sense of achievement after reviewing the learning results of this module for a whole year. This blog is for my future self. First of all, when my future self wants to look back on this particular experience, just come back. I think this blog post, of course, is not limited to this blog post, but all of them are a true record of my experiences and feelings during this year, whether or not I understood them correctly at that time. The second point I want to make is that it is a good habit to record and review. I hope my future self still recording life and work experiences. If my future self looks back at these blogs during a period of confusion, I hope my future self can see the growing over the course of this year and believe that my future self can move on again. So in this blog post, I will review the module overview and the important knowledge I learned in this module. Also, illustrating how my knowledge achieved my goals by presenting a few detailed examples, other lessons and analyze my current strengths and weaknesses. Of course, hopefully, my future self reviewing this blog has turned these weaknesses into strengths.
Reviewing the entire module since last September has been a very fulfilling journey. The study of theoretical knowledge lasted for two semesters. In the first semester, we had Hackathon and went to the design museum, and we learned more about the enterprise through several canvases. Almost every class starts with interesting creative questions and activities, and there were many activities designed to deepen the understanding of knowledge, such as making shoes. In my opinion, the first semester is the foundation for us to focus on our own business in the second semester. In the second semester, we had more meaningful practical activities and paid more attention to its in addition to the theoretical knowledge based on practice. Compared with the inspiration in the first semester, we paid more attention to practice in the second semester. We set up our own small company through YE. It was an incredible experience. We had real trade fairs and pitches. Also, we had a chance to advertise our business by making an advertisement. We blogging and operating social media throughout the whole semester, except for these activities. In this module, I have gained all-round improvement from theoretical knowledge to practical abilities, from offline to online activities.
As I mentioned above, recording and reviewing is a good habit. I think at the end of all the study of this module, I should review the knowledge I have learned as a whole. In fact, I gained a lot of fresh and useful knowledge in this module. In addition, some of the knowledge had an effect on my thinking pattern, which made me change in other aspects as well. Tim Brown (2008,p85) states that thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes – and even strategy. Literally, design thinking is also the most meaningful and influential knowledge point for me. According to Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford Design thinking process divide into 5 stages, empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test. At the beginning of the first semester, we approached the design thinking process in two different ways, namely, theory and practice, which became one of the foundations for building our business. We experienced 5 design thinking processes by making shoes activity that including every stage in design thinking. Doorley, S, et al (2018) show that empathy is a foundation of design, and define is that propose actionable problem statements based on your understanding of the user and their environment, namely the first stage in design thinking. Additionally, Ideate is a pattern for generating basic design solutions. Then are the prototype and test stages. Prototyping is the process of visualizing an idea. Testing is an opportunity to gather feedback, improve the solution, and continue to learn about the users. In fact, all of our subsequent activities in establishing our star-ups, including several trade fairs and pitches, were a repeat of this process.
In addition, the three canvases allow me to present my ideas more specifically, which are business model canvas, lean canvas and value proposition canvas. The professor (Kingston University, 2019) mentioned in the course that using visual templates, such as business model canvases or lean canvases, can improve the performance of the start-up team because visual templates can make the information clearer and keep the visual language intuitive and persuasive. Especially in our group, we come from different countries. Using this visual approach makes it easier for us to communicate with each other and reduces misunderstandings. Lewis (2014, quoted in Andrea Ovans, 2015) states that the business model is how are you going to make money. Moreover, Drucker (1994, quoted in Andrea Ovans, 2015) shows that A business model is an assumption that identifies the customers, competitors, values, behavior, technology, dynamics, and strengths and weaknesses of the company.
Compared with business model canvas, lean canvas (2012) replaces key activities, key resources, customer relationships and key partners with the problems, solution, key metrics, and unfair advantages. For us beginners, I can’t say which one is better. In fact, these two canvases are of great help to us in the preliminary sorting of ideas. We first used the business model canvas to list basic information. Then use the lean canvas for further thinking. In particular, the replaced items are the ones we paid special attention to when using the lean canvas. Lean canvas enables us to see our strengths and weaknesses more clearly. The other canvas is the Value Proposition Canvas. Thomson, P (2013) said that the value proposition clearly demonstrates the company’s product and customer needs. So we can see more clearly how they match. The value proposition is key to business strategy and brand strategy and quickly gives you the “Minimum Viable Clarity” you need to start building and testing a product or service. With this canvas, we can better analyze what customers need and what our products can provide for them, just as the original intention of the canvas was designed.
After comparing our advantages and disadvantages, how might we format can be used by us. Tim Brown put forward that “how can we?” question is a great way to start a brainstorming session. HMWs will break away from the original design principles and become an opportunity for you to rethink. Because the HMW provides the space for redesign and there are certain limitations. This is very helpful for us in the star-up process. For example, we will reconsider whether our weaknesses can be adapted into advantages through HMW.
In my opinion, what I learned in the first semester is to provide theoretical support for the practice in the second semester. In the first semester, we gradually learned about business models and other business knowledge, and also had a preliminary design thinking. I think all of these have a very profound impact on our star-ups. In the second semester we are exposed to more specific knowledge, such as branding, packing, selling skills, display design and advertising. I think branding and display design are the most important for us because our business is exactly a service product. Branding is the core of our business, and display design can make it easier for customers to understand our business. Carter (2013, quoted in Janja Song, 2020) said that a brand is not just a logo. According to Neumeier (2005, cited in Janja Song, 2020), a brand is how others feel about your brand, which is what we have been trying to achieve. Also, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs in this area. For example, we were very common in the first trade fair, but later we changed people’s opinion of our business because of a cool advertisement. This also made us realize the importance of branding.
In fact, I learned a lot more than that. Some of them brought me closer to my goal. I think I can give you a couple of examples to go further, such as improvement of the ability to make advertisements, writing blog and more confidence. Blogging and advertising were two necessary experiences in the field I wanted to work in. Based on my weaknesses, I hope I can become more confident. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to accomplish these goals and ideas. As I just mentioned, we changed the way people felt about our brand by making ads. This not only improved my level of publicity, but also made me more confident, because I was recognized by others. It also made me realize my strengths. At the same time, the trade fairs and the pitches also made me more confident. Since we need to explain our business to the public. I could not predict the problems of customers and judges, which required my confident explanation and answer. I am very glad to have so many practical experiences in this year, which allowed me to exercise myself and achieve my goals.
Besides, I have learned a lot, such as communication skills and Collaboration. The improvement of communication skills is inseparable from the experience of communicating with customers in the trade fairs. I used to resist communicating and explaining with strangers. At the beginning, it was always my team members to explain. As the number of activities increased, I gradually began to explain to customers. Moreover, I got a kick out of it, like how to explain to them in a more interesting or understandable way. At the same time, I prefer to hear their questions, so that I can understand their psychology through their questions and challenge myself to answer in a short time. The improvement of communication ability is also reflected in the collaboration with team members. More efficient communication will make our work more enjoyable. Additionally, Collaboration ability is also improved as a result. Melodie Crumlin states collaboration is more important than cooperation. Cooperation just works together, in fact, in the beginning, we just cooperated. However, as we worked together longer and longer, we started a true collaboration. I think these experiences will last a lifetime.
After the experience of this school year, I know my advantages and disadvantages better. I think my strengths are time management, collaboration and executive force. Time management skills are particularly evident at the end of the second semester when we need to do pitch, write group and personal reports. Different tasks have different submitted times, but some of the tasks have duplicate content. I not only reasonably arranged my personal time but also made a time-line for our team. I used to be a procrastinator. However, blogging and dealing with different tasks has made me more capable of execution. At the same time, the experience of this year also let me find my weaknesses. Although I became more confident than before, I still wasn’t confident enough. Secondly, I find that my mind is easily bound. To be more specific, I should get out of the way of thinking and habits, trying to think out of the box. I hope my future self will not be troubled by these two problems.
This is the end of the summary and knowledge review of the design thinking module. This blog and others give me a great sense of accomplishment. In retrospect, this year’s study not only enriched my knowledge but also changed my character. Finally, I would like to say to my present and future self, please stay curious about things, do it!.
Brown,T. (2008). ‘Design Thinking’, Harvard Business Review (June), p85.
Brown T. IDEO.org, How Might We. Available at:http://www.designkit.org/methods/3 (Accessed: 18 April 2020).
Crumlin, M. ‘Is Collaboration Not Just Cooperation?’, Talk Listen Change. Available at:
https://talklistenchange.org.uk/blog/170-is-collaboration-not-just-cooperation (Accessed: 18 April 2020)
Doorley,S, et al (2018). ‘Design Thinking Bootleg’, d.school at Stanford University. Available at: https://dschool.stanford.edu/resources/design-thinking-bootleg (Accessed: 18 April 2020)
Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, An Introduction to Design Thinking Process Guide.
Song, J. Kingston University, (2020) ‘Branding’, Available at: file:///Users/apple/Downloads/BS7708%201920%20Week%2015%20Branding.pdf (Accessed: 18 April 2020)
Kingston University, (2019) ‘Business Modeling, Available at: file:///Users/apple/Downloads/BS7708%201920%20Week%208%20Business%20Modelling-1%20(1).pdf (Accessed: 18 April 2020).
Maurya, A. (2012) ‘Why Lean Canvas vs Business Model Canvas?’, Love The Problem, 27 February. Available at: https://blog.leanstack.com/why-lean-canvas-vs-business-model-canvas-af62c0f250f0 (Accessed: 18 April 2020).
Ovans, A.(2015) ‘What Is a Business Model?’, Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2015/01/what-is-a-business-model (Accessed: 18 April 2020)
Thomson,P (2013). ‘ Value Proposition Canvas Template’, peterjthomson.com. Available at: https://www.peterjthomson.com/2013/11/value-proposition-canvas/ (Accessed: 18 April 2020).