It has been since September 2011 writing this blog and it seems like yesterday. Firstly, I must say that although I have faced some difficulties in the new writing approach at the beginning being new to the field, I have enjoyed the experience throughout the whole year. Blogging has taught me that there is a chance to speak your mind and entertain others with something to discuss about. In fact, as I have started planning this space, I have always used an insightful way of questioning topics and tried to involve readers in debates. The structure has been designed for an open area where to answer questions related to several topics within the Creative Economy and according to the core module of design thinking and entrepreneurship in practice. The first few posts published were directly linked to our lectures, thus it is clearly noticeable the different style, which was more academic. The following posts show a more relaxed approach, in fact the topics treated range from a wider choice and come from shared sources. The online sourcing has helped the blog to showcase much more current information. As aforementioned, the first posts are about training in business, it has been published about exercises done in class with regard to the first steps of a start-up. First of all the ARGOS report, for instance, is all about observing people’s behavior. It has been asked to me and other people to head in a group to Argos store in Kingston and to report the actions and disposition towards the shopping experience of customers. By analyzing customers’ decisions, I have been able to classify them into emotional, cognitive and physical, which has led me to more considerations about the store and the way it works.
Secondly the post about USER system presents a method of categorizing stages such as observation, analysis, goals setting and prototyping. It is within some practical exercises that I have understood the importance of using personas. In fact, I have subsequently wrote a post about the effectiveness of story telling. The major benefit I have analyzed is related to a certain type of message delivered, which is usually a social message that aims to persuade the public conscience and social responsibility. Another important stage is the prototyping session, which gives freedom to minds and actions. In fact, from the work of collaboration, people actions turn into something that can be shaped, changed, restyled, reinvented, simply created.
Throughout the year I have visited several exhibitions and galleries, one in particular was ‘Frieze Art Fair’, which I enjoyed a lot. As reporter I have taken pictures of the most appealing pieces and published them with a sort of description, expressing the feelings and reactions about the art works.
As far as my profession is concerned I consequently started writing about branding. The first post is inspired from an advertising poster I have seen at one of the underground station. The main question faced is about brands as carrier of hidden meanings. The fascinating topic has been framed by the theory of Feusner and Griffith about subliminal messages (thinkquest.org, 1999 – M. Feusner and B. Griffith, ”Subliminal messages”). Showing my concern I have asked if anybody else was worried about it and received good comments.
Another post is about my experience with POPCUP® team running the business and sharing knowledge about running a startup. As far as a color changing technology is concerned I found an article on a newspaper, which featured a similar technology exploited by another girls’ duo and used as example (http://www.squidlondon.com – http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-24020474-the-umbrella-bright-idea-that-has-opened-up-in-fine-fashion.do).
Post by post my research has become wider and I became interested in exploring street art. Therefore I have researched and published my thoughts about what I found, asking for help in gathering more information, due to the lack of available sources (http://streetartlondon.co.uk/tours/).
Ranging from street art to advertising I have investigated the use of guerrilla advertising, an unconventional and current way of spreading messages through unimaginable and clever medium.
The creative economy is wide and sometimes it is still misunderstood what creativity means. Therefore I have tried to tackle this question and dedicated an entire post about what creativity is, giving the chance to debate whether my position was right or wrong and supporting my theory with examples.
The main knowledge I gained about creativity comes from the business experience. In fact, through the practice I could understand the importance of co-operation and sharing (ideas, experiences). I assumed that action is the key element to nurture creativity, mixed with respect towards the others and trust. A creative process is all about testing and experimenting with no fear of putting ideas forward as long as there is nothing to loose but everything to learn. I have lately analyzed what entrepreneurial identity is within the frame of a new TV business show (‘The Angel’ – http://sky1.sky.com/the-angel/new-enterprising-entertainment-the-angel), supporting my thoughts with Elizabet Chell’s theory (2008).
Subsequently I have explored the meaning of ‘Brand Ambassador’ and its importance in infusing a branding philosophy within a company. This has been done, by supporting my thinking with a personal practical example from my working experience.
Moreover, I have published some graphic works I have realized for my team during our POPCUP® business such logo, promo material and stationery.
Ultimately I have written about how an entrepreneur can survive the market as an insight from the movie ‘The pursuit of happiness’, which is inspired by the real story of Christopher Gardner (http://www.chrisgardnermedia.com/movie). The topic has been approached considering the viewpoint of Goltz (Goltz, J., 2011 – http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/so-you-want-to-start-a-business-2/).
In conclusion, I have compared the way of being entrepreneur at ‘The Apprentice’ (renowned TV show) and in real life according to the Creative Economy (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01hmtfx). This is the post I have used to interrelate my recent entrepreneurial experience with another entrepreneur for a beautiful and flourishing collaboration (http://www.dionnegooding.com/).
During the last year I have reached a set of understanding and insights through the practical exercises I had in class and through the business project. Therefore the first consideration is with regard to the methods used during the course, which have been effective to me in gaining the basic know-how to start-up a business. First of all the ‘shoe exercise’ has been useful to understand the dynamics behind a creative process, which as aforementioned is a collaboration among individuals in action. Mostly renowned as prototyping stage, the practical exercise of making a shoe with the mere use of random available material has been integrated with the story telling exercise. Communicating to an audience nowadays has become difficult as long as people are bombarded by thousands of messages on a daily basis. Therefore being simple, clear and entertaining help the crowd enjoying more the time spent in front of a TV ad. What I have learnt through this is that a narration of facts and events structured in a sequential, ordered way can tell a story behind a product in a more clear and memorable way. In fact, the audience is more likely to be keen to embody the characters presented and/or feel empathy for those. Other major achievements have been gained through the business experience. I have learnt what it takes to make things work. For instance, to run a business enthusiasm, intrinsic motivation and drive are vital. At least one member in the team needs to have those elements of personality to transmit the values of what is being done and lead the team towards achieving prefixed objectives. Another example is the networking element, which is fundamental in building up a solid foundation for a business project, it guarantees the business growth to an extent, helping to develop relationships with individuals who have skills and assets useful for the main project. Yet again being observer is an important talent, it is possible to train people in being observer, however it is my belief that it is something that comes from someone’s personality and needs to be nurtured. It is from observation that I came up with the first draft of my team’s business idea. In fact, one day I started jotting down something and thinking about what I have being noticing around for a long while during my stay in London. After few sketches I realized that take away hot drinks culture has been the most impressing thing to me, coming from a country in which it is absent. Therefore, the idea of a fashionable cup sleeve seemed a good starting point to develop. In conclusion, although writing a business plan is something that I have done before, I have never had the chance of being involved in running a business. In fact, I have always dealt with secondary research to gain information from existing companies and analysed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within their macro and microenvironment. Therefore, being the primary source of information has been a great achievement in getting to know how a business works from the inside, which difficulties the members face and how they overcome them.
Thinking about goals leads me back to the initial choice I have made selecting this course among others. My first objective has always been working in the graphic design field therefore I gained a degree and few experiences to secure me the chance of being fully trained and prepared to get a job afterwards. It everything started from a passion and my interest within the field has evolved a lot throughout the years. In fact, this passion and interest has led me to London where I have been freelancing for two years. Therefore, in order to open my own business I have decided to go to Kingston University and attend MACE course (Master in the Creative Economy) in Communication Design. As a result of mine understanding in how important is storytelling, I am planning to restyle my website and make it more personal using a graphic design able to tell people who I am and what I do in a very interactive and animated way. I will keep on seeking opportunities for collaboration and promoting my work through social media, which I have learnt is a powerful way of reaching a wide audience. I will keep blogging about my interests and I will use it as a window to showcase new projects and create curiosity towards my followers and add new followers. I will keep networking online through social media and offline through events. I will use crowdsourcing for getting inspirations and ideas, getting feedback about projects and visuals in order to test them beforehand. I have started using this method before to understand if the audience was receptive and appealed enough to the works I have done. Moreover, having a background in marketing I would like to continue the business and I will search for new opportunities to develop the product at a good quality level and mass produce it. This is a choice, which has to be discussed with the other members of the team beforehand. The overall idea is to focus on the product development and I will be dedicated to that.
Elizabeth Chell 2008 ’The entrepreneurial Personality: A social construction‘ 2nd edn. New York and Canada: Psychology Press
Goltz, J., 2011 – http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/so-you-want-to-start-a-business-2/
Howe, J. 2008-2009 ‘Crowdsourcing’ 1st edn. New York: Three Rivers Press
thinkquest.org, 1999 – M. Feusner and B. Griffith, ”Subliminal messages”