THE MASTER of NEW IDEAS, “what a Legacy”!

The below process of solving problems has greatly built up my mind with ideas with few or no limits on breadth during “brainstorming”.

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It has been a couple of weeks since I launched into “BLOGGING” as a Masters student of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship at Kingston University. At one time, I didn’t know much about Design thinking and Innovation but understanding Design thinking as a process, coupled with several group exercises and assignments, have tuned me to the right Channel, setting me as not only a blogger but also as an Innovator and a great design thinker.

Some of the prototypes and sketches that we (as a team) have managed to come up with.

 

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Today, in my numerous individual group discussions, I often bring the design thinking concept to the forefront aiming at the quality of results it can bring about, an aspect that has made me stand out.

With this design thinking framework as shown, lots of different ideas have always come up inform of prototypes, in which our group project emerged.

I have realized that today, I have so many ideas that I think I would have never discovered if it wasn’t for this course. For example, I learned how to “make it rain” and perhaps by the end of my course, I will have learned how to “make it snow”.

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I must appreciate that working in groups is the masterpiece of well thought off unique ideas that can cause totally/ a new look/idea of any business or in any venture…………….what’s your assessment!??

 

2. Market penetration and prompt decision making for New International Ventures.

As far as international entrepreneurship is concerned, consideration of interdisciplinary areas based on international business and new venture start-ups is highly a key note. International road map of entrepreneual businesses attracts attention to any company’s decision to penetrate any international platforms, and majorly it considers small firms that are involved in cross-border business practices.

Cross-border business engagements in international start-up business is mainly concerned with the flow of goods and services and both macro and micro capital levels.

With International new ventures start-up/entrepreneurship, decision making is highly influenced by a number of key factors;

  • Price- How much will your intended product cost on a given market. Will it be affordable? Is it appealing in front of the customers, Will it solve a given problem that perhaps, your intended customers have suffered for some time?
  • Place or Location. It is always ideal to bling your services/product closer to the intended clients or in a relative reachable area of operation.
  • Promotion; It’s a good practice for any business to throw promotions, incentives and after sale services to the clients as a way of attracting them to your product.
  • Marketing program. Always have an appropriate marketing strategy for your service or product. Know the type of clients your targeting depending on the product or service offered.
  • Product type. Different products attract different customers. Therefore, for any start-up venture business to realise good results, the entrepreneur should be in position to produce a certain product that will properly fit perhaps the standards, of good quality, acceptable in a given society, etc.

 

However, the above number of factors are predominantly determined by some environmental forces.

These include;

  • Technological forces- basically concerned with the levels of technology involved. The better the technology the better the product.
  • Regulatory forces. This is majorly concerned with the government policies. It should be noted that there are business ventures that entrepreneurs are allowed to engage themselves in. For example manufacturing and supply of fire arms. Therefore, whatever business entrepreneurs seek to venture into, should be compliant with the government rules and regulations.
  • Social forces. Products should be socially acceptable in a given environment. For example, it is a bad ideas to set up a sausage packaging plant in an Islamic community.
  • Competitive forces. Any entrepreneur should have a unique technique of how they intend to penetrate and out compete the existing firms that may be dealing in the same product.
  • Economic forces. The current economic trends of in a given state where an entrepreneur intends to venture.
  • It should be noted that it is very key to notably be aware of the economic situation of a particular state of interest.
  • Therefore, we ascertain that decision making to venture into internationalization of businesses by firms needs a strategic approach as these businesses go beyond their domestic markets.

3. Innovation lessons focus.

With great concern, I have learnt that there is an urgent need for both individuals and public institutions to be ahead of the game in championing innovation and its processes and be fully aware of innovation technology and its potential towards economic development of any state.

Institutions must focus more on vocational training rather than simply preparing students for office jobs.

Over the last few years, it has become evident that without innovation/innovative entrepreneurs, states would be economically crippling and perhaps at the verge of being called “failed states”.

Otherwise in the next decade, understanding what innovation technology does, how to use it and where its limitations lie will prove critical for those running businesses, working in firms and providing public services.

As a result, government policy-makers at all levels would do well to appreciate its implications.

As one way of catching up with technological trends as well as globalization, the East African countries held a summit held in Kampala-Uganda http://www.asenti.org

The Summit aimed goals were to create a platform which enhances idea sharing and interaction amongst sectors in order for entrepreneurs to be a catalyst for innovation and economic growth in Africa and the world at large.

In conclusion, a point was reached that the future of any economy especially in Africa setting, lies on greatly on entrepreneurial and innovation mind-set.

It is therefore a great idea that Entrepreneurs or producers, of course empowered by their respective Governments, should spare some ample time with the potential clients and gain an understanding of what they exactly desire and their actual expectations to give a clear direction on perhaps motivation for new inventions and innovation that would probably be relevant in a particular Economy though some businesses often don’t see a clear link between innovation management and profitable growth.

Probably in such cases, it is often worth using appropriate case studies of similar companies or industrial sectors to help put ‘innovation’ into context.

We therefore ought to know that;

  • Innovation drives the productivity and performance of business, and can help you grow and improve your business.
  • Normally, Innovation calls for a flesh design thinking (re-design), improving or replacing business processes to increase efficiency and productivity which creates avenues for production of unique products.
  • Consumers or Customers are so significant in determining levels of innovation in a particular Economy and therefore consulting and engaging them for great ideas especially on their testes and preferences is very fundamental especially an infant stage.

References:

1. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN-hso_voeI, n.d.) 2.<http://www.docshare.com/doc/103365/Exploring-Corporate-Strategy-in-Marks-and-Spe&gt; (n.d) [16 June 2011]

3. (http://www.asenti.org/, 2017)

4. Chetty, S., & Campbell, H.C. (2003). Paths to Internationalization among Small and Medium-sized Firms – A Global versus Regional Approach. European Journal of Marketing, 37, 796-820.

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The understanding and use of “Lean canvas” in the creation of new knowledge for Innovation.

A Lean canvas refers to the adaptation of business modal that promises an actionable and entrepreneur-focused business plan.

http://www.ashmaurya.com/2012/02/why-lean-canvas/

With its various segments, namely; Problem (issue at hand that needs a solution)

  • Solution (Mitigation measures to solve the existing problem)
  • Customer segments (What category/group of clients is one targeting)
  • Channels (Ways in which one tends to deliver specific goods to the clients)
  • Cost structure (what costs are involved in the process)
  • Key metrics etc, in my group exercise, we discussed and brainstormed of our 2 products (starters /project products-details withheld) by the use of “Lean canvas” and below were our findings.

lean canvas

I should be observed that in order for innovators to take the right courses of action for their business, there is a number of distinct processes which are complementary pieces of a large “canvas” that have to be considered in order to come up with the most desirable and competitive product.

The information behaviors that “canvas” holds, is analyzed in each approach and is linked into a richer explanation of information used in businesses or organizations.

Through knowledge creation and use of this “canvas”, I learned that the insights of individuals especially customers/clients should be converted into knowledge that can be used to design new products or improve performance.

canvas

A guiding sample of a business model Canvas

The effects of culture on innovation and design thinking

As I dug deep in search for more knowledge into various books and journals of Innovation and Design thinking, I “landed” on a statement by one consultant by the names of Peter Drucker who once said that “Culture eats strategy for lunch.”

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This means that we can come up with all the strategies that we wish but it’s our corporate culture that ultimately drives the success of any business or idea.

Therefore, it is always wise for us to keep a close observation of our corporate cultures otherwise, our teams might possess brilliant ideas but unless we have a reliable process to grow and sustain a creative culture, these ideas may never see the light of day.

To this above, there are various ways of instilling a corporate culture that any Innovator/Inventor must put to use or practice.

  • The management style. For example, if the manager uses the controlling style, the company is perceived to want immediate results whereas, if the manager uses the leadership style, the company is perceived to rank employees high on the priority list.
  • Word of mouth. This could involve telling your employees about your company’s founder.
  • Managerial climate. Together with the management style, the actions of a manager are essential in establishing a corporate culture. For example, the actions and reactions of the manager pertaining employees’ discipline, support, rewards, and concerns have a great effect.
  • Company policies and standards. These can be a great impact on the reputation of the company. For example, the practice of the company to emphasize the aspect of taking a customer as “number one” priority portrays the fact that the companies care about its customers

blog6.It is, therefore, a good practice for teams to learn and apply the aspect of culture into innovation and design thinking, a reliable process that supports ongoing ideation and helps build creative cultures.

Talking about how to innovatively save the cycling society

Time and again, some cyclists are troubled with how to show the drivers, fellow cyclists, and pedestrians on how to alert them by indicating their next branch off point/s.

In my group, in a given time frame, we tasked ourselves to find a solution to the above problem so we could help our society.

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As we discussed and carried out our group field and physical study, we found out that a good number of cyclists actually do not have indicators on their bikes and therefore resort to using their hands to show other road users their next direction which may result into loss of control by the cyclist, and may result into accidents hence loss of life.

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 Cyclists trying to alert other road users about their next turn points

To avoid would be remedied, we suggested and came up with the idea of designing reflective indicators. These indicators would be powered by a dynamo, with a complete circuit connection that would be triggered by the power button placed to adjacent to the handlebars, upon the cyclist, a particular button would be pressed at a time.  Cyclists would buy these indicators as extra spares at an extra but affordable cost, all aimed at safeguarding their lives.

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A Sketch drawing of the proposed reflective indicators (In red colour)

This would be more applicable especially to late night cyclists and on quite busy roads to avoid speeding vehicles from accidentally “sweeping” them off the road.                                Cycling in the Dark

“Design thinking as a practical check”

Throughout history, following the design-thinking framework below, skilled designers/thinkers have always applied a human-centric crazy creative techniques to come up with meaningful and effective solutions to solve existing problems.

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Sighting an example of Kingston University Business School building that houses most of our lecture rooms, at first sight, one might get impressed by the works and physical plans/structuring that “Planners/designers” put in place to come up with such a “marvellous building”.

In our class groups, we carried out an exercise where one of our team members had to act as vulnerable/disabled and sat in a wheel chair and then we tried to access commonly visited areas such as Library, coffee shop and the toilets.

To our surprise, unbelievably, we discovered that the so called “state of art facility” gives hardships to vulnerable colleagues to freely use some facilities…perhaps one would say that “the original designers lucked enough innovative ideas”.

We came up with a pictorial presentation as shown below where the circled area (in red) were the most bad spots ranging from narrow corridors, defunct lifts, wrongly placed doors and automatic door switches, unlevelled grounds, among others.

 

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At the end of this assessment, we learnt/realized that;

  • There is always need for practical participation if a design thinker or Innovator is to establish or make any assessment.
  • Round table or inn house decision making does not give the exact picture of the whole situation.
  • Of course, working in groups or teams is the best approach to tackling technical scenarios.
  • There is always need for more investigative research and coming up with different prototype before any final presentation.

In Conclusion, we live in an era of experiences, and we’ve come to have high expectations for these experiences. They are becoming more complex in nature as information and technology continues to evolve. Each evolution comes with new sets of unmet needs and therefore more critical and practical thinking and assessment should be inevitable as design thinking solves problems and increases the probability of success.

Entrepreneurship & Growth ideas in Design Thinking

In yet another class (Entrepreneurship and Growth of Innovation Business) assignment, we were asked to pull out a piece of paper and transform it into different objects. This we were to do it in just five minutes.

I quickly pulled out one and lots of ideas ran through my head, thinking of what particular objects I could quickly come up with.

I had to rethink in a fresh perspective way. I quickly reflected back in junior school where we used to play about with pieces paper to come up with different shapes such as box shapes, aeroplane shapes, box shapes and boat shapes.

It had been pretty long ever since I last played about with pieces of paper but I skilfully had to came up with some shapes (boat, funnel and box) as below.

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From this exercise, I learnt that;

  • Regularly, an innovator should look at opportunities and turn ideas into action, inject creativity into every touch point, and develop strategies for innovation.
  • Focuses on identifying new parallels, patterns and variations to generate fresh ideas and the recommendations should be based on sound logic and principles.
  • There are so many unexploited opportunity that surround us.
  • Even the smallest thing that one might think has no use of value, can easily be turned into a valuable product/s.
  • If you are a starting Innovator, you can start small or start by looking at the available opportunities around you as you can easily come up with.
  • An Entrepreneur, where resources allow, should not limit him/herself to only producing on commodity but rather find ways of using the same raw-materials to produce a different commodity with the same technology and raw-materials.

For more information on how to become a critical thinker in innovation, visit; (Falcone, 2014)

http://playbook.amanet.org/sample-creativity-and-innovation-phrases-for-performance-appraisal/

Innovation lessons focus.

With great concern, I have learnt that there is an urgent need for both individuals and public institutions to be ahead of the game in championing innovation and its processes and be fully aware of innovation technology and its potential towards economic development of any state.

b 2

Institutions must focus more on vocational training rather than simply preparing students for office jobs.

Over the last few years, it has become evident that without innovation/innovative entrepreneurs, states would be economically crippling and perhaps at the verge of being called “failed states”.

Otherwise in the next decade, understanding what innovation technology does, how to use it and where its limitations lie will prove critical for those running businesses, working in firms and providing public services.

As a result, government policy-makers at all levels would do well to appreciate its implications.

As one way of trying to catch up with technological trends and globalization, the east African countries had a summit held in Kampala-Uganda www.asenti.org

This Summit’s main goals are to create a platform which enhances idea sharing and interaction among

sectors in order for the entrepreneurs to be a catalyst for innovation and economic growth in Africa.

It was concluded that the future of any economy/country especially in Africa, lies on great entrepreneurial and innovation mind-set.

It is therefore a great idea that Entrepreneurs/producers, of course empowered by their respective Governments, to spare time with the potential clients and gain an understanding of their desires/needs to give a clear direction on perhaps motivation for new inventions and innovation that will be relevant in a particular Economy though some businesses often don’t see a clear link between innovation management and profitable growth.

Probably in such cases, it is often worth using appropriate case studies of similar companies or industrial sectors to help put ‘innovation’ into context.

b2

We therefore ought to know that;

 

  • Innovation drives the productivity and performance of business, and can help you grow and improve your business.
  • Normally, Innovation calls for a flesh design thinking, improving or replacing business processes to increase efficiency and productivity which creates avenues for production of unique products.
  • Consumers/Customers are the major drivers of innovation in an Economy and therefore should be consulted at an early stage.

bb2

 

My first step to Innovation

A

As part of my (our) class assignment, we were given a task to assess the different prone and cons that different people found with their particular shoes that they wore and thereafter, find mitigation measures to any challenge(s) that we would find.
I together with my team traversed the school premises for this new discovery exercise. We interacted with 8 students (5 females and 3 males) and 2 males-members of staff. In our discoveries, we found out that majority wore particular shoes due to not only choice, but rather to other factors such as; price, weather predictions, comfort, maintenance costs, flexibility, multipurpose, among others.

During this survey, we got concerned with one student-Sarah, who told us that she both “loved and hated” her shoes. I found it so fascinating and expeditiously asked her to explain further. “I love these particular shoes because they are of a perfect fit and make me appear decent especially when I am wearing long pants, but it is totally the opposite when I wear short outfits”, she expounded.

This was our key note of concern that attracted our attention, prompting us to forge a way forward in respect of finding a solution to Sarah’s problem. As we expedited in our group, members had various suggestions on what kind of kind of shoes we should opt for, but we later settled for sneaker shoes that would solve Sarah’s problem, perhaps, as well as other people that could be with similar challenges.

B

We were in agreement that we should come up with shoes that can be sold with “spare parts” that is, a pair of spare extra carpets/inner soles with same shoes shape but of different height sizes (Measuring 5 and1 centimetre respectively), with their accommodative provision on the shoes to allow possible different height-size adjustments.
It would then depend on user’s (Sarah) choice to pick and fix her shoes with a particular inner sole depending on how she would wish to appear -shorter or taller.

C
What an interesting exercise it was…, especially at a point of group discussion. Suddenly, I realized that team work eases tasks whatsoever, as different members came up with different brilliant ideas and we easily and quickly came up with different prototypes both in drawings, paper material…and we all agreed of the standard formats. Designing and coming up with drawings was easy as one of a colleague is a graduate of Art and Craft Design from one the Universities in India.

D

Designing and coming up with drawings was easy as one of a colleague is a graduate of Art and Craft Design from one the Universities in India.

I highly commend my module lecturer for such brilliant coaching techniques of practical and group based exercises that equip us with real hands-on experiences and core concepts of the course.

E

It is absolutely a great opportunity for me to belong to such an innovative class, and I hope to “borrow a leaf” and transfer knowledge from this assignment, and more to come, into making real future sustainable project(s)

 

One step at a time……!

H

 

To View different processes and ideas, click Sneaker shoes

Google, 2015. http://www.instructables.com/file/FS6DY2KGJQEI4WE/. [Online]
Available at: http://www.instructables.com/file/FS6DY2KGJQEI4WE/
[Accessed 10 2017].
Google, 2016. Shoe Parts Diagram. [Online]
Available at: http://sneakerfactory.net/sneakers/2017/06/shoe_parts_diagram/