The term design thinking, people generally refer to design in the fields of arts or thinking in the broad meaning. However, when it talks about business, design thinking is something more or less than designing and thinking itself. In business context, design has a similar sense of style (e.g., brand design and product design) and composition (e.g., organization design and strategy design). Thinking is how organization can understand and prepare for complexity in the pace of change. More significantly, King and Vickery (2013) demonstrate that design thinking is related to creativity in a way that business learns to become media of design thinking. In other words, they will embed and transform power of creativity into business operation and management. Furthermore, the application of design thinking is currently seen as an opportunity for organization to deal with organizational and managerial issues in a way of analytical thinking.
Figure 1 which is created by Bauer and Eagen (cited in King and Vickery, 2013) presents the three movements of designing:
- Understanding (Immersing and Redefining)
- Dreaming (Imaging and Opting)
- Building (Prototyping and Presenting)
Even though the product design is physical goods or service, it is the origin of new and rich experience. It starts from the thought, which is action in rehearsal, to lived world with newfound possibility. This movement is led by imagination which return to advance the embodied experience of the real world.
What do ‘design thinking’ and ‘creativity’ actually mean?
How these two words are related in some way?
Before studying at Kingston University, it seems to be an abstract to me. Until the present, I did not say that I understood profoundly, but much better than before. My group product is Touch, transportation gloves for London commuters (particularly Oyster Card) under the company name ‘Sales Express’. Brown (2008) recommends how to make design thinking part of innovation drill. As I got experiences from this module regarding to design thinking, the process of running a business links with the design process in the figure 1 above. Observing users and then understanding their issue in their own environment are the starting point of design process. This does not mean to use problem-solving approach, but ‘creative problem solving’ to add value into product which enhance customer experience and quality of their life. Next, we use our imagination to generate a large set of alternative solution concept. I experienced that all idea is useful, but it is also essential to brainstorm idea with many people to get something new. Then, we transform our imagination onto a prototype in order to present and get some feedback from others’ point of view. The final step is offering solution by creating physical product that touch customers’ mind. It is apparent that creativity is a core of contemporary business in these days. All in all, there are still a long way to develop skill and knowledge that we have gained from Designing a Business Course. Some said the business that we operated during the study was not real. Inside my thought, sometimes it actually was whereas other sides of my brain said just do and act like it was in the real market place. Ultimately, I chose to believe in the second thought. As a result of working hard, two rewards (Best Display Awards and Best Overall Trade Fair) can prove a high effort of operating Touch gloves business during two semesters.
An urban clothing store in Thailand:
my past experience in business sector
To make connection with the work in this course, it is worth to refer to my previous experience when I was in Thailand. ‘Twenty Something’, an urban street clothes and accessories, is my past work of running my own small business. I have many roles in my store since there are only my elder sister and I who worked together. In terms of marketing, I created online platforms such as Instagram, twitter and Facebook to engage with customers. As a salesperson, getting a useful feedback while attending events gave me a good opportunity to communicate with customers about their demand. It also leads to future development or a right direction of company. In creative fields, I edited good-looking photos to enhance the value of products specially selling via social networking sites. Additionally, designing the idea of store, creating window display and arrange products in store and at events were valuable experiences for me. To continue doing this, I applied all of these skills to Touch gloves business. Nevertheless, the lack of management skill is the reason of what I want to improve during the study. From management class, I learnt how to manage and operate business by considering macro and micro environment and cooperating across departments in organization. Every module has a strong connection; however, it depends on how students can utilise knowledge that we have gained into real practice in Design a Business course.
Learning from failure
As pointed out the important of creativity and design thinking, I have applied both terms in designing a business module that students have a great opportunity to run a group business. Moreover, it is necessary to mention about our company’s failure. Our first product is ‘Pic-table’ which is small table that has a picture frame for multi purposes such as table for laptop users and decoration on the wall. Fortune and Peters (1997) argue that learning from failure is an important factor in organizational development. From this statement, after our company failed to design Pic-table product in the pre-producing process, we did not hesitate to change to new product. My colleagues and I attended event of Bright Idea Future. We learnt how to identify and look carefully at several kinds of problems. After that, the idea of Touch gloves is the result of brainstorming of dairy issue of people who live in London especially in the winter. Every path to success begins with a great idea. I strongly believe in our product and this is our strength.
According to Consultant Ross Dawson (2000, cited in King and Vickery, 2013),
‘a knowledge resource is any from of intellectual or knowledge capital – human capital (skills and knowledge), structural capital (skills and knowledge), structural capital (process and systems) or relationship capital (trust and understanding) – that is mutually created and shared, especially by people who work in a collaborative way.
This statement is related to our study and practices of what/how students have developed their various kinds of knowledge capital. Obviously, it is key resources that drive a design process that associated with what I mentioned in the part of design thinking. The team was formed during the first two or three weeks. We do not know much about each other, just only what field of his or her is good at. My group consists of six members including me. Five of us are Asian. I respect value of diversity that people come from different background. What is difficult to work with many people is that it is hard to getting all participants to contribute. Task is not complex and hard to deal with, but people do. However, the consequence of each work made me realize the significance of collaboration. The works have greater result than individual work since different skilled people are combined to create interesting piece of work. For instance, during trade fair, Yoon, who is fashion designer, and I worked on table display while Ali and Eleven, who are music producers, suggested to entertain customers with their music.
Tedx Talks: The Power of Team – Shawn Stratton
Time management in meetings
Ferner (1995) notes that there are 25 million meeting occur in the United State every single day. Many level of managers spend around one third of their working hours in the meetings, while top executive tends to spend more time than manager. Thus, there is an interesting observation of how efficiently time was used and how the goals of meeting were achieved during meeting. The result of group study presents only 25 per cent participants agreed. While running our group business, my group has meeting frequently. Let’s say approximately once a week or sometimes every 2 weeks in order to keep in touch and update situations and problem that happen each week.
From time to time, I have learnt how to develop the way of meetings which is a key to effective teamwork. Ferner (1995) claims that ‘meetings are the vehicles for the group decision process’ (p. 183). All member accomplish things that individual could not do alone. I found that all of three stages of meetings, which is pre, during and post meeting, is very essential. The first step is preparing information, setting a purpose and dividing works to the right people. During meeting, everyone has to cooperate to achieve a common goal and interact with others such as giving feedback and opinion. This stage might lead to new ideas or development of product and management. Finally, the conclusion is proposed before transforming those ideas into action in the post stage. As shown in infographic below, the relationship between employees can be build during conferences (Goh, 2011). So do I. I can say that some of members who participated meeting and worked together subsequently have a close relationship not only at work, but also in personal life.
‘To get results you have to take some action.’
– Darren Hardy
What I have learnt from this module
(Teamwork, confidence, creative leadership, managing change)
Interestingly, I noticed that confidence is one of crucial characteristic of worker for meeting. Some people do not believe in their potential so that they will not be able to challenge themselves to do something new. In my perspective, I have changed myself in a variety of way in collaboration such as changing from shy person to be more confident while presenting and pitching business concept to unfamiliar audiences, challenging myself to do something that I never did before, and sometimes being in the role of leadership to stimulate everyone to get involve in the process of business when it is in necessary time. I also adopted the knowledge of another ‘Re-Imaging Leadership’ module, in our business management. The new idea of leadership is not about the little, but passion of what you do to lead people in order to reach company’s goal (Godin, 2008). In this fast changing era, new generation of leaders utilize creative thinking to manage change (Puccio et al., 2011). Owing to the time of running business, our group faced many changes such as the change of season from winter to spring, target customer and so on. This could enhance the skill of creativity to think out side the box and managing change in order to be prepared for unexpected situation and issues in long term of business. Drucker (2007) and Jick and Peiperl (2011) stress that adaptability is to reorganise the weakness of organisation in different ways to survive through a turbulent time. Our group has changed the target market from students who live in London to corner shop or souvenir store in order to sell products as much as possible before the ending of winter. To conclude, this is such a practical course which students can integrate skill and knowledge to do real business inside and outside classroom.
‘Goal allow you to control the direction of change in your favour.’
– Brain Tracy
Treleaven (2000) points out that successful entrepreneur like Richard Brandson (Virgin), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) started their business in the teenagers or while studying. Although their first business often failed, they are still learning and developing until achieving the goal. Taking Bill Gates as an example, he is the archetypal student entrepreneur who is interested in computers. Gates started making money from the creation of a teletype computer terminal at Lakeside Scholl in Seattle.
According to Gates’s speech (cited in Carlson, 2012), ‘I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all. Now he is an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft’. This speech could be a spirit to every student or young entrepreneur to put high attempt and passion onto their work.
After this course, I as student entrepreneur and business owner still keep developing myself in a variety of skill as mentioned above. When I go back to my country, I will continue working for my brand and apply what I have learnt and experienced during study to my real business. Being in a group of diversity helps me to understand the realistic working environment. In this coming future, I am planning to apply a job in famous organisation in the fields of branding or marketing, while running my clothing store as a second job. Hopefully, these priceless experiences could direct me to work more effectively.
Brown, T. (2008) Design Thinking. Available at: https://hbr.org/2008/06/design-thinking (Accessed: 15 April 2015)
Carlson, N. (2012) 20 Quotes that Reveal How Bill Gates Become the World’s Richest Man. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-quotes-2012-11?op=1&IR=T (Accessed: 20 April 2015)
Drucker, P. F. (2007) Management Challenges for the 21st Century. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Ferner, J. D. (1995) Successful Time Management: A Self-Teaching Guide. 2nd edn. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Fortune, J. and Peters, G. (1997) Learning from Failure. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Godin, S. (2008) Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. London: Piatkus.
Goh, D. (2011) The Irony of Meetings. Available at: http://www.youngupstarts.com/2011/10/18/infographic-the-irony-of-meetings/ (Accessed: 19 April 2015)
Jick, T. D. and Peiperl, M. (2011) Managing Change: Cases and Concepts. New York: McGraw-Hill.
King, L. W. and Vickery, J. (2013) Experiencing Organisation: New Aesrhetic Perspectives. Oxfordshire: Libri Publishing.
Puccio, G. J., Mance, M. and Murdock, M. C. (2011) Creative Leadership: Skills That Drive Change. 2 edn. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.