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Design Thinking & Entrepreneurship began with blogging and it ends with this last entry. There should be so much to reflect on and 2,000 words may not be enough, or too much. But here it goes.
When I quit my job at Dow Jones Newswires in Seoul and moved to London all sorts of thoughts went through my mind: What will I do here? Where should I go?… I had never lived in a European country before, so I did not know about the culture in the region. I simply did not think about it. I knew that I could not be at home all the time, but I did not have the support to continue working here. Thus, my option was to go back to school. I thought it would be a great way of understanding England and her culture.
I began searching for school and was ready to apply for a course in journalism, but found postgraduate program in Creative Industries and Creative Economy. I was drawn to take on MACE because I wanted to experience something I was not used to and it was a challenge. But what kept me going was the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. (1) I shall remain open minded and try to think outside the box, away from derivatives, disclosures, company earnings, foreign exchange rates, macroeconomic policies… I would be leaving my “comfort zone,” and help enrich my writing.
The first day of class began with an eager anticipation that I will be part of a team to set and run a business. All sorts of ideas ran through my mind on what kind of business I should do and eyes gazed at fellow classmates, trying to visualize my team members. It was rather difficult to do because I had not expected the class to be this international. There were students from everywhere in the world and diverse background.
USER model, Prototyping, Empathy, Creativity

During the member searching period, the class also had lessons to help launch business ideas. The first out of textbook experience was prototyping: do not talk, just do it. As Osterwalder and Pigneur would say “prototyping is a powerful tool for developing new, innovative business models. Like visual thinking, it makes abstract concepts tangible and facilitates the exploration of new ideas.” (2) We also learned about something that I had never heard of before the USER model. (3)
In setting up a business model we have to consider user, system, establish and realize steps. The meaning did not sink in by listening to the definition in class, but it was understood better when we were on the street trying to apply the theory. First of all, for the user, we would have to consider cognitive, emotion and physical elements. The triangular model, consisting of Object, Roles, Community and Rule, was an intriguing process to consider. As a design thinker, I have to identify all of them before coming up with a prototype and go through the trial and error process. This would be something to consider when I exercise my entrepreneurial skills, which hopefully would be within 10 years.
I also had to identify my passion because Corrine suggested that a business tends to be more successful when members have a common passion about something. Sir Ken Robinson on TED.com said that if you are passionate about something and get involved, time flies fast. My passion is about well being of my children and that incorporates everything, from education to saving this planet. So that took care of finding people with common goal. It could be just about anyone in class, except for fellow classmates who specifically told me that he did not like children. However, in the process, I discovered Ken Robinson and many of his speeches on Ted.com, including “Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.” That has changed many of my thinking and thoughts on creativity and on how to raise my children into becoming a better person. Robinson also simplified the definition of creativity: “Creativity is an imaginative process with outcome that are original and value.” (4) That would be the basis of my creativity – I will not just imagine, but put it into action and create value with its originality.
The first semester went rather well for me, trying to soak in all the information. It felt as though I was really back in school, considering things on academic point of view. It was a pleasure learning about empathy and quick and dirty prototyping, etc. Empathy is important because it meant difference between a user-centered solution and a business-centered solution. “Empathy is the invisible hand that rules the world” was intriguing to watch. I also enjoyed incorporating Ted.com and YouTube viewing in class, but later it became too excessive and repetitive. I think using visual resources that can easily be accessed outside the class, such as YouTube and Ted.com, remain a one time experience in class and not throughout a semester because it may seem as though the lecturer is too lazy to talk or teach in class and resorting to the use of these open sites to fill time. But before such though came through my mind, I found “Prototyping the bike coffee holder” by Stanford students was very interesting and I realized that communication and actual doing were very important in realizing any notion in brain. This was something that I did try to practice in our 3J+Z business team.
Team Work, Trust, Respect
When the moment came in choosing our member, I decided I would take a long-term view. I would be returning to the Republic of Korea (I do not say South Korea because that is not official) and have more chance of working with people from China. That was the main reason for my group member formation. I wanted to experience what it would be like working with the Chinese people. Thus, Jean Chu and Chen Y Zhu were the sample that represented entire China population.
Working in a team was not easy because everyone has their own thoughts and schedule. But all of us pulled together and easily reached consensus. Working in a smaller group was a bit easier than a larger group because it was more efficient to communicate and did not need to raise one’s voice to make oneself heard. In a smaller group, everyone got involved, but in a larger group more than one was left out or easily became an outcast. If I was to form the group again, I think three is enough.
I had the most work experience, thus I was in charge of leading the group, so Catherine’s Managing Creativity and Innovation came in handy and the reading materials recommended by her. I was inspired by Amabile’s How to Kill Creativity in which she argued that a leader has to gain respect and build trust to make the creative cluster working as well as exercising expertise and get people motivated. (5)
I also liked Pixar study case article because it showed what makes a business so successful. Ed Catmull is a cofounder of Pixar and the president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studio. He writes in the article what it takes to drive a creative people into being a successful one. Everyone in the creative industries is talented and enabling them to work effectively would take trust. (6) I would liked to have more trust in each other. Later on, in the group, I worked better with people that I could trust and respect.
As Ross’s title goes “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” (7) it will be nice to work in the creative industry if we could just find the right cluster and work environment.

I think our team had an easier time because we had a tangible product and cash flow could be easily managed. However, this is something I would have to consider in future because I would like to be in a service of publishing online news site. I think, having worked in this environment, I can probably take on other challenges with better ease. I am better equipped to deal with this growing new economy, in which “individual exercising their imagination and exploiting its economic value.” (8) Perhaps I could exercise my imagination and come up with a better idea than Rupert Murdoch and his quest of expanding newspaper business online. (9)

Thinking Back

I think my expectation was set up so high during the first three weeks of Corrine’s class, but the steam ran out after the first semester. If we had the fair in the first semester, things may have been differently. I think we could have had something to work on during the winter break. The two month void was a bit too long to hold continuum in business planning. Having two fairs in less than two months did not give enough time to make complete necessary changes.
Through it all, I have learned that trust and respect are the most important value in keeping people together. Furthermore, communications is very important. Getting a message across is easier said than done. I had known that clear line of communication is important, but that was strongly supported during this module. It did not apply just to our business group, but also during lectures. Assignment assessment explanation was not clear and respond to questions were not crisp. It would have been better if we had a printed version at the start of the class. I enjoyed studying with such diverse group of people with much energy. I would not have minded working with any of them.
I think blogging has helped me as a writer. If it was not a homework, I would probably not have logged on and focus on writing. Even though I enjoy writing, it is very stressful.
What Future Holds For Me After This
I thought I was the most uncreative person, critical of any task that came along. However even the creative teams need uncreative people. (10) Thus, I will not be discouraged and continue my pursuit of finding my place in the creative industries.
At the start of the semester in introducing myself to class, I said several times that I was interested in setting up my own business in the news industry. However, after completing this module, I do not think that I will be doing that any time soon. It takes careful planning and much resource.
I plan to return to my old occupation and hopefully write business news again. I think as time goes by I will figure out what this module helped me in. I have attended every class and listened to all lectures. I tried to assess things with open mind. I have exercised my patience. Things tend to work out in the end, we just do not know it right away.
I have added so many friends on Facebook and followed many on Twitter. I will keep a tab on them from time to time. I think I have interesting group of people for interesting newsfeeds. For now, I am just glad that it is all over. I will not look back.

(1) Frost, R. (2002) The Road Not Taken and Other Poems, Dover Publications
(2)Osterwalder, Alexander (2010), Business Model Generation, John Wiley & Sons
(3) Beaumont Corrine, the User Model
(4) Robinson, Ken (2001), Out of Our Minds – Learning to be Creative, Capston Publishing:London
( 5)Amabile, T., (1998), How to Kill Creativity, Harvard Business Review, Sept Oct
( 6)Catmull, E., (2008) How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity, Harvard Business Review, Sept
(7) Ross, Andrew(2009), Nice Work If You Can Get It, New York: New York University
(8) Howkins, John (2007), The Creative Economy, London: Penguine
(9) Allan, Stuart (2006), Online News,Berkshire:Open University Press
(10) Bilton, Chris (2007), Management and Creativity, Oxford:Blackwell

So little time, so many tasks to complete.
I like doing things by myself, so I decided I’ll use the resources stored in my hard drive, along with some picture/idea input from Jungrim and make a slightly over 30-sec advert.
However, it turns out I can’t upload wmv files unless I spend some money, which I won’t do.
So, I’ll link it to You Tube.

And to complement any lack of talent in that advert, I thought we could compensate by outsourcing.

Here is another advert made by acquaintances in China.

It was the first fair I have attended as a student. I had set up a booth 12 years ago in Hong Kong to market Korea’s first english satellite channel at CASBAA. I went through the whole charade of reserving a booth, printing out brochure, contacting clients, setting up meeting there, booking hotel and flights, etc. I had realized through the experience that in television business, everything is about representation, which costs lots of money. Well, I guess that goes for any other business. Moreover, I saw celebrity anchors from CNN Asia there as well. Enough said about my past.

I enjoyed the energy shown at the student fair with people walking around, being polite and showing interest. 3J+Z was there to promote product and not so much to do with selling. Because we are students, there was no pressure to actually sell the product. For us, there was no sunk-in cost other than the insurance/fee paid to Young Enterprise. Thus, the whole experience was more to do with understanding how things are handled and learning to open line of communication with clients.

 The most fierce competition there, however, was getting the right place. Zhui and I were there even before 4 to secure the right spot. Then again, so were few other teams. I liked the position because it wasn’t pressured to make the first great impression, and yet it was ahead of the pack to appeal to incomers at first hand, when they are very much interested to find out what people are selling.

I think our table had a very nice presentation, but fault lied in that people weren’t so sure of what we were selling. Something we will need to work on for the April fair. However, potention consumers grasped the idea quickly once we engaged in a conversation.

After wrapping up Zhui invited Jungrim and I to her dorm and cooked a very nice chinese meal. If any of you want homemade chinese dish and don’t mind sitting at not so clean dorm kitchen/dining room, I think Zhui will be more than happy to cook.

A brand shows personality and adds character to a product or service.

When designing a brand/logo, one must consider color, shape, size, etc. Everything needs careful consideration.

3J+Z is first initial of our first name: Jinyoung, Jungring, Jean and Zhui. Well, not so sure about Zhui, but C or Z have near same pronunciation in China.

We weren’t so sure on how to represent ourselves, but decided to go green for symbolic purpose. Green represents nature and we are all about helping to save this Earth by recycling.

We had a logo designed by Jean in November and used during 1st semester, but decided to change because it was deemed primitive. Thus the birth of a new logo presented at the Fair. Jungrim spent a weekend coming up with the font, color, etc. We weren’t sure about the shade of green, but it was perfect when printed on brownish recycled paper. For example, inside of a cereal box.

I printed my business card on such paper and it came out quite nicely, I must say. I hope you like it too.

Yes, I do admit it. Our members are not much of bloggers or web designers. Then again, we are not computer illiterates.

Even before start of the class we are at work preparing for the class and the fair. It’s certainly taking a lot of our time and energy.

Jungrim is setting up our presence on the facebook while I’m working on our business website on wordpress. If anyone out there curious, come and visit ecoloving.wordpress.com

The mentor that I have chosen was abandoned at the age of five and learned to survive by begging and selling pack of gums at a very early age. He once declared bankruptcy and fled Korea because he couldn’t face people asking for their money back. Some 40 years later he is admired in the travel industry for changing the way Koreans travel in main cities in Europe – pioneering a true blue ocean. I didn’t know such travel agency existed until last year in April when I took one of their guided tours offered in London, visiting the British Museum and the National Gallery. The tour guide handed out closed-circuit radio with earphone to the travelers at the meeting point and continuously talked into her microphone for about 8 hours, explaining to us history and episodes involved with the place and arts on display. Before then, the only means of Koreans travelling on holidays abroad was a packaged tour moving together on a chartered bus on a set schedule, mostly shopping and not much about cultural enlightenment. After taking another guided tour with his company in Madrid and Barcelona, I just fell in love with the way he was doing business. I decided there that I would contact the founder and ask him to be my mentor. I didn’t even know his name. Before making an initial contact, I decided to do some research and learn about his work philosophy. Luckily he spoke to a large audience at Ajou University in Korea for more than two hours, and someone was so kind to upload the entire lecture. Apologies, everything is in Korean. (www.ajou.ac.kr/upload/movie/2009-02-01/wmv via http://cafe.naver.com/funcc.cafe?iframe_url=/ArticleRead.nhn%3Farticleid=1249) The founder of Romabike, Baik-gwan Jang, officially started his business in 2000 with four employees in Rome. He didn’t know much about Roman history or cultural knowledge of the place. He gained knowledge while conducting his carefully planned of guided tour. Mr. Jang is very shy and rarely makes public appearance and it is not easy to find articles about his business. He doesn’t advertise and the company website is way too simple. I found out about his great tour through word of mouth. (http://www.romabike.com/) I wrote to him twice and asked him to be my mentor. Being a Korean I knew that he would decline or ignore me completely. Koreans are very humble and seldom agrees to be one’s mentor. He didn’t ignore me though, but kindly declined that he wasn’t someone who could be a mentor. But at least he replied. This isn’t the end though. I know his office in Seoul. It is so close to my home, only 15 minutes walk. When I return to Seoul, I’ll drop by his office. I will continue to write him email and ask him questions, and I suspect that he’ll reply.

3J+Z – you can pick on our name… you can say our idea is nothing new… but overall, we were good, we were practical and we weren’t getting it over our head. We embraced our situation and tried to make it work for us, and we did.

This time around, we made further progress – finding our mentor t0 improve our business plan. We were so lucky. She was so willing to give us a whole bunch of ideas to improve on our business. She is so supportive and she is available on campus.

I have to be level headed here. This is not a place to show off how much I know or how smart I am. I must show what I have learned in class and improve myself in the process. If I know what and why, we’ll have easier time figuring out how.

Dragon’s Den

Slideshow upload of business presentation

Ppt design by Jean Chu – looks like she really loves green to express environmental consciousness

I registered slide share website solely for the purpose of uploading our presentation as required by the class. Don’t know if I’ll ever go there again.  Then again, perhaps in May to give our final presentation to yet another Dragon’s Den (?).

Despite our busy schedules, we meet regularly every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.  This has been of great value and honestly I feel so optimistic after each meeting.

On our first meeting, 4 weeks ago, we talked for an hour and came up with the master plan. We were sitting in a social room exchanging ideas and actually agreed on what our product would be.

We were all international students with tight resources and decided that we won’t be investing cash. We’ll be making something out of nothing.

What better way to do this than using discarded materials. We’ll go for recycling. All we have to do is rummage through rubbish and find the items we want.

We also have a fashion designer, Chenyi, who was eager to create.

And on our fourth meeting, voila, we have our prototype. We actually have made something from recycled materials.

Because we are making products from the recycled materials, everything will be very unique. There won’t be mass production of same design.

Thus, there is no cost involved in creating our product. A huge load off on cashflow pressure. The only big cash input is coming up with 100 pounds for our insurance pay for the Young Entrepreneur program.

There won’t be storage fee, utility fee or rental cost for anything.

And with Jean’s excellent people connection and Lee’s business/finance planning, we won’t be suffering from cash shortage.

Because our brand (3J+Z) isn’t recognized and we are just start-ups, we won’t be able to sell our products to generate huge revenue. Our products will be less costly, mainly calculating in delivery charge, VAT and corporate tax, and possibly retrieving 100 pounds spent to pay our insurance. If we sell our products at places or sites that charges fees, then we’ll have to include that too in pricing.

After switching to paper from broadcasting, I just can’t get myself be re-interested in visual effect. Feel so happy when words come together to make sentences, to phrases, and convey message to the readers.