Dragons’ Den is coming – 10 days to go!

Dragons Den

The purpose of  Dragons’ Den is to give you an opportunity to evaluate if your business idea is something that is wanted by your audience, is capable of making a profit and possible to accomplish in the time given.

Sounds identical to your Feasibility Study/Bright Ideas entry? Indeed!

You will present to your peers as well as a panel of judges. All teams must be present for all presentations.

In preparation for your Dragons’ Den, you will complete the Bright Ideas competition entry form as your feasibility study and submit for competition AND on StudySpace by 2 December. Over the years, teams in this module won £1000s in prize money with this assignment, so it may be a source of funding for your business if successful.

Feasibility study will not be marked as it is a formative assessment, but you will get real feedback from real experts, so do your best!

Here is how it works:

You will have 5 minutes (and not a second more) to present your idea. You can NOT use slides of any sort. We like prototypes, posters and props –  things you can bring on your back!

You will be “marked” on each category on the Bright Ideas form:

1) Elevator Pitch
Did you clearly explain what you are selling, in a compelling and direct way at the start?

2) The need or problem you are addressing, & the target group
Have you provided key information about the problem or need you have identified, and the market or group of people who experience the problem? Who will buy / use your product or service?

3) The product/ service
Did you provide an outline of the product / service or project and how it meets the identified needs of your market segment? How does it work? What are its key features and how does it benefit the target market?
(storytelling/product demos are useful here!)

4) Alternatives & Competitors
Did you demonstrate an understanding of who your competitors are? Did you then explain how your product or service is different from what is already available in the market? Did you also explain why customers should buy from you, rather than your competitors?

5) Market entry
Did you explain how you will attract your FIRST customers? How will your product/service be made available or distributed to your target market/audience? What longer term plans do you have? How could it expand or grow?

6) Overall Presentation
Did you, as a team, demonstrate excellent presentation skills needed by entrepreneurs? Will the judges remember your presentation?

Here is the feedback sheet that our judges will be using: DRAGONS’ DEN FEEDBACK SHEET 


Know and understand what your business is and what it does really well. Judges are people, too – don’t bore them, engage them.

Make use of the Feasibility Study Guidelines and think about your financials – judges are bound to ask a few questions about costs and where you are getting the money from. Be prepared for those questions.

Practice, practice, and practice your presentation as a team. Each team member needs to say something to contribute to the presentation. You need to look and sound coordinated as a team. Show that you are all playing your roles on the team. Also, decide how you are going to answer judges’ questions. What questions do you think they will ask you? Practice.

Avoid business management jargon. Don’t lecture the judges on theory. It is annoying and you will trap yourself. Judges know what it all means far better than you do. You don’t want to find yourself answering questions that you don’t know how to answer.

Bring your product, or your prototype if the product isn’t ready. Think when you are going to show it to the judges.

Dress to look the part. Dress to look like a team. For some teams, this will mean dressing formal, but this dress code may not be appropriate for all teams – it depends on the sort of a business you are. In any case, look like you are serious about your business (because you are, right?). You will also feel better and more confident if you look the part.

NEVER argue with judges.  LISTEN. Even if you don’t agree with what they are saying to you as part of their feedback, you should never argue with them. If you have something smart and valid to reply – great, but please keep calm, and stay polite. Dragons will mark you down if they think you have issues with your attitude. They need to like you, not only your idea. You are selling yourself to them as much as you are selling your idea.

Have fun. SMILE.

Mobile phones off & away. No exceptions.

You will present to your peers as well as a panel of judges. All teams must be present for the entire Dragons’ Den session 2PM – 6PM. No exceptions. 

If you have any questions, please post them as comments below.

See you all Friday!

Student questions answered: what is the Feasibility Study?


I’m writing with reference to the assessments we need to complete in the Design Thinking module. My question is related to the Feasibility Study. In our Mace Kingston blog, is indicated in brackets “formative assessment, Bright Ideas Competition Entry, 2 December”. Just to clarify, is the Feasibility study the form that we have to complete for the Bright Ideas Competition? If it is not, could you please explain to us a little more about it and the content that should be included. Looking forward to hearing your comments.

(Please also see the 17 November blog post)



Purpose: To determine if your business idea is something that is wanted by your audience, is capable of making a profit and possible to accomplish in the time given. You will submit your feasibility study as your Bright Ideas Entry on 2 December, and present your feasibility study during a Dragon’s Den type presentation to a panel of judges on 9 December. In previous years, teams from this module won £1000s in prize money with this assignment! You will need to:

1) Register and start completing the Bright Ideas form https://beta.younoodle.com/competition/bright_ideas_competition_2016

2) Complete the Bright Ideas form for your team business. This is now your Feasibility Study for your business.

3a) Submit 1 copy of your Feasibility Study to us via StudySpace, under Assignment Drop Box, Feasibility Study Turnitin. Only 1 submission per team is needed. The Turnitin assignment box for the Feasibility Study is now open on StudySpace under Assignment Drop Box. 

3b) Submit 2nd copy of your Feasibility Study for the Bright Ideas Competition, here: https://beta.younoodle.com/competition/bright_ideas_competition_2016

DEADLINE for both 3a and 3b: 2 DECEMBER 2016 by 17:00 (good practice is to try to do it before the deadline…)

4) If you have another idea (not as a team, but as an individual), start another application online and submit your idea to Bright Ideas. You can do it individually with the Startup Weekend ideas and some of MVP ideas! Easy!

5) Present (pitch) your team business idea in our Dragons’ Den on the 9th. Info on the Dragons’ Den will be published this week.

Creative Confidence, a review by Mick Smyth

At the beginning of each class our course director Janja Song kicks things off with a question. Nothing too serious or strenuous, but something that must be answered by all, a way to get everyone involved.  Last Friday the question posed to us was ‘do we procrastinate?’pro

I am a procrastinator. As I write this I notice my mind dancing with the different distractions around my flat. Will I make some coffee, play the guitar, look at my phone – it’s the war of art. Like me, most of my classmates admit to this personality defect. But what if we ‘redefine the enemy’? Instead of calling it procrastination, we relabel it resistance? What if instead of it being perceived as a personal defect, we view it as something that can be overcome? By re-imagining the problem creatively, we can find new ways to tackle it.

This is the concept behind Creative Confidence, a guide to innovation and creativity by David and Tom Kelley.book-cover

David, a founder at IDEO, and Tom, partner at IDEO and executive fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business are brothers. The idea for Creative Confidence was conceived after David had a sobering scare with cancer in 2007. The pair decided to take a trip away and followed that by working on a project together, something that could be the result of their combined backgrounds and their upbringing. The book itself is a product of innovation and creativity. They didn’t begin by sitting down in their office to write a first draft, instead they got outside to experience the culture of another city to see what it could inspire. It is this premise that sits within Creative Confidence. The removal of fear to do things a little differently, because as said by David and Tom, “normalcy is overrated”.

The key to IDEO and the d.school in Stanford University, both run by the Kelley brothers, is their human centred approach and their belief that we are all creative. Creativity is something that we lose over time, through an education system that punishes mistakes. David and Tom say, don’t be afraid of failure or uncertainty, embrace it. Take it on like the child they describe playing on the slide for the first time and watch fear turn to excitement. This rhetoric repeats in the book many times, a key message they are trying to hit home. They tell us that creative geniuses never-failing is a myth, that ‘failure sucks, but instructs’ and don’t say ‘no’, say, ‘I could if I…’. Explained simply, they demonstrate through video game users. When Tom’s son Sean got the Tony Hawkkid video game one Christmas, the family watched as Sean’s on-screen character repeatedly smashed into wall after wall and Sean himself ended up on the floor, but he was not failing, because in the world of video games, Sean knew he was on a path to learning. It is the confidence that allows him to try, fail, try again and succeed.

I know right about now you’re probably thinking that confidence alone will not make you succeed, and of course you would be right, but it is the beginning and through this beginning that the Kelley’s then prompt the reader to try other weapons in their arsenal. As I am writing, I have taken some advice on board. I have surrounded myself with a ‘supportive network’. OK, yes, it is not in the human form, but something as simple as a cup of coffee and silence is helping me concentrate – get the surrounding culture and environment right.

When I have my support network in place to write my blog, my next step is to take the route of ‘the big easy’- the easy win. I break down what I need to do into sections and straight away a huge daunting task looks more manageable.

But most importantly, take the ‘creative confidence to go’, get off your chair and onto your feet and start trying new ways to tackle things like prototyping ideas, mind-maps,mind-map the fifteen seconds of brilliance, the thirty circles exercise, I like/I wish, speed dating, nickname warm-up, a customer journey map, the dream/gripe session and the wallet exercise.

Don’t let tradition get in the way of innovation as Kodak did by being afraid to take a risk on the expansion of the digital world. Ask open-ended questions, not too broad, not too narrow and put together a bug list of problems you come across that perhaps you can find a solution for.

Take a step forward and read this book, change how you approach problems and possibly change your life, and overall, embrace creative confidence.

By Mick Smyth