Enterprise! Workshop: How to create the perfect pitch

In this workshop, you will learn practical tips on how to pitch your idea(s) more confidently as well as how to become a more confident public speaker. Communication skills are essential in all walks of life so how you present yourself and your ideas is vital. You will learn what information you should have in every presentation and be helped to create your story. You will be given the opportunity to practice your pitch during the session and obtain feedback that will help you create a compelling presentation.

Register here!


Wed 29 November 2017
16:00 – 18:00 GMT


Penryhn Road Campus, Room PRJG1007
Kingston University
Kingston Upon Thames


Theories in Practice: Part 2

This post aims to refresh your knowledge of Cultural Historical Activity (CHAT), a theoretical perspective that can be leveraged to sustain the design of products and services. CHAT was first introduced by Engeström (1987).

This theory offers a practical framework for mapping a field of activity:


According to CHAT, subjects represent their intentions as objects (i.e., objectives). To achieve these, they use instruments (tools). Subject, object, and instruments form activities that are embedded into a given community. This is regulated by rules and a division of labour.

For example: the object of the lecturer (subject) is to provide a positive learning experience for students. To this end, they use instruments (e.g., paper, pens, post-its, slides, whiteboards, Virtual Learning Environment). They follow the rules of the University (e.g., timetables) and its division of labor (e.g., among administrators, colleagues, and students). They are embedded in a larger community, such as the UK Higher Education system.

As we have discussed in class, activity systems are ridden with contradictions. These can emerge at any point along the triangle of activity. Designers should embrace contradictions, as they provide opportunities for creative action. By addressing contradictions through the design of innovative products or services, we can generate value for the community.


Identification of contradictions: In-class workshop on Activity Theory

As we are moving on to designing our business models, it is helpful to further leverage our knowledge of activity theory. Zott and Amit noted (2009; p. 5):

“Viewed as an activity system, the business model encompasses the set of activities a firm performs, how it performs them, and when it performs them. Key activities might include training, development, manufacturing, budgeting, planning, sales, and service”

Zott and Amit (2009) suggest themes that can assist in the design of the business model (or activity system). These design themes are value-creation drivers:

Novelty: The design of new activities (content), new ways of linking such activities (structure) and new ways of governing the activities (governance).

Lock In: Activities can be designed also for lock-in – i.e., to keep the users ‘attracted’ to the business model. Lock-ins are, for examples, switching costs.

Complementarity: This is achieved when activities are combined in a bundle that provides more value (as compared to each single activity).

Efficiency: an efficient activity system is designed to reduce transaction costs (e.g., by standardizing the interfaces between activities, or by integrating vertically in order to expand activities).

To stay with the Apple examples (see Theory in Practice: Part 1), ask yourself: How does Apple achieve novelty, lock-in, complementarity and efficiency through its activities?

And how can you design NICE (novel, locking-in, complementary, efficient) business models?

If you are curious about business models as activity system, read: Designing your Future Business Model: An Activity System Perspective by Zott & Amit (2009).

Bright Ideas Workshop and Competition

It’s still possible to register to the Bright Ideas Workshop! Click here to secure your place (and a free slice of pizza). In this workshop, Kingston University students will receive support in preparing their entries to the Bright Ideas Competition.


In addition to being a module requirement for Design Thinking, the Bright Ideas Competition is a great opportunity to receive feedback on your business ideas, and to fund your start-ups. The University offers generous prizes of up to £1,000 for winners!

Need some inspiration? Check out last year’s winners!

performing change

Performing Change was one of the runners-up in last year’s Bright Ideas Competition (image credits: Enterprise)


Understanding AI and its implications

Do we understand AI and its implications well enough?

Are you with Elon Musk who believes AI could lead to WW3 and is urging for AI regulation, or are you leaning towards Bill Gates’ opinion that we’re all panicking?

“The government of UAE appointed its first Minister of Artificial Intelligence in October, days after the UAE’s 2031 AI strategy was unveiled. Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, formerly the Deputy Director of the nation’s Future department, will take on the role. The government aims to harness AI to increase the GDP by 35%, reduce government costs by 50%, implement a robot police force, and improve education by 2031. These plans reflect the UAE’s desire to be the “most prepared” country for artificial intelligence, according to Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammad.

This is the nation that just released plans to establish a 600,000 person-strong city on Mars by 2117. Clearly the UAE isn’t waiting around for the future to arrive. So when a government as future-focused as this one establishes an entire ministry devoted to AI, you’d better believe that this technology is significant and essential to master.” (via TrendWatching.com)

In other news, Sophia the robot is now a citizen of Saudi Arabia and you can watch her speak about her feelings to Reuters’ at Web Summit in Lisbon. This makes Saudi Arabia the first country in the world to grant citizenship to a robot.

Also, “meet the high schooler shaking up Artificial Intelligence” with no undergraduate and graduate degree, see how farmers in India use AI to help them with their crops, laugh as scammers get frustrated with an AI chatbot, and despair over ethics of AI development.

Our MACE16 student Michelle Petersen decided to develop her own understanding of the AI agenda as part of her MACE Personal Research Project, and I am pleased to welcome her to the BS7705 Mapping the Creative Economy class today to talk about her work on “What role can machine learning techniques play in the film industry; and how do UK film practitioners appraise machine learning in filmmaking?”. Michelle’s research tackles a complex topic but delivers real accessible understanding. Michelle presented her research at the 16th International Colloquium on Arts, Heritage, Non-Profit and Social Marketing organised by Kingston Business School and the Academy of Marketing 8 September 2017.

Do you think we understand AI and its implications well enough?

The NOT SO SMART WATCH by Shed Simove

Sheridan ‘Shed’ Simove gave a brilliant speech at Enterprise! Insights last night. The provocative author, entrepreneur, and speaker offered useful tips for prospective entrepreneurs: look at other industries for inspiration, borrow concepts to bring into your own industry, and break the rules of the game. He underscored the importance of attending trade fairs, using visuals to pitch ideas, and having prototypes to ‘touch and feel’.

Among other ground-breaking ideas, Shed is the proud inventor of Shinder: A dating app in which there is only one guy available (himself). The slogan is quality, not quantity – a provocation that calls into question our hyper-competitive online environments. Shed’s controversial idea is to create a ‘safe harbor’ in which one cannot fail, but only be the first in a market of one. Shinder has gone viral, and has been a success – except for a legal battle started by the giant Tinder! But as Shed has noted, “it’s unlikely that the female population will stop using Tinder and start using Shinder” (BBC, 2017).

My previous blog post “Theories in Practice” used Apple Watch to exemplify different logics – deduction, induction, problem solving (aka abduction-1), and abduction. Interestingly, Shed Simove came up with a new product called The Not So Smart Watch (a Pears Production):

Cheapest Smartwatch ever? The NOT SO SMART WATCH™ from Shed Simove

Which is the logic behind the invention of the Not So Smart Watch? Deduction, induction, problem solving, or abduction? Big (fake) prizes to all those who give the right answer in the comments!

And if you have missed Shed’s talk yesterday, here’s a video on how to unlock your creativity:

3 ways to have amazing ideas: Shed Simove at TEDxStPeterPort