What is the purpose of your blogs?

Your blog is an online journal that you write to help your “future self” remember your “aha!” moments throughout the module. You should reflect on learning experiences as they occur in class and in your team; and formulate “lessons learned” that you will be using in the future.

Every blog post needs to meet the following requirements:

  1. Describe something interesting that you have learnt in class or in your business.
  2. Explain how this learning can help you achieve a future goal and/or build your future career.
  3. Include a link to articles, books, talks, images or videos that help you expand this learning.

Let’s take the shoe day last Friday as an example. The shoe day has an important theoretical background and I would be surprised to see no aspect of that session discussed on your blogs.

If you break the shoe class down for the purposes of reflection:

  • we started with the theory of design thinking
  • we discussed how this theory applies to our approach to tasks
  • we reflected on how we have been taught and trained to approach “investigation” (you surveyed me about my shoes, remember?)
  • we discussed extreme users and their value (you then interviewed me about me about my “special shoes”, remember?)
  • you went out to talk with people about their shoes (what happened there and how did it go?)
  • you came back with stories you had to reframe into points of view
  • you had to work as a team to develop a working point of view
  • you had to build a prototype as a team
  • you had to present as a team


Then, as a further example: the process of prototyping is an important one for reflection. You deliberately got very little time to build your prototypes on the shoe day. What happened on the shoe day as a result? Did it help to work with your hands in the development of your ideas? Did this change your idea? Did your (quick and cheap) prototype make it easier for you to communicate your ideas and thinking? Did it help the team – to discuss, to make a decision, etc.? Etc.

Now imagine a scenario where you have more time to prototype – how might that change the process and the end result? Is time (always) a useful resource in prototyping? Perhaps more time means more time to think (and delay making a decision…), but is it necessarily useful for creativity? Plenty there to explore and think about.

I am not truly concerned with the shoe you developed in the shoe class. What I am concerned with is your ability to connect the theory with the practice and develop your thinking and own practice as a result.

It could be shoes (session 2), gift giving (Welcome Week task), community (Welcome Week hackathon), or the challenge you will be working on this week. You can do this with any topic from class. We can’t prescribe you what to think, and so a topic like “the shoe day” is incredibly broad because each student will be thinking differently, and discussing a different aspect of theory/process/teamwork, etc… (or at least so I hope).

Since all of your blogs are deliberately grouped together under #mace19, you can use your classmates’ blogs to learn from them and to develop your own thinking. Perhaps you agree with a discussion on another blog and will build on that thinking. Perhaps you completely disagree with a point of view and want to discuss your own thinking. Perhaps someone’s thinking prompted you to think about a parallel topic. Etc.

For MACE students specifically, we are also using these blogs for your other modules. In other words, you are using your blogs to connect your thinking from different modules together. I don’t want to advertise this as a separate task because it is not a separate task, and it is not a task – your thinking from different modules will merge as you develop.

Frieze Art Fair visit is one of the topics that we typically see on all MACE blogs as your thinking work in progress leading up to your mini-essays, and then debates and essays. If an essay is good and interesting, I encourage students to then post it on their blogs. The same will apply to debates.

Why? – because it adds value to show your capability to think critically and to write an interesting discussion. However, this is why I also try to push you to find topics relevant to you specifically and important for your future self – and which is why you can come up with your own topics for most of our MACE modules.

In short, you will not be penalised for not covering specific topics such as “the shoe day” – because that is not the point of the blog. But if I look at your blog and can’t really see that you reflected on your learning – this will affect the quality of your final blog post/essay.

Hope this long explanation helps!

Photos from the MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019

On Friday and Saturday during the Welcome Week you took part in our hackathon with the Surrey County Council. We wanted to show you – not tell you – what Design Thinking for Startups module was all about. The goal: to guide you through the process of working from identifying and framing a problem to an idea and a prototype in under 24 hours. Why: to help you realise it doesn’t take months to get an idea off the ground and a business started – just a clear objective and a dedicated space.

All photos from the two days are below. You can download them and reuse on your blogs with the photo credit:

MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019 – photos by Claudia Weaver http://www.claudiaweaverphotography.com/

Many thanks, Claudia!

Reflect, connect the dots, and take a leap of faith

Four weeks have now passed since we met during our Welcome Week.  This Friday in class we will register your teams with Young Enterprise, and you will all become startup co-founders. It is a great leap of faith to take, and it will require from you to learn, adapt, develop, and mature very quickly. Your team and your startup will most likely be your greatest challenge this year.  

Theories are helpful to describe what might happen to your startup and your team, but the actual path each team will take will be different. Are you ready?

Personality tests are helpful in an attempt to generalise about who you might be, but your real personality will emerge in relation to the real challenges you face and the attitude you take. Your CV is helpful to describe where you’ve been and what you’ve done before, but it cannot predict the future – where you go and which skills you ‘deploy’ (with passion) is, from here onwards, entirely up to you.

Everything we have done together since the day we met has been designed to lead you to the moment when you take a leap of faith on who you are, who should be on your team, and what you stand for.

Are you connecting the dots yet?

On our first day together, you were asked to share a little about yourself, and you all reached for your CVs. Three days later you already understood your CV was as good as a blank page if there was no human story to go with it. No human life is linear and no good story comes without struggle at the centre of it… Who are you and what is your story?

Our Welcome Week hackathon was a crash-course designed to illustrate what your MACE experience is about and what it takes. Hard work, no? Genuine curiosity is difficult.

MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019. Photo by Claudia Weaver http://www.claudiaweaverphotography.com/


MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019. Photo by Claudia Weaver http://www.claudiaweaverphotography.com/


MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019. Photo by Claudia Weaver http://www.claudiaweaverphotography.com/


MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019. Photo by Claudia Weaver http://www.claudiaweaverphotography.com/


MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019. Photo by Claudia Weaver http://www.claudiaweaverphotography.com/


Thanks to the hackathon, in only two days you all went through the cycle of uncomfortable – comfortable emotions many times, and as you learnt, connected, and developed – you all had fun, too.

What you and your startup team stand for is entirely up to you (provided our startup insurance covers it) but make sure it is a good investment of your time and effort. Make sure you allow yourself to grow by accepting that you will have to go through the cycle of uncomfortable – comfortable emotions many times again.

For many of you, most of this is new, and as such it is uncomfortable. A new country, new way of doing things, new ideas, new you… you don’t need to be comfortable with it all – you only need to be willing to try it all out.

Remember the importance of curiosity, positive attitude, grit and growth mindset, and above all – remember the importance of a bit of fun and laughter, please. You are of no use to humanity if you lose your sense of humour!

A final thought for you to consider:

You are registering your startup teams this Friday, however we are above all one big team. We have a big class full of great, interesting minds – let’s make it one great team.