Get ready for Kingston University Dragons’ Den!

dragons den

The purpose of our December 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.

You will present to your classmates as well as a panel of experienced professionals acting as judges. All teams must be present for all presentations.

To prepare for the Dragons’ Den, you will complete the Bright Ideas competition entry form as your feasibility study and submit for competition AND on Canvas by 23:59 on 1 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.

The 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 what you need to know to prep for the Dragons’ Den:

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 –  you can bring anything you want as long as you bring it 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-stage1-2019


IMPORTANT:

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 Bright Ideas Guidelines and think about your financials – judges are bound to ask 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 because this is a learning session. No exceptions – thank you. 


See you all in our team meetings and on Friday!

 

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!