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What is a Lean Canvas?

A Lean Canvas is a 1-page business plan template that helps us deconstruct our idea into its key assumptions. It is adapted from Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas and optimized for Lean Startups. It elaborate business plans with a single page business model.

Usually a writing a business plans take too much of the time, and are rarely updated, and most of the times never read by others.

Lean Canvas actually solves the problem by just using a 1-page business model that can be created in a very short period of time. It’s a very useful tool for the startups and should be used by entrepreneurs.

The lean canvas is divided into nine parts:

  1. Problem

Here we write for whom do we really want to work for and whose problem do we need to solve.In this box we list the one to three high priority problems that our targeted segment has.

  1. Customer Segments

The problem and customer are intrinsically connected .  Without a defined customer in mind you can’t think of their problems, and visa-versa.

  1. Unique Value Proposition

A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. The very primary reason a customer should buy from you. The question over here is why he should buy it from you?

  1. Solution

Here we write what all different probable solutions we have for the problems that the customer is facing.

  1. Channels

Channels are ways for us to reach our customer. Which channels will give us good access to our customer is selected.

  1. Revenue Streams

How are we going to earn is stated over here.

  1. Cost Structure

What all are the different costs that we need to incur is stated.

  1. Key Metrics

Every business, no matter what industry or size, will have some key metrics that are used to monitor performance.

  1. Unfair Advantage

This is the most difficult to block to answer. However, we write what makes the customer to choose us over others.

 

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Design thinking:

Design Thinking is a problem-solving method which helps companies, and individuals to get a desired outcome on a problem, or to work forward on a future plan. Design Thinking allows for the user to have a more structured plan for understanding innovation and to grow more as a company. As per Roger Martin, “Design-thinking firms stand apart in their willingness to engage in the task of continuously redesigning their business…to create advances in both innovation and efficiency — the combination that produces the most powerful competitive edge.”

The 5-stage model was developed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, and it is continually used by people and organisations to better innovate their selves. The 5-stage model are as follow: Empathize (get to know about the audience for whom you are designing), Define (constructing a point of view that is based on the needs of the user), Ideate (coming up with creative solutions), Prototype (build a representation of your idea to present it to others and make them understand it), and Test (test it on the user for whom you are developing it and ask for feedback).

Empathize

The first stage of Design Thinking is called Empathize. This stage is for getting a better understanding of the problem that you want to address. This includes: consulting experts of the matter, engaging into the issue for better understanding.

Define

During this stage in the Design Thinking process we put together all the information that we have. we analyze our data and put it in order. This stage will help us to gather great ideas and be able to understand how to use them effectively.

Ideate

We have to use the information from the previous stages to so that we come up with some reasonable ideas. We might come up with different different types of ideas and chose the most appropriate one. A lot of brainstorming sn there in this process.

Prototype

We work on creating by limiting ourselves to a given amount of small budget. With every new prototype, we look at it with a different aspect of the problem and explores how each of the prototypes would fix the problem. This gives us a basic rough idea how the actual product will be and what changes are required.

Test

The fifth and final stage Test. During this stage we test the prototypes made. We test them and take the feedback and improve more upon the product.

 

 

 

Forming a team

At the very first day of the induction week we were being informed by Janja that we would be required to form a team of four members and would have to work together for the whole year. After having three to four weeks’ time and starting to get to know roughly what design thinking is, we were reminded that it was the time that we form our team. And there it was the look on the face of everyone, whom shall I choose as my teammates? No one had a clear idea of what going to happen and whom they were going to choose. Also, there was one condition that we could not form groups between people from the same course. We had to have people from different courses.

It was a kind of habit that everyone would go to Hanna Fords and get socialized with each other. Over there we used to play pool, have some snacks or something to drink. Usually after the class got over what used to happen is that many of the people used to leave and skip coming to Hanna Fords. But that day still I remember almost everyone was there at Hanna Fords and were socializing so that they could get some or the other information which could in turn help them to have an idea what type of people they wanted to have in their team. While socializing over there some people could form their group, but still there were many like me who were looking for their teammates.

The next whole week we all were trying to contact people from different courses and get to know each other. It was tough for us to meet because there were people from three different courses and every course had its different timetable. Till Friday I could not figure out who all wanted in my team. Finally, just ten minutes before the class actually got started I just went to two of my friends Sam and Natalia who were there with me in the same team in the induction week activity and suddenly we just asked each other whom are we forming team with? And surprisingly no one was in any of the teams! And we finally just agreed on working together. While I was looking for different people I actually forgot that I could have asked my these teammates. We just enlightened ourselves by making us realise that we know each other well and have worked with each other in the past so why not to give it a shot? Now we were looking for the fourth member and we found Harshita meeting our requirements.

So finally, we had successfully formed our team. We all were from different courses and having a different background which was good for our team so that we could have a good mix. A very brief intro about my team would be that Sam was from International Business management and was good at sales. Natalia was pursuing Managing in Creative Economy and was a good designer as well. Harshita is from Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship and was good in marketing. Talking about me I was from also from Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship and am good in finance.

I think so that our team has a great mix from different fields and we can rock the module! I think so that, the wait was worth for getting these good teammates!

 

Designer Maker User

Considering my past for having a passion to visit the museums, I was visiting two museums in a week. On 12th of the October I visited to the ‘Designer Maker User’ museum in London with my design thinking classmates. As per the name ‘Designer Maker User’ the museum was also being divided into three parts viz the designer, the maker, and the user justifying each segment by letting the visitors explore it from their respective purposes. The exhibition had a wide variety of collection which facilitated its visitors to explore the different variety of products.

The very first post after entering the museum had a lot of questions on it. It basically wanted to know what all different objects, services and systems we used to reach to the design museum. They wanted to make us realise that if you used all these different things then we were using something that must be designed by someone for someone. Further, it had a wall full of events from the seventeenth century to the present reflecting the different products that were being designed.  The designer section was based on the Italian architect Ernesto Rogers from the spoon to the city, “It explores the ways in which the thought-process of the designer informs projects at every scale, from the smallest to the largest.” For example, this section portrayed how the London underground map was redesigned by designers which helped the people to have a better understanding of the rail services. After looking at this section it made me think that how much detailed work might be needed and what all the different things the designers have to consider before coming up a product.

Next coming to the user section, it had a lot of products in it. It displayed the journey of those products and how these products were contributing to the communication that takes place around the globe nowadays. Products of the companies like Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Braun and their journey was displayed. This section made me realise that how the products were fine-tuned and customized to the needs of the customer. While looking at this section after the design one made me think that the designer is also the user at some point of time, and if there is some sort of boundary between the two then how do you define it?

Coming to the last section ‘The Maker’, it displayed how the technology, material that was used was changing and now how the products were being developed using the different processes. It depicted how the use of the automatization of the machines helped the manufacturers come up with so good products. The 3D printing machine over there was a good example of the change that has taken place in manufacturing process, the use of materials and the technology.

After seeing the design museum, we took some good photos of the whole class and went to have some food outside together. While coming back home I was thinking about my whole experience and it made me wonder what level of creativity these designers must have and how things are tweaked over the years for better experience.

 

References:

https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/designer-maker-user

 

A visit to the Future: Victoria and Albert Museum

Two weeks ago, our course director Evy informed us that we were going to have a visit to the Victoria and Albert museum. This was going to be my first visit to the museum after coming to London and it was scheduled on 9th of October. The museum was running an exhibition, “The Future Starts Here”. After Evy showed us a video clip regarding the museum, I was completely astonished and wanted to be over there. It displayed how technology has changed, emerged and the way it will have an impact on our lives soon. The exhibition was divided into four parts- Self, Public, Planet and Afterlife. The aim of the museum was to make us understand how innovations help us to live a good life as well as what impact does it have on us. After every part we were asked two or three interesting question that made us think.

Self-

This section had a lot of modern gadgets that we use nowadays. It had devices that were powered by the artificial intelligence such as the BRETT which did the laundry, Amazon Echo. We also had devices that could assist a forensic investigator to look for a criminal general profile. Various devices were there which were amazingly designed to helped us perform various tasks. The most interesting thing that I noticed was that even after having so many devices that connect each other are we still lonely?

Public-

This section made me think are cities for everyone? It portrayed that the way cities are designed and built is going through a radical transition. It displayed a scenario where how the citizens and the different communities were harnessing to raise funds and coordinating efforts to build a new city. It also looked at collective living and what if we could have all the facilities at one place only so that it won’t be a needed for us to go leave the building only?

Planet-

This section an amazing question, “Should the planet be a design project?”. This section had a lot of technological options that could be used to redesign a place. Amazing thing was it had a sand pit where we could learn and design the planet the way we would want to have it! It made us think that we could look forward to design Mars as many people are discussing that life could be possible at Mars. But eventually it questioned us that if Mars was the solution then what was the question? And can we still save our planet from the damages that we have caused to it over the time.

Afterlife-
Who wants to live forever? What If we could store your brain in a computer and keep you alive?  This was the actual question and I was surprised after looking at the solutions that the scientist are actually trying to come up with! There are some institutions as well which was working towards preserving humanity through books, seeds and material culture.

I was so engrossed in looking after the exhibition that I completely forgot that I was the last person to come out of it! The experience was definitely amazing and made me think about the future for some time.

 

References-

https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/the-future-starts-here#articles

 

 

An Amazing Welcome Week Experience

So finally, the University kick starts with the welcome week activity. All the students from different countries were flying to London and were joining their respective courses in the university. On Monday, the first day I was introduced to my course director and my amazing fellow classmates. On that day we got a brief idea of how my course is going to be conducted. Later Tuesday we had different seminars like academic writing, discover volunteering, be your own boss and many more. Out of all the seminar I found ‘Be your own Boss’ interesting. On Wednesday and Thursday, we were introduced with the different library facilities available and how to operate the canvas. We also had fresher’s fayre during the two days. In the fresher’s fayre I got to know about the various societies inside the university and got some uni goodies, pizzas and discount coupon. It was a good day. Till this time everything was going very smooth. University life was chilled. I was feeling good but still I felt that the urge and passion that I had thought of pursuing this course was missing. And finally, on Friday morning I was introduced to the Design Thinking module and had a Lean Start up experience workshop which was conducted by Ms. Janja Song.

As Janja was explaining and providing the details at first, I thought, that this module would be an easy one like others. But then she told us, “Let’s do some activity and for that lets make a group of with the people whom you don’t know at all”. This module had people from three different streams viz MACE, IME and IBM. We made a group of 5 members- Sam, Bharat, Natalia, Kaushika and me.

Janja had told us to come up with a campaign for Adidas and address any problem in a specific city. She made us follow the lean start up method. The process was started by naming the different cities and listing all the problems that the city needs to address. Finally, we choose London as our city and came up with the mental health issue as a problem to address on. We had found that mental health was a serious issue that we needed to address through sports.

On Saturday morning after doing a lot of brainstorming activity we tried to address the problem through various ways, but many of our ideas had some or the other issue. At last we decided to solve this by designing a shirt which would glow the colour of its logo whenever a person is happy. We decided to market this campaign by creating a hashtag known as ‘#SPEAKUP’. In the last two hours of the day Janja surprised us by telling that she had invited judges from outside and that we were going to have a pitching round in front of the whole class. Fortunately, the judges and rest of our classmates liked our groups idea and we won the competition. As a prize we received a book ‘Mindset’ by Dr. Carol Dweck.

 

 

 

A New Expedition to Chase A Big DREAM!

September 2018 it is, and I am here in London to start my new expedition and pursue my dreams. Well speaking of coming to London was going on in my mind since last two years. But, the purpose back then was not coming over here for studies but was for explore new places, different opportunities that I could have as an entrepreneur over here. But finally, during February 2018, I took the decision of coming over here for my masters and later looking on for the entrepreneurial opportunities.

Deciding upon which course to take was something challenging. Well speaking about my past, I did my Bachelor’s in Commerce from the Pune University. I liked finance and was good at it. But, I also had a zeal in me which wanted me to be an entrepreneur in the long run. Since my childhood I was very curious about knowing how different conglomerates worked and what made them successful. But to start my journey as an entrepreneur I clearly wanted to have a firsthand experience on it and know properly what it takes to be one. And so, I was looking for a course or any workshop which could provide me both financial expertise required to run the business and a skillset that an entrepreneur shall have. I looked down through various courses and finally I found the right course which had a perfect mix of what I wanted to do. It was masters in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship from the Kingston University. The most convincing thing was that the course had design thinking module which enabled its students to set up a new company over here and work in team by coming up with an innovative idea or redesigning an existing product. This course ensured me that I can learn exactly what I was looking for by experienced teachers and that too in a safe environment.

I am very much excited and I’m looking forward with great expectations how this year at Kingston is going to be. I just hope that the course fulfills my expectations and I have all the fun while exploring all the different types of opportunities out there. To conclude, I am thankful to my family, my mentors and friends who have been supportive at all the times when I needed their help. Without your help I couldn’t have accomplished all the things so far.