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October 29, 2013 / cbkingston

Deadlines and Time Management

Now that we have formed into teams, I’d like to expand on some of the deadlines coming up so you can manage your time as best you can this semester.

As mentioned in class, you need to decide on what product your team is wanting to develop and turn into a business. Take advantage of this week with no classes to spend a lot of time as a team developing a range of ideas to select from. Use prototyping, go out and talk to people and get feedback, observe the tribe you are thinking of selling to. While this research will take time, it is ESSENTIAL to do this before you get too far down the road on an idea to discover later that no one wants it, it already exists or it actually cannot be manufactured with the resources you have available.

After your team has suggested a lot of ideas, and you have narrowed it down to the interesting ones, please set up a Skype appointment with me and I can give you the pros and cons of each one which might help your team to decide on the idea to pursue.

The first deadline coming up is your Branding Strategy presentation to Wolff Olins on . They will give a presentation to you and you will present your product and brand in a team presentation to them (exact length will be decided with them—likely 5 minutes—will get back to you ASAP on this). Your idea needs to be developed enough at this point that it’s clear who your target market is (tribe) and the personality of your product. The week before we go to Wolff Olins, we’ll have a design workshop and I’ll give you feedback on your product name, logo and packaging concepts. In addition to this, you also need to have a persona in mind, as well as what ways you are going to make contact with your tribe to educate, entice and sell your product to them. Storytelling is going to be key here, along with clear visuals showing how the branding is communicated.

The Lean Tribe Canvas we practiced with last week should help you in preparing this presentation.

WHEN DOES OUR PRODUCT NEED TO BE MADE?
I don’t expect that your product will be manufactured for your presentation at Wolff Olins. You can create computer illustrations of the packaging, or a mock-up prototype of a box, sleeve, tag…however you want to package it. I will find out if they have a projector you can use, or if we need to bring printed versions of the branding concepts.

Your product is likely to go through several iterations of improvement, but you need to have one polished prototype of your product made in time for your Dragon’s Den presentation on 6 December. It needs to be developed to a stage where you can demonstrate you’ve understood the challenges you face in making the product through experience. This is an advantage to you to know by 6 December how difficult it will be to make your product. The Dragons will give you feedback on your business concept and your product BEFORE you officially manufacture it. It might be that the feedback from the Dragons will lead you to change your concept or an aspect of the product and you need to be willing to make changes at that point. This will ensure that you have time to make the changes that you need, so you will be ready to sell the product in January and focus on other aspects of your business beyond product development.

NO ONE SHOULD STILL BE FOCUSED ON PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AFTER DECEMBER. You might make improvements to your product, but you should no longer be spending most of your time developing it. In semester two, you should be focused on marketing, selling, finance and overall improvement as a business. Individually, you should be more focused on networking in semester two as well.

Your Dragon’s Den presentation is going to be based on your Bright Ideas Competition Entry Form, which is a simplified version of the Lean Tribe Canvas. You will have time to polish this after you present to the Dragons and get their feedback before submitting it to the competition on 9 December. (Note: 22 January is the Bright Ideas Competition Final—likely to be in London—where you can win up to £1000 for your idea so save the date!)

Here are the classes we have coming up to prepare you for these deadlines this semester:

8 Nov: Explain to the class what your business idea is and get feedback from your peers. We’ll talk about how to test the feasibility, viability and desirability of your idea as part of developing your product, and fill out a feasibility study in class (Bright Ideas Competition Entry) for your business and gather feedback for that.

15 Nov: Bring a rough idea of your marketing strategy to class, we’ll talk about developing a “launch strategy” for your product.

22 Nov: Bring your branding design visuals (logos, packaging, ads, etc.) to class and you’ll do a practice presentation of your branding and launch strategy that you will present to Wolff Olins the following week and Dragon’s Den the week after. You will get feedback to help you for both. Wolff Olins will be more focused on branding/marketing whereas Dragon’s Den will be the overall picture of your business, based on your Feasibility Study (also known as the Bright Ideas Competition Entry).

And don’t forget to have 8 blog posts published before 21 December. If you want feedback on what you’ve already written please ask! Make sure you’ve done a few posts first, and please look at what the other students are doing as well to give you an idea of the variety out there.

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