Week 8: Pivot ~ (Reflection question #1)

This week, our group decided to stick with one of our primary business models- the Freemium model. This didn’t require a pivot as we all unanimously agreed that we should stick to a free app that people can download that has a limited version of what our product can offer. This app will indicate however, the various benefits that consumers would receive by purchasing the full app for 99 cents (such as the increased number of recipes available to paid users). We were able to find research indicating that the target market we are aiming for would most likely not pay for the app unless they realized the true value of it. This way, we can ensure that our product gets vast exposure through the millennial generation, and those who feel that our app benefits their lives will likely be willing to pay the 99 cents. Once they have paid for the app, they will be considered a premium user and will gain access to an unlimited amount of recipes as well as personalized features that can track each user and provide recommendations according to each person’s data entries and habits. We believe that by gaining customer awareness initially, followed by the conversion of various users who seek to benefit from our app, we can generate enough of a revenue stream to be profitable. 

Week 7: Environment & Research ~ (Reflection question #2)

So far we have had to cover multiple areas of research in order to better understand our target market. The area that I am currently focusing on is market trends. For me I have found the Business Source Complete database to be the most useful. The main reason is because I have used this specific database multiple times over the years and I find it to be the most accessible and user-friendly. A lot of the links also lead straight to PDF which is very helpful. Another website that I have found to be very useful is Statistics Canada. This is not a research database provided by the University of Guelph, but the free information provided by Statistics Canada is truly valuable information. I have downloaded a variety of statistical reports and articles relating to several topics that are pertinent to our project such as the millennial generation, the increase in working mothers, technology and food trends. All of this information is important for us to know and will give us a broader understanding of the scope of our project. 

Week 6: Kickstarter assignment ~ (Reflection question #2)

I enjoyed the Kickstarter assignment from this week as it was something new that I had never done before and I thought that some of the concepts were really interesting. The product I chose- The Ostrich Pillow, is quite similar to what some people might consider a novelty product. I thought the desirability aspect of it was probably easiest to evaluate because I could understand it from a customer point of view. In terms of function, the product makes sense because it is tapping into a need that many individuals experience and it is something that I personally relate to. The hardest part to evaluate was the feasibility of it because I feel like there are several economic factors that I am not currently aware of with the process of making this product, and several issues that could arise unexpectedly once production has started. As far as I can tell, it is a unique idea with a lot of potential, and I would consider buying it if I saw it on a shelf today. 

Week 5: Customer interaction ~ (Reflection question 1)

Our product idea is essentially an app that allows you to enter food items currently available in your fridge which will then populate a list of recipes that use those food items. This will aid people who are usually in a predicament of not knowing what to make for lunch/dinner, or for those who don’t want to have to spend money and buy more food that what they already have. Our data collection therefore involves a lot of initial observation to determine how people make food choices, how they purchase food products, and their general habits. Because this is more discrete, I did a lot of observation of University of Guelph students and how they pack their lunches. I noticed that a lot of students like to pack chopped vegetables and fruit and snack throughout the day so the idea of convenience is very important to them. We haven’t met with any extreme users yet but I believe that this will be the next step. So far we have a pretty good gist of who our customer segments will be, but we will certainly be doing more exploring! 

Week 4: IDEO’s Shopping cart project ~ (Reflection question #1)

After watching the team at IDEO redesign a shopping cart under tight time constraints, the thing that stood out the most to me is the organizational culture. There is a reason that there products have been used in millions of different electronic or household items whether they are in movies or in everyday life. It is because each innovation is born out of a group mind- each member with their own diverse background and perspective, ultimately being able to capture a majority of needs. Things that stood out to be the most were the fact that these people were willing to work for long hours, some who had to stay up all night, because they were working on something they believed in, that was exciting to them and that they all contributed to together. It was noted that one of the members is a Biology major, who turned down medical school three times just because he was having ‘too much fun’ at IDEO.  This is similar to how I feel when I’m doing anything creative. I am a firm believer in the fact that if you are lucky enough to find a passion in life, your should stick to it; and if you can imagine yourself doing something for free, that is the thing that will give you the most joy in life.

It seems really obvious that the team at IDEO love what they do- not only because they get to share their expertise, but because of the mantras being promoted at IDEO like “Enlightened trial and error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius”, “Fail often, in order to succeed sooner”, “One conversation at a time”, “Encourage wild ideas” etc. All of these mantras contribute to an innovative and free environment where team members feel safe and are able to bring up ideas whether they are good or bad because they will lead to something else. At the end of the day the world runs on ideas. Someone’s idea to make life easier or more efficient will affect everyone around them and therefore make the world more efficient. To me this video is an example of an exceptional company that allows their employees to be who they are, while making the world a better place. 

Week 3: A Whole New Mind~(Reflection question #2)

For my book Review, I have chosen Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”. I chose it because I enjoyed the work of Dan Pink in “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” that we also had to read previously. I thought that the narrative was very interesting and that he really presented insightful career advice in a fun and interesting way. When browsing through the book list, I was hoping to find a book by him and I chose “A Whole New Mind” just because the title itself seemed intriguing to me.

I am interested to learn more about the concepts in this book. I haven’t read too much yet but based on the synopsis and what I’ve read so far, I gather that it is an exploration of how “right-brain” thinkers (the right hemisphere being responsible for reasoning, pattern recognition, emotions, empathy and body language) will be future leaders. Dan talks a lot about the value of creativity and how it will be the key differentiator in the future since products are becoming more readily available to consumers, they can be exported to other countries and everything can also be automated. If these trends continue, then creativity and those that are creative thinkers will be the competitive advantage.

I am excited to learn more about what Pink has to say because I guess I consider myself more of a right brain thinker. As I have mentioned before I have an analytical mind and enjoy being creative, but I have always been more in touch with my creative side. Because of this I really like his mindset as I find him relatable. I really enjoyed the last book by Dan Pink and I have no doubt that I will do the same with this one! 🙂

Week 2: Self Understanding ~ (Reflection question #2)

For my Self Understanding Exercise, my personal themes were:

  1. Passionate and Creative,  
  2. Motivated Self Starter
  3. Analytical thinker

This exercise was interesting for me because I had never really thought of the things I am most proud of and would consider an accomplishment. In the past I have struggled a lot with confidence in various aspects of my life and it is something that I continue to struggle with. However I have to say that in the past 2 years or so, I believe I have learned and grown the most than at any other point in my life. At some point I made conscious decision to go after what I want and to make a real effort to be happy with who I am. As a result I have done some things I am very proud of including presenting in front of a large company at a sales meeting, designing a newsletter for the same company, losing 20 lbs etc in the past year alone.

In my past co-op terms I was very inexperienced and was generally always worried about how I was doing, whether I was doing it right or if someone else was doing it better. I was always told that I needed to pick things up and that I wasn’t performing to the best of my abilities. With my last work term however I was reassured that I had contributed to the organization in a valuable way and that they were happy to have me. I was always worried about what other people thought but this feedback really changed things for me as it made me realize what I had to offer. I always knew that I had a passion for creativity, but I am surprised at how much I have developed my analytical abilities over my University career since I never thought of myself as a numbers person. I am also surprised at the level of motivation I have to achieve something. I have always assumed that I was someone who didn’t try hard enough and preferred to stay in the background. However I have come to realize that I’m not that person anymore. I have changed quite a bit and will continue to change, and I hope that all the effort will pay off in the end! 🙂