*All additional materials are proudly stolen from http://www.impacthub.net/ website

During the ME1033 course we are talking a lot about innovation and the businesses we might or might not create. We are mentioning the steps, which could lead us to become a successful entrepreneur. But we had zero thoughts about what happens next. Where do we go? How we proceed?

Let me introduce you to one of the Stockholm business HUBs, Impact HUB: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NswJJBJZQgE

They are always welcome to meet new people and regularly throwing free lectures

impact_event

So, few words about my experience there:

Short cut about the lecture*:

This workshop covered service as the second most important part to user/customer loyalty, the increased expectations from users, how to serve users on a global base and create a seamless user experience throughout the customer journey.

Few valuable thoughts I got after the lecture:

  1. Businesses are turning their business models to service models. The main path, which companies are using, it is providing service when person needs it. Big and small players, who want to stay up to date with the current times are letting their customers to customize the provided services (Subscriptions based apps, services are good example. You are paying only when you are using them).
  2. It does not matter what and how good are you doing business. Your customers are going to look for more and more. You should be ready to add extra value to your business. (Good example is MindApps yoga app, they providing yoga guidance and also the knowledge base).
  3. If you want to grow, you have to keep in mind, that growing is about interaction. You cant just hire more people and it will work, it won`t.

Moving further, you have read that our customers are going to need more. So, how we can understand, where we are now and where to go? At this point we can use the Customer journey model:
customer

(Useful reading and a source of the picture http://customerthink.com/what_is_customer_experience_a_synopsis/)

From Awareness point to Purchase is mainly marketing and Sales responsibility, but after Purchase, the main journey begins.

If your friend is not happy with a new app or piece of technology and sharing his/her bad experience with you, most probably you will not buy the same thing and vise versa.

Were you prepared to get the feedback from the client? Does your business have service support? Are you accessible to your customer? When your customers need you? Where are your users, I mean literally, in Spain or China or around the globe? What do they need?

All this questions will pop-up the second you will get your first customer. One of the main advices that Johan provided was: How to manage global expansion if you are small? Just don’t go global!

Learn from one market, gain experience and grow your team. Learn your customers’ expectations. Do not lie to your customers, that your support is available 24/7, if it is not.

Keep in mind, that you have always work on your product, listen to your customer. Stay in touch with them.

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Hello Everyone, this is my first post on this blog site on entrepreneurship and innovation. Tomorrow we have a second lecture of Open and User Innovation and I am really looking forward to it. I have read an assigned article to us and I have analyzed it with my own understanding and concepts which I have developed so far. I think my first post should be about sharing my analysis which may help others see this article and understand it with a different perspective. Lets see what I have understood and got from the assigned article on Finding your Innovation Sweet Spot.

Product developers are always getting this advice from the Marketers that customers are always right or customers get 100% of the votes. Entrepreneurs should develop something which should meet the needs and wants of customers. They should develop products by placing themselves and perceiving themselves as their current and potential customers. But what really a person needs or wants cannot be describe or explained clearly. If it is easily explainable and identifiable, it means there is something already present in the market which can fulfil that need. This is clearly not an innovation which is desired for entrepreneurship. So if the customers can’t explain clearly what they need, how entrepreneurs can develop something according to their needs and problems. If a company tries to extend the features of its existing product little bit, it cannot be able to lure the customers to take out the money from their pockets to buy that new product easily.

One way to deal with this problem of making customers break their established ways of spending money and buy your new product no matter how much it costs, is to think out of the box. This means think for the new product service without bounding yourself to one domain. But this also rises the issue of how can we reach a best solution or develop a service or product if there are infinite different domains of thinking our service into. It can lead to coming up with an idea which can totally contradict the current position of the company in the market making it difficult for the company to pursue that product for a long time. For example, Scott Company which made sanitary paper tissues and towels went into making paper dresses for the party as being a novel and new idea for marketing. This idea helped the company with big sales and profits but the company was overwhelmed with big promotion and sales eventually and ended this product saying that it was a paper tissue company, not a dress manufacturer. Scott only used this idea of disposable paper dresses to advertise its new paper products but it lead to creation of an industry of paper dresses which was not the motivation of the company behind this innovative product.

 

 

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So the simple solution is that think freely far enough from existing products but keep yourself inside the imaginary circle of company’s position and capabilities in market. This is what we call finding your sweet spot of innovation. The above circle diagram shows how one can move within a circle of company’s position and capabilities using five patterns of systematic inventive thinking to develop something innovative.

Hope the above explanation helps the readers to think about innovation by binding your thinking power within a circle of company’s limitations with choosing an existing product as starting point or center of circle and moving away from the product by applying one or more out of five patterns for thinking in a systematic manner until reach your final destination of innovative product,

Regards

Amna

  1. Business Model Canvas and innovation

BMC was useful because it gives you good visual overview about your business and how the different blocks affecting to whole BMC and to other blocks. One important thing in BMC is that you should use different colours for different customer segments so BMC is clear and easy to read. BMC is a useful tool so I think I will use it in the future.

business-model-canvas-101-27-638

Picture 1. Gillette’s BMC.

Sometimes people think that an invention means an innovation which is not true. “An invention is a novel idea and innovation is the commercialization of that novel idea.” Creating a successful invention can be a lot harder and might requires a lot of money so that is one reason why big companies like Apple can create strong long lasting innovations. There are four types of innovations: technology, process, product/service and business model innovation. For me the most eye opening innovations were product/service and business model innovation because just changing those a little bit it might affect to your business income a lot. For example the right business model can be the main reason for the success, one good example about that is Spotify whose business model is totally different comparing to iTunes’ and that is their main reason for success.

  1. Approaches to Product Ideas

I liked this part because the way how you think is usually quite limited so getting better ideas you have to break the old chains. You should think really carefully what you really need and not need or how you can make your product more interesting for your customers. Variation of product attributes or functions is divided to 5 categories:

  1. Subtraction: Remove a key element.
  2. Multiplication: Copy a key element.
  3. Division: Dividing a product into components.
  4. Task unification: assign new task to exiting elements.
  5. Attribute dependency change: create new dependencies or break old ones.

Nophone was a good example about subtraction but the whole idea behind that is just a joke so is it really anymore subtraction when you remove almost all key elements? Like my friend said “I just created NoNophone which volume and weight is zero, and you can summon it by just using your imagination”. The example about camels and task unification was great because a camel is a lot more than just a carrier. Also the example about sprinklers and removing dependencies were really useful.

  1. Start Up Finance & Venture Capital

For me this part of the course was maybe the most important because getting an invention and if you want to rise it to innovation level or just get started you will need funding. Three the most common way to get funding are 3Fs & Bootstrapping, Debt financing and Equity financing. Understanding these financing opinions advantages and disadvantages generally helps you think which kind funding is good for your company. Very important part of equity financing was to know differences between angel investors and venture capital investors also when to use them, how they might affect, advantages and disadvantages.

I guess everything started when I came to KTH, only to discover that innovation is possible, and people like you are doing it!…

I’ve lived in the suburbs of Stockholm my whole life. And not the good kind. The kind where drug dealing is common and theft/shooting happens every once in a while.
But I was a good boy. I was smart they said. I got good grades and my future would be bright.

That was the view of everyone except my Father. Not because of something personal to me, but because he was not a (business-)optimist. So I grew up thinking that it is
hard for everybody except the wealthy 1 % who controlles everything. I would become a doctor, get a job/house/kids and that would be the best I could do.

Then I started at KTH and I couldn’t help but to get fascinated by the innovation that is done by “regular people” and youths. People just like you and me! Being exposed to talks and events at school, I felt that the more experienced were very encouraging. I guess I was so fascinated because I had so low  expectations.

I happily dwelved into the startup world by going to events where I found out that it is a rather small community, and everyone knows each other. Even though I was busy with studies and web design, I took the position of being a Brand ambassador for two startups. I am now the Brand ambassador at KTH for Venture Cup.

The whole time has been like a 1-year-journey in a flow state. Novelty, new challenges to overcome & room for personal development are always found in the  Startup world!

Next year, I am the project manager of Entrepreneurial Days here at KTH which you are invited to. But even earlier than that

Join me at SUP46 today
https://www.facebook.com/events/581650585306870/
(I was planning to post sooner but I was busy recruiting)

PS. You must know about Venture Cup! Far too many students have an idea but think that they are too young/inexperienced/incompetent to execute. That is most likely not the case.

Venture Cup is Swedens biggest competition for ideas and Startups where you can win 260 000 SEK. Talk to me if you have an idea, there’s tons of free support to get 🙂

EIT CLC Stockholm

Today the EIT ICT Labs CLC in Stockholm hosted a talk on innovation and entrepreneurship by Nicklas Lundblad. He is Public policy officer at Google, and also an adjunct professor at KTH.

The discussion touched on different topics related to innovation, with a focus on what Google is doing.

As Lundblad said, innovation needs to be useful, therefore it’s important to take a look at how it can be embedded in society. When innovations fail to address people’s needs, they face rejection. For example, Google Glass has been considered a failure under many aspects. The company eventually realised that they were not a viable consumer product, because there was no use case in which people would be willing to use them. On the other hand, certain contexts (e.g. medical practice, construction workers, etc.) proved to be more fruitful.

Lundblad also talked about how government policy can influence the trajectory a company takes and this is especially relevant to Google, which has been under scrutiny in Europe. Legislators argue that the company has a de-facto monopoly in the search market, while they say to be in the “information discovery market”, which is much broader and where competition is more than abundant. While definitely clever, this position only circumvents the issue at stake and I don’t think it is acceptable to have big corporations try to dictate policies and basically undermine regulations in the name of a better market. It is true that the lack of a single digital market has consequences on the entrepreneurial efforts of Europe, as Lundblad highlighted, but the solution is not as easy as Google might make it seem.

The discussion also focused on what innovation really is, and using Google’s mission statement as a reference, Lundblad concluded that it could be said that innovation really is about organising information. In that sense, Google is trying to keep innovating by moving in always new territories.

Overall, this was an extremely interesting event, that nicely touched on many topics we discussed and read about during the course.

ns_platform_3

This week in class I presented you a business idea about public transportation. My inspiration was a real-life experiment conducted by ProRail and NS Dutch , and designed by Edenspiekermann, a Dutch design agency.

They created a “LED display which provides real-time information on carriage crowdedness and other details”. Then, they conducted a three-month pilot run at the train station of Den Bosch, a city in the south of The Netherlands. People really liked the concept and “gave NS a significantly higher evaluation at the end of the trial period”.

Edenspiekermann & ProRail

Their design process resulted in a physical display, but I thought that the initial concept can be further explored and expanded, and that’s how I came up with the idea of an integrated, smart system designed to enhance public transportation in big cities, with multiple functionalities.

If you know of any other interesting innovations in the field of transportation, give a shout in the comments.