Финал. The end

Now, when more than six months have passed since the start of the course, it is very exciting to go back to his first memories about it. In the very beginning none of us understood that words such as blog creation and designing of business, twitter account and subscribers will influence us a lot and will become a part of our lives. At first, everything seemed unusual, even a little intimidating – and then all became to change very rapidly.

It is easy for me to remember the day when we created our blogs. The biggest challenge for me was to choose a blog name and nickname, as I recall, it took me more than 10 minutes to do it.

Then, when all formalities were settled, the most difficult was to write the first blog post, because I was going to write about one specific topic. It turned out that almost all of the previous 4 years in my university I was studying creative industries – analysing it, reading about it. That’s why I came to this university with a clear understanding of what I want to do, because creative industries have become a significant part of my life.

A book about blogging written by Jill Walker Rettberg helped me a lot at this stage. She was writing about blogs, how to make one, and mentioned that blog can “speak”, it can tell about a person who writes it a lot. It’s like a TV series dedicated to someone. (Rettberg, 2008) That’s why my blog, from the on hand, is about our product, how we create Veles, and from the other hand it is also my after-classes thoughts and discourse about creativity and creative industries. For me personally it was important to find a balance between our product promotion and reflection of what was discussed during our lectures. Also, it was a great opportunity to me to write about my diploma thesis.

When all fears about the blog disappeared, another challenge occurred – we had to design our own business. Our team started to look for something that would be able to combine our strengths and give everyone a chance to do something for us. Then I found an article by Tim Brown, in which he talked about the importance of observation; how important it is to find out what people really need. (Brown, 2008) This idea came up as well at our lectures, and for all of us it was clear that it is the cornerstone of our future project.

We decided to start with a search of our target audience, as it helps to understand the needs of specific customers and helps us to develop our business. It is important to create a product that feels the needs of people, because it helps you to achieve success in business development. (Handley, 2012)All of us in our team are students; so we decided to start our project from this step.

Our strategy at this stage was:

  1. Find a problem that unites students, maybe specific group of students and try to find ways to solve it
  2. Create a product that would require minimal costs, so that students can buy it
  3. Try to make our product by using eco-friendly materials and recyclable products

Personally for me it was important to link our product with creative industries, because it would allow us to get a first-hand experience in creating a business in cultural industries.

Making a prototype was our next step. Each of the team members had to make 15 prototypes of our product using any materials we want. At this point “the prototype-making chain”, created by researchers Moss and Atre, was really useful. (Moss and Atre, 2003)

First, I needed to define the framework within which I will work – in my case it was a matter of time and availability of materials. Secondly, you need to understand how to create prototypes – you had to identify your skills and abilities, and use them all.

Next, for each of the prototypes you had to decide which of them could be considered as close to the ideal as possible. For this step it is necessary to understand how many materials and efforts has been spent on each model. And it was really hard, because after spending so much time on every model it is hard to make a decision which of them is better.

And, the last and most difficult one – I had to choose the most successful prototype and convince the other members of the team, that your prototype is the best. Fortunately, finding the best prototype for us was not difficult, so before we started to actually sell Veles, we got another question – how to replicate our products? Should it be a product made by hands or we can find a factory that can help us with it? After a big research we came to the conclusion that in our situation the best solution is to be a company that creates unique handmade products.

The next step was to come up with the name of our brand, and, to our surprise, it did not take as much time as we thought. The name should be memorable and should be used as a trademark at the same time and, according to Louise Guinda, should be able tell our future buyers a story and also to make them understand what kind of product we offer. (Guinda, 2014)

In fact, as we were people with different backgrounds and all members of our team were people of different nationalities, we decided to use our uniqueness as our distinctive feature and as our trademark. And that’s how Veles was created; story of our product was based on the name of an ancient pagan god, patron of the arts and talent.

After the first Dragon’s Den we received our reviews – critics and positive feedback included – and that allowed us to move on and forced us to come to grips with the issue of pricing. In the very beginning we defined our costs per unit of product, and then figured out at what price we have to sell our product to receive a steady income. The strategy we chose was the strategy of low costs and low prices, because we still were focusing on our target audience. We realized that the majority of students couldn’t afford to buy our product if our price will be too high. Our Dragon’s Den judges decided that our price was low for the product we offer but as shown by further sales price of 15 pounds was the maximum for students.

One of our problems that every member had on the way our business has evolved was “I do not care” syndrome. (Rosemann, 2010)Each of the participants at some specific point has lost interest in the product and the motivation to do our business. This was influenced by a sufficiently broad time frame and our belief that our project does not have any problems. Fortunately, such events took place rapidly, and we can say that as a team we have worked very well.

Creating your own business requires the presence of people who have a degree in business, those who know how to make the product and, of course, those who know how to make the product design. All I can say that our team was lucky to have the ideal designer.

While creating your product, as it turns out, you can focus on the Maslow’s pyramid though it is usually considered a slightly different aspect. (Johnson, 2011) You should use four basic principles – functionality, usability, reliability, and that the product is satisfying you emotionally. The design should meet the needs of the user and also should be provided with specific functions. In this regard, we have long pondered on the number of special holes for pens and pencils, whether to make a hole for your phone and how to make Veles available for different notebook sizes. Reliability for us is, first of all, how many times our product can bend / extend, and kind of materials we need to use. And, of course, design should be user-friendly. This user-friendly interface is necessary, and also easiness of using Veles.

What is the emotional component of our design? It was very important for us to make our product to look nice and to have an aesthetic pleasure. Thus was born the idea of creating Veles in different colours – black, blue, red. In the future we plan to expand the colour range of our product.

If we talk about the further development of our business, it is worth mentioning that with the end of the course it is too early to talk about the end of our business. Because previously we started to develop a partnership with Calvert Foundation, now our group is set to continue this cooperation, and perhaps it will allow us to increase our sales, as well as to enter to the international market.

What conclusions can I make after my experience as a blogger? Firstly, this is a great opportunity for self-expression. Before that, I never thought about writing and posting my ideas in the Internet; my word limit was 140 characters per tweet. But now I’m more confident about myself, because blogging helps us to find out something new about you, improves writing style and generally helps us to express our ideas. In addition to this blogging helps you find like-minded people – I never thought that my posts about creative industries will gather so many views and likes, and attract the attention of people from different countries. Moreover this experience also attracted critics – and as I wrote in my blog – criticism is invaluable. (alisainuk, 2014)

This course has helped me to understand the main thing – in fact all people have an opportunity to be creative and everyone is creative. Our challenge is to develop them, no matter what reason for it do you have. It might be for your self-actualization or you do it to get a better job. As I mentioned before, Tim Brown had a great impact on me. He wrote that design thinking is really important nowadays, because there are a lot of tools and conceptions that are basic for a modern management. That’s why creative thinking now is so valuable among employers – they are looking for brand new ideas. (Brown, 2008) (Florida, 2003)

Bibliography

Antonites, A. (2007) Entrepreneurship and How to Establish Your Own Business. Edited by Johan Strydom and Cecile Nieuwenhuizen. South Africa: Juta Legal and Academic Publishers

Brown, T. (2008) ‘Design Thinking’, Harvard Business Review.,

Florida, R. L. (2002) The Rise of the Creative Class and How it’s Transforming Work, Life, Community and Everyday Life. New York, NY: Basic Books

Guinda, L. (2014) How to Get Your Product to Market: A Guide to Design, Manufacturing, Marketing and Selling. United Kingdom: Brightword Publishing

Handley, L. (2012) It pays to know your target audience. Available at: http://ezproxy.kingston.ac.uk/docview/1015390602?accountid=14557 (Accessed: 26 April 2015)

Johnson, J. (2011) Design Meets Psychology: Putting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Work. Available at: http://designshack.net/articles/business-articles/design-meets-psychology-putting-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-to-work/ (Accessed: 26 April 2015)

Moss, L. T. and Atre, S. (2003) Business Intelligence Roadmap: The Complete Project Lifecycle for Decision-Support Applications. 1st edn. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers

Rettberg, J. W. (2008) Blogging. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press

Rosemann, M. (2010) Process Management: A Guide for the Design of Business Processes. Edited by Jorg Becker, Martin Kugeler, and Michael Rosemann. Springer-verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K

Studio Jubilee (no date) A pyramid of needs for design, branding and business. Available at: http://blog.studiojubilee.com/post/47612225776/a-pyramid-of-needs-for-design-branding-and (Accessed: 26 April 2015)

alisainuk (2014) Dragons.

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Last blog post

This study year passed really fast. Only couple of assignments left, and all you can do is stop procrastinating and do it as fast as you can. This course was a new experience for me – for a girl who never lived abroad longer than 1 month, never studied abroad and never coped with so many difficulties before.

the beginning wasn’t easy for me – cultural differences, English language everywhere, stress, new friends. Now I fell that  got used to England and this is the best feeling ever. I’m grateful to all the people who supported me, my new friends, and to my university.

Now I’m absolutely sure – and MACE gave me this feeling – that I want to work in creative industries, study this area and be part of this. This market  is growing rapidly. Researchers believe that the annual growth of this sector is on average 8.8% over the past 10 years.
It is worth mentioning that in the export of creative services in developed countries account for 82%, the share of developing countries – 11%, the share of countries with economy in transition 7%, of which Russia is the absolute leader in exports (52.2%).(UNCTAD,2010) During the 2008 crisis, the creative economy and its industry adjust to the situation is much easier than other manufacturers products. Sounds really rousing, isn’t it?

My next step will be to write a dissertation and to find a job here – so I Have the whole summer to do it. It is my last blog post for a MACE program but not my last post in this blog.

Thank you all for reading my blog

Will write here soon

My story

I often think about why in 2010, when I entered Saint Petersburg state University, I started to be interested in creative economy and creative industries. Now I’m doing my MA degree and it is also about creative economy. After the first course back to my first uni  I was interested in the  the post-economic society and the changes that are taking place in the economy of the postmodern world. Baudrillard, Barthes and Lyotard were my friends and enemies at the same time; my beloved and hated books. I want to return to my first experience with creative industries and to talk about my perception of it when I were 16.

In the last few decades, we have witnessed the changes taking place in the field of human activity and its relationship with society, and in the space surrounding us . All of these trends can be traced by analyzing newly emerging concept of the creative city and the creative economy.

Gradually in developed countries we can see  a process of displacement of material property and transferting it to the intangible , intellectual path. Creativity  and knowledge are raw materials, , but apparently seeking to occupy the leading  position in a modern world.

With the help of creative abilities / creative person produces a service or product  , which is focused on the market and very competitive. In the case of the goods is not always understood as a subject that can duplicate or multiply , and he has one owner . An example of this is the creation and sales of paintings .

The scope of the creative economy is difficult to determine, but it is larger and wider than we think it is not only art and culture, as it seems at first glance. It combines a wide range of industries than those that are traditionally classified as cultural, thereby allowing said about the birth of such a thing as a creative industry. In the UK, the US and Australia, as well as in a number of other  countries the government is interested  the development of this area, subsidizing the development, in order to track the dynamics of this sector.
The task of the creative economy – give the city a bright personality traits to increase tourism, create jobs and revive the life in semi-abandoned industrial buildings, as well as to support the Institute of small and medium enterprises.

 

 

Being a creative leader — what does it mean?

One of my courses at MACE program was about Leadership and how it works. And it gave me a fresh idea — pretty everyone knows who is a leader and how to describe this person. But what about creative leader?

What can distinguish creative leader and his style? Plenty of physiological books about leadership are written about having a balance in your life and in your organization, opportunity to react quickly and sometimes unexpectedly.  But it is more about common sense, not something innovative. Creative industries as a part of an economy based on knowledge and people as individuals, so conception of charismatic leadership might be applied here.

Charisma is a form of influence through personal appeal, which rouses support and recognition of leadership that provides the holder of charisma power over followers. As a source of leadership charisma refers to the power of example, related to the ability of the leader to influence subordinates by virtue of their personal qualities and leadership style. Charisma gives the advantages of an effective leader to exert its influence on subordinates.

How to make this creative approach that is peculiar to conception of leadership in creative industries, viable? Collins and Lazier, authors of famous “Beyond Entrepreneurship” book, suppose that every company, no matter which industry we are talking about, can be creative and innovative. You should only follow 6 important rules:

  1. Be receptive to ideas;
  1. Have an ability to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer;
  1. Allow experimentation and error to happen;
  1. Build a creative team;
  1. Have Autonomy and decentralization;
  1. Encouraging is important as tool. (Collins and Lazier, 1992)

For instance, there is a creative space in Saint Petersburg called “Palace”. It is a big area located in a palace right in the center of the city, and there are plenty of showrooms and offices there, and all of them are connected with creative industries. Creator of it decided to make an advertisement of a new place by using all the lessors; so the organization that was making web sites did a site for “Palace”, graphic design agency made a logo, and clothes magazine printed new logo on bags. The campaign was successful and after it decided to invent a new policy in his “Palace” – once in 6 months companies exchange their staff, so, for instance, graphic designers work as moviemakers and photographers as sales assistances. Such an experience allows companies to see their strengths and weaknesses from another point of view. Collins and Lazier conception is partly applied here, and, as we can see, it works in a creative sphere.

Summing up, I want to cite famous physiologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , who wrote once that each of us from birth inherent two contradictory instructions: conservative tendency, which is based on the instinct of self-preservation, megalomania and energy savings, and expansive trend, represented by the desire to master something new, enjoying novelty and risk (curiosity, which leads creativity, falls into this category). And, as human beings, we need both of them. But if the first trend can survive without any kind of support from the outside, the latter trend may be weakened if there is no promotion or “cultivation”. If curiosity is not fed, if there are no freedom and people force you not to do it, the motivation for creative behaviour can be suppressed.  Everyone has a potential to be creative, but not everyone can be a leader.  Nowadays as creative economy conception is widely spread not only in Europe, but also in other parts of the world, this market someday will be highly competitive.

Retrospection

I keep thinking about – what if our product was that successful to win a competition? What mistakes we did that wouldn’t allow us to do it?

First of all we should admit – FLI did a great job. Their product for travelers is really outstanding and useful – now I’m using it all the time I am traveling. Every team made a really interesting device, and – if I had enough possibility and money – I would like to test them all.

Starting from the very beginning our man problem was lack of time. All members of our team were extremely busy for the last couples to weeks and it was hard to find time to work on our product. But still I’m happy to admit that there were no misunderstandings in our team, we are good friends.

Our social networking policy was not so well organized also. I mean we had accounts in different social networks, but we didn’t pay much attention to manage them all. That was definitely our mistake number two.

What Dragons taught us? First of all to follow our dream and do not be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes make us to remain humans and to improve ourselves. So thank Dragons and my perfect team for this lesson

Dissertation. One more step

It is really hard for me to start thinking about my assignment in advance. Usually I do it literally a night before the deadline. Every time when it happens I promise that this situation was the last one. But it continues every time.

What can we do to manage our time properly? How to overcome our laziness? I wish I had answers for these questions, but I think it is just a human nature. Some people are nervous when there is a couple of days before the deadline and they did nothing. I’m not that type. I accept it as a challange – Can I do it or no?

My dissertation is about creative clusters and how they form in cities. Quite a big topic and it is interesting to see how it originates in different countries. Singapore, London, Saint Petersburg – all of them have their unique approach. My aim is to compare them and to find something common and to say why and how they differ.

My first step is to find all kind of resources – books, articles, journals, movies. And people:) So I’m trying to do everything in advance. Hope this time it will work.

Oh, my creative one!

Nowadays we are surrounded by people, products, gadgets and all other things, that are so-called creative. It is funny, because almost couple of years ago nobody knew this word. Being creative now means being special. No matter, is it animated or not. New phone is creative, your CV is creative, your skills are creative. It’s kind of annoying, isn’t it?

If you go to the nearest bookshop, it is easy to find at least 5 books which “help you to develop your creativity”. On the one part it is awesome, because employers now are looking for outstanding employees. But is it good to be 100% creative?