What I’ve learned in 2017.
2017! It was supposed to be a fantastic year for me because my two dreams became a reality. The first wish is to study abroad, especially in the UK because I love British music and Agatha’s Mystery novels since I was very young. Another one is to live alone without family! However there was no proper reason, however, at this time, I don’t need any excuse. Even, I am here in (near)London! This creative city has a lot to offer!! Yeah~ Looking back 2017, I’ve sometimes felt good and sometimes not good. It was not easy at all. However, I think 3 months in MACE made me think, feel and learn more than ever. So, what have I learned in 2017? What I thought and felt?
What should we do?
In the middle of the first term, I had frequently to back to the moment when I got the first question from Janja. “What do you do if you have a superpower?” At that time, I just said I want to punish the land loads and agents who took away my money. Janja said something that I have to be positive. Be positive is one of value I learned here but I’d like to tell ‘problem-solving’ first. I think the question is meaningful because it reminds me that I have to focus on the problems which people feel pain or really care about. This made me think about what is the current issue, what is the important problem.
We’ve faced various problems in our daily life from environment to social issue. Most of all, sustainability is the global issue at this time. The Climate Change affects disaster globally like a significant flood, coldness and natural resources are running out. Due to the development and industrialization, pollution is threatening people’s life. Against this, UN set Sustainable Development Goals and all level of organization like nation, city, company, NGOs take part in this to save the Earth against climate change and develop further. I think the creative industry is not an exception too. I had a chance to look at efforts of film industry against Climate Change. Again, I’d like to shout out Sony Picture’s Spiderman 2 case. They fully recognized and used their impact on societies in terms of making and screening the film. They planted trees at the shooting location, flooded. They sent messages to people to be aware of sustainability issue and take action through Earth Hour marketing. I think this is so brilliant! In their website, they mentioned that they could save 400,000$ by making film in sustainable way. It’s effective as well as meaningful. I believe that thinking and understanding sustainability issue is important for start-up to stay in the context and to be relevant to people’s need. Also, for cultural startups, by focusing on solving problems related to sustainability issue, I think that there would be more opportunities. Regarding this, I’d like to quote UN Report on Creative Economy(2013), which stated “Investing in culture and the creative sector as a driver of social development can also lead to results that contribute to the overall wellbeing of communities, individual self-esteem and quality of life, dialogue and cohesion”
How should we do?
To have a clear picture of the business, we can use Business Model Canvas which can tell various factors of the business. In the class, I could learn that IP can impact on revenue as well as cost in a business. In this sense, for example, the Netflix should be aware of the importance of Intellectual Property Rights to stream various contents by making contracts with IP owners. Also, according to the recent report, they will invest in producing more original series like ‘Strange Things’, ‘Orange is the new black’. By making their own contents, they can have copyrights to sell, distribute and stream to others and this is going to be their core competency and revenue source as well as subscription fee.
After deciding where to focus, we have to consider how to solve problems and how to make products or services. I believe we need to apply ‘Design thinking and Lean Method’! Basically, two ways are the learning process to fit the needs. In the design thinking, a prototype can be cheap and dirty to show idea and get feedback from users. This is similar to Lean Method, a Minimum Viable Product which should have the basic function to test customer’s response. Like design thinking process, lean start-ups use a “get out of the building” approach called customer development to test their hypotheses. They go out and ask potential users, purchasers, and partners for feedback on all elements of the business model, including product features, pricing, distribution channels, and affordable customer acquisition strategies. I think this is a compelling process for startups because there is always a gap between the idea and reality. If we don’t get any feedback or review from users and customers, we could only have a self-satisfaction that we are working hard not related to customer’s happiness and we will fail big. Kelly brothers state that best way to get closer to the goal is to make a prototype in their book, Creative Confidence. In the book, ‘The Lean Startup’, Eric Ries emphasized this learning process with this sentence, “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else’. According to several statistics, most ideas are failed so, using those methods seems inevitable for startups.
How to be creative?
Creativity seems to be one of key strength for start-ups. I think to get a customer for challenger we have to provide customer one of innovative, new or disruptive offer against previous products or services. In this sense, I think later offer should be differentiated from others. From my experience in Seoul in terms of enhancing creativity, I used to learn and focus on how to drag brilliant idea like brainstorms with post-its, visualizing an idea and etc. However, I think the meaning of creativity is closer to doing than thinking like we usually use bulb icon to represent creativity. I can understand that ‘Do something’ will not give and promise prompt success, however it will give opportunities to learn and raise possibilities for success. In Creative Confidence, I was impressed by Pulse’s story. Two university students had to make news reader apps within 4 days. During the process, they tested prototypes by several users and got feedback like ‘this is a crap’. In the end, they got huge success. One of the founders, Ankit says “It’s not about just coming up with the one genius idea that solves the problem, but trying and failing at a hundred other solutions before arriving at the best one.” Kelly brothers mention in their above book, to be creative start from observation and thoughts to deeds. Like this, I can understand that change can come from a small action.
Back to the first question ‘how to use super-power’, I can understand Janja’s response to my answer now. We can feel angry and blame someone or system, however, if we stay there, nothing is going to change. If there is a problem or someone feels uncomfortable, trying to find a solution would be the more proper attitude for students who learned ‘design thinking’. This spirit is unavoidable for startups which are supposed to challenge and explore possibilities. I remember the time we checked Business Strategy Game result of year 14 when we lost private label market we expected to get. I felt frustrated really, however, Celine encouraged me to focus on the game again. I remember the moment to cheer up and think bright future. I am not saying about being naïve but putting up with failure. After I admitted that we were on the learning path and failures are natural, I could enjoy it and try several things. This lesson is going to be a valuable asset to me and I think I can apply this spirit to Design thinking module to make up Rachel’s vacancy next year.
Last but not least, I’d like to appreciate my classmates too. I learned from them in the class as well as in the canteen at unexpected moments. I just complained and whined, however, they said some nice words for me. Also, there were many moments that I got inspiration, stimulation and encouragement from them and Janja. One of the reasons I choose this course is to put in startup’s shoes. It’s not easy at all!! I’d like to make and develop opportunities together. Looking back 2017, I’ve sometimes felt good and sometimes bad. Overall, it’s great.
Ries, E. (2011) The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses, Portfolio Penguin
Osterwalder, A and Pigneur, Y. (2010) Business Model Generation. John Wiley & Sons
Kelley, T and Kelley, D. (2014) Creative Confidence. William Collins
UN, CREATIVE ECONOMY REPORT(2013)
Westcott, B. and George, S. (2017) Asia under water: How 137 million people’s lives are being put at risk. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/24/asia/climate-change-floods-asia/index.html (Accessed: 22 Dec 2017).
Sonypictures, EcoSpidey and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Available at: http://www.sonypictures.com/green/act/green-film-making/ecospidey.php(Accessed: 22 Dec 2017).
The Guardian, Hollywood broadcasting green-Does the film industry have a moral, or financial imperative for sustainability, like any other company? Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/oscars-hollywood-sustainability-brain-print (Accessed: 22 Dec 2017).
Nick Statt(2017) Netflix plans to spend $8 billion to make its library 50 percent original by 2018 Available at : https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/16/16486436/netflix-original-content-8-billion-dollars-anime-films
Sir Peter Bazalgette(2017), Independent Review of the Creative Industries
UN Sustainable Development Goal. Available at: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
(Accessed: 22 Dec 2017).