A note to future self

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With the culmination of this module of Design Thinking and Startup, my biggest takeaway from this are the experiences it rendered for us. It has been a highly insightful journey for me and my team, altogether. Right from the beginning of this module, we were tutored to work in a direction that would bridge the gap between our present learnings and our future plans. With my plan being establishing a startup of my own, this module has apprised me about the various facets which need to be tackled with precision in order to succeed in my respective field.
I, personally, aspired to recreate the travel space in India and design with a Startup firm to project the various aspects of travelling for its consumers. The idea was to built a network for the prospective consumers and create a touchpoint for all their travel needs, from searching to booking and so on.
Keeping in mind the pre-requisites, I was highly focused and determined for this module.
As the module started, we were split up in teams and guided to come up with an out-of-the-box startup idea which we were expected to create, promote and market for our respective, targeted consumers. Unfortunately though, our team failed to produce a concrete idea in the first attempt due to the niche reach of our product in the market, we managed to come up with another idea taming follies of the previous one. I, along with my team, crafted an idea of a student initiative magazine for the people who come to the UK to study and used it as medium to guide them through with the procedures and other accepts of being an immigrant, with a clear focus on the Indian demographic. Even though we expanded the reach of our product, soon after its initiation we realized that even our final product had its set of problems. We realized that the time required to market our product was way too limited, with respect to the requirement of such a magazine. Another issue that rose was the digitally bland platform that hindered our overall reach. However, a major folly for our project was lack of team management and delay in reaching a consensus for any step that was to be taken for this project.
We were all throughout tutored on how to present our final products to our clients and stakeholders in this module, which turned out to be an extremely beneficial. With the help of mock Dragon Den event, we were taught the what and how of successful presentation. We were then guided to showcase this product and interact and engage with the audience at various levels, namely Dragon Den 2, The Trade Fair, Young Enterprise Innovation Programme, both at the college and business level. This step indeed helped us gain valuable feedback from different kinds of audiences which further helped us gain a deeper insight to manufacture a successful idea in the near future, post this module.
This module effectively upskilled us to lay a business plan for our ideaṣ therefore we created a marketing plan to get maximum subscribers on board instead of direct sales for our product. The idea behind this was to reach a definite number of subscribers first and then reach out to firm which would like to place their advertisements in our magazine to generate revenue. This however did not work out well because it required a lot more time and manpower than we had at hand to increase the reach and gather more and more participation from inside and outside the team.

In accordance to my future plans of establishing a Travel Startup of my own, this module has given me a couple of learning to take forward with me:
1. The importance of team management: For any startup to function successfully, especially a Travel startup like mine, highly effective and efficient team is required. Therefore, I would want to inculcate team spirit and make a likeminded team. Choosing the right role for the right person is something I would like to put a good amount of thought into. Apart from that a proper functioning of my team with clear deadlines in mind and gauging the success of teamwork is highly important. This is what I learnt from my experience.

2. The importance of an effective business strategy: The know how to create an idea, put its various elements together, and the way to work towards it is what leads to its success. Therefore, a well thought and well-constructed business strategy is required to create a great startup that works its way towards success.

3. The importance of a clear marketing goal: I realized that one major failure of our magazine was lack of time and a clear marketing goal as to what we which to achieve from its inception. This made our plan fall flat. Therefore, another takeaway from my experience is that no matter what, there should be a mechanism to constantly adapt to the final goal and make the necessary changes along throughout its implementation.

4. The ability to reach out to the right audience: From the first failure that our team met with, we realized that the idea we proposed could have been a great invention in itself, but if it serves a niche market, it would not reach a successful stage eventually. Therefore, in a Travel start-up like mine, it would be imperative to have fixed target audience in mind and use various tools and tactics to reach to a different audience, differently.

This module eventually made an impact on my way of creating and drafting a business idea for myself in the future. I shall keep in mind the important aspects of how to create my idea, how to market it to the right set of audience, how to promote it to using various mediums in the right time with the right strategy in mind. My biggest takeaway from this remains the step by step implementation of each and every aspect learnt in this module from the scratch.

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