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NESTA

During the last few weeks doing my Design and Enterprise module we have been going through the NESTA program. It’s been really insightful and made me evaluate many things about my business idea that I hadn’t ever considered!

My initial development of my business idea is explained in the previous post, but since doing the NESTA program it has come on in leaps and bounds and is beginning to look like something that can hopefully become real! We investigated things like our target customer, how to reach them, what they would be willing to pay for our service/product and form there try and calculate how much money we could prospectively make!

We had to figure out what made our business different, what our USP was, and how we could market ourselves successfully and raise money to bring our projects to life. I realised that if I take this project seriously, I can actually make You’re It a real thing. From doing these workshops I have been able to work through and make a plan of action for over the summer that will hopefully result in me running the first official You’re It event during freshers week!

I find it amazing the amount of I have learned this semester, I’ve gone in to this class with next to no knowledge on running a business and have left at the end believing that I can actually go forth and make my product a success!

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GSJam Dundee!

The 7th, 8th and 9th of March were the busiest, most hectic and most fun days I’ve had in a long, LONG TIME! I was participating in the Global Service Jam, a world wide service design event where we aim to change the world in 48 hours!

We all met at 5pm on the Friday evening and our secret theme was unveiled at 6pm. Here is it:

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Safe to say that at 6:05 the Secret Theme was still a bit of a secret to most of us! The theme was open to interpretation and led to an hour of brain storming what it could possibly be! We all settled on 5 themes that continued to pop up – health, stereotypes, building/construction and play

My group (made up of Leo Sarkisan, Alison Best, Urška Tičar, Susie McGowan and Juliet Wright) went with the idea of play. We initially explored means of making adults begin to think more like children in order to become more creative and free in their day to day lives.

We were given an example by our tutor, Mike Press – all children communicate visually, they all draw, but if you give an adult or a teenager a pencil and a piece of paper they most likely would feel embarrassed or awkward about drawing something. At what point do children stop communicating this way, at what point do they begin to get embarrassed?  They get to a point where they look at what they have drawn, compare it to real life and either decide that it is not good enough and give up, OR think that what they’ve drawn is pretty cool and carry on being creative without embarrassment.

We wanted to create a service that gave adults an environment to act like an adult, but think like a child.  We looked at creating a sort of workshop, but quickly realised that that wouldn’t be very viable. We took to the streets for some market research, asking both children what they want to be they grow up and adults what they wanted to be when they were younger and how that compares to today. Our results were really interesting, but one thing that we noticed was that when we got adults to talk about their childhood they got super animated and excited. Our group had a little lunchtime break and over coffee decided that we should bring some aspect from childhood and re appropriate it for adults!

And that’s how “You’re It!” came to be! “You’re It” is an app that facilitates games of hide and seek in real life! Players are organised, locations are set and released just before the game, and seekers are chosen. The app uses GPS and Bluetooth technology to track players and register when they are caught! The games would take place in urban green spaces during lunch breaks, allowing workers to get out the office and have a bit of fun and exercise!

The weekend was fantastic and utterly exhausting. I left on a complete high, wishing that every weekend could be as fulfilling as the Global Service Jam.

Skye

As part of my new module this semester (Design Enterprise) I was put in a group with other students from my discipline. We had to research a company relative to interior design, interview them and do a presentation on them halfway through the semester.

We spent a bit of time researching which companies we would like to try and contact and settled on Rural Design Architects who are based on the Isle of Skye

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One of my classmates, Tracy Smith, and I made the journey to Skye on the 6th of February. The whole journey was a disaster! It started with my car breaking down before we had even left Dundee and having to wait over two hours for the RAC to arrive! When we actually set off we realised that it was going to be 4 hours of driving on twisty wee B roads until we got to the ferry at Mallaig!

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Only thing was, because we had to wait two hours for the RAC to arrive we missed the ferry in Mallaig by 7 MINUTES! So we had to double back and add another 2.5 hours driving on to the journey! We were knackered by the time we arrived at the hostel.

The next day we got up super early and drove to Portree to the Rural Design Architects studios. We met with the company director – Alan Dickson, and sat and chatted to him for over an hour about his businesses Rural Design Architects and RHouse prefabs.

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His whole ethos for his business is about balancing his home and work life – everyone in the practice works 9-5, Monday – Friday and the only time they get overtime is when there are deadlines due. He doesn’t advertise and doesn’t chase clients, they come to him and this means he has more creative control over the projects. To be honest he’s a bit of a rockstar. The only way that he can manage to sustain a business like is is because he had already made a name for himself in large companies such as being a director of RMJM in Edinburgh. Knowing the business from the ground up was integral in his radical way of running the practice.

Alan has started another project – RHouse – a series of pre-fabricated houses aimed at a younger market to get their leg up on the property ladder. Living on Skye opened his eyes up to the problem that locals born and raised on the island can’t afford to live there any more as wealthy people have bought up the majority of the current properties to use as holiday homes. RHouse aims to solve this problem – all the studs are built in a warehouse in the next town and the external aspects of the building can be erected in 6 hours, making the building completely weatherproof in half a day!

I feel like many practices could take a leaf out of Alan Dickson’s book, he looks after his staff and puts them as an equal to the client. The staff are happy and produce beautiful, strong designs that are built to last.