Saturday, 15 June 2013

New Directions: Day 1

Earlier this week, I took part in an enterprise development program organised by Manchester Metropolitan University. The event lasted two days and give me skills to help me set up and run a business.

9am Monday morning:
The day, naturally, started with registration and coffee. I was given various forms to fill in and sign and a name tag with an image of the Monopoly top hat counter. Having being told to sit at the 'Top Hat' table, I proceeded over there and sat down with those who would be my team mates for the duration of the program. There was a Monopoly theme for the entire event and each table was named after a different playing piece (although I don't remember there being a cat or robot in the game!) 45 minutes of introductions and small talk later and we were raring to go and start the first task.

Task 1:
After a summary of the day and introductions from important people from the university, the first task began. We had been given scrapbooks in which we had to record the day. We were also given an envelope that contained questions that each person had to answer and then these would be written in our books. The questions were just to get to know our team and get talking.

After an inspiring talk about social enterprise from Melanie Bryan OBE, we got stuck into the first real group activity of the day. The brief was to create an event to be held at Heaton Park, just north of Manchester city centre. We had  an item that we could use: ours was donated clothing.

If anything, this task taught me that I should really cut down on the amount of The Apprentice I watch. For a small task like this, I feel I got extremely competitive and was definitely one of the more vocal members of the team (which for me really is something!). I was trying to think (possibly a bit too hard) of all the options and the outcome of what we were planning, which I guess can't be a bad thing. We eventually opted for a craft/vintage fair and a community sports day event and encourage fashion and other students to take part in the event. Part of my input was my knowledge of craft fairs and how they can work to make money - although it felt really bizarre trying to explain the concept to other team members. As one of the creative students on the team, I also got the task of designing the poster to sell our proposal. I only wish that we had more time in order to finish it - it looked very empty when on the wall next to all the other posters.

After a great lunch, it was back into teams for more talks about goals and motivation (with a side of interaction to wake us up after lunch!) and marketing and market research from John Keiller of Common Good. We were asked what drives us and keeps us going when the going gets tough. In all honesty, for this part of the day, I wasn't thinking about Made by Emma, I was thinking about my degree. And I've learnt that what keeps me going is to stop. It sounds counter productive but taking the day off allowed me to get stuck back in with a fresh head. We were asked to think about our 'oomph kit', something that we can turn to when everything's gone down the pan.

After the marketing talk, we were given a task to brainstorm ideas for a product that could help users reduce the amount of energy they used. This task had 'To be continued . . . . ' written all over it.