Refflective Essay

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IT HAS ALL BEEN WORTH IT

Hello guys,

I just wanted to share with you that I have been chosen to be an intern at MUSIC ALLY. The company focuses on Digital marketing and Social Media research, as well as Consumer Behaviour research in the digital environment for the music and technology industries mainly.

Contrary to what my “networking report” marks would suggest, I believe my networking skills ROCK!.. SO WHAT?

I will tell you more about my experience in the future. See you later,

JUlz

Richard Branson’s Entrepreneurial Profile

Hello Regueristas,

This week I’ve been studying for an assignment about Managing Creativity and Innovation. One of the references I’ve been using to elaborate my report is the book “Creative Strategy” by Chris Bilton & Stephen Cummings. In this edition, the authors provide a model for understanding and linking these  two formerly contradictory concepts (Creativity and Strategy) into a single process. They draw on a definition of creativity as “integrating aspects of experience and intuition that might otherwise go unconnected in oder to change human experience” and strategy as “the realm in which all of the myriad parts of an organization come together, clash and compete, compromise and work to solve collective problems to move forward”. Thereafter they suggest a circular path of integration were, paraphrasing, INNOVATION creates the potential to add value to people’s lives, which needs ENTREPRENEURSHIP to provide the necessary impetus, LEADERSHIP to convert short-term opportunities into long-term direction and to develop the right ORGANIZATION to provide a framework for connection and change; and this to be refreshed, again needs INNOVATION.

In order to illustrate the importance of entrepreneurship within the creative strategy, a description of Richard Branson’s “entrepreneurial angles” is provided. Drawing on what I mentioned on the last post that while it is complicated and problematic to describe the traits of entrepreneurs as general characteristics applying to all of them, these classifications are useful starting points of view for debate.

By entrepreneurship angles, the authors mention RECOGNITION, DEVELOPMENT, EVALUATION, ELABORATION and LAUNCH (you may want to see my last post about  the Innovators’ DNA). Then, when applying this vision to Richard Branson’s practices, they highlighted the following:

– Risk Taker: “Much of Branson’s success has come from taking big risks” Dr. Frank Farley, psychologist at Temple University, Philadelphia.

– Lifelong Learner: He started out aspiring to be a journalist, co-founding a magazine. Personally, I heard he started selling Records on a small store in his hometown.

– Swift Action and experimentation: “Branson hasn’t wasted a moment of his life, and he isn’t afraid to experiment”, says “J. Robert Baum, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland.

– Thrill seeker: “Risk-taking, stimulation-seeking, and thrill seeking; is motivated by novelty and change with a high tolerance for uncertainty”, Farley.

– Self-Efficacy and Confidence: “You get knocked down all the time, so you have to be able to hang in there even when other people are telling you that you’re wrong”, Branson.

-Venture and Industry Experience: This is one of the most interesting characteristics about Branson, for me!, “BRANSON ISNT’ ALWAYS KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT (each one of ) HIS BUSINESSES, HE SURROUNDS HIMSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE”.

(Entrepreneur Magazine, November 2008)

Once again dear Regueristas I’ve tried to contribute to your understanding, from an academic perspective, about what entrepreneurship means (and entails) within our current environment, that of the creative economy. Personally, I believe that beyond ticking all those boxes that confluence from one study to another, about leaders and innovators, what WE (ahahahaa) all have in common is a hunger for DOING… Innovators and Entrepreneurs are DOERS!!!, and therefore they are always looking (and willing to be patient in the long-term) to reach a truthful innovation.

Through this year I’ve also learned  that no business, (service or product) is born “perfect” at once. It requires a process for creative ideas to be developed into something valuable or innovative and therefore it is always susceptible to be improved, reinvented, recreated, etc. Furthermore, all these (good) habits might be reflected, in an organizational level, as sustainability.

See you soon.

“The Innovator’s DNA”

Hello everybody,

This time I will present you the interesting findings from a study published by the prestigious “Harvard Business Review” about those practices of innovative entrepreneurs that put them in the right direction to their successful businesses. The study was developed by professors Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen and Clayton M. Christensen during a period of six years where they studied the habits of 25 innovative entrepreneurs who had either started innovative companies or invented new products. The aim of the study was to undercover the origins of their creative business strategies, i.e., when and how these subjects came up with their innovative ideas and how they differed from other entrepreneur executives. The group included Michael Dell, Jeff Bezos, Pierre Omidyar, Niklas Zennström and Peter Thiel, among others.

To illustrate their findings, the scientists used the metaphor of the DNA. The ignition system or “backbone” of the structure would be the Creative Intelligence which is the ability to engage both sides of their brains into the creation of new ideas. During the study, they found that there were four patterns of action that would “wind around” that backbone and enable this skill to develop on the innovator’s business ideas, these are questioning, observing, experimenting and networking.

Before engaging on business, the study found that it was common among all the innovators to carry out the following activities:

After having an idea, they would:

1) Talk to at least 10 people,

2) Visit similarly innovative start-ups to observe what they do,

3) Sample “new-to-the-market” products,

4) Show the final prototype to more people,

5) Ask the questions: WHat if I tried this?, why do you do that? all throughout the process of observing and experimenting.

The activities were classified as “skills of discovery ” which allow innovators to “break out the status quo” and consider new possibilities (Questinoning); detect small behavioral details – in the activities of customers, suppliers, and other companies – that suggest new ways of doing things (Observing); try on new experiences and explore the world (Experimenting); and gain radically different perspectives (Networking). All the information gathered by these patterns is then brought together with the help of associative thinking (creative intelligence) to cultivate new insights.

Furthermore, the scientists suggest that all these skills can be practiced and applied to any particular background: Practice questioning by constantly asking “why” and “why not”, also “asking questions that both impose and eliminate constraints will help us see a problem or opportunity from different perspectives”. To practice observation, go and watch how customers experience a product or service in their natural environment, without making judgements about what you see, the ultimate goal will always be understanding. To strengthen experimentation, push yourself for new experiences, attend seminars from different topics outside your area of expertise or read books that purport to identify emerging trends. For networking, contact the most creative people you know and ask them about their creative thinking process or if they could mentor yours. Push it a little further and perhaps, have lunch meetings with new people from diverse functions, industries, countries.

The study concludes by pointing out that there is nothing innate or “genetic predisposition” to be found on innovative subjects that would not be present at any other human being. But certainly what makes these subjects different is their consistent pursue and practice of challenging their capacities and ideas in the search for better understanding of events and constant integration of different approaches to solve particular problems.

See you next time,

Julie.

Flawless blogging

Hello there,

As promised, here is my post about “good” blogging behavior for your business. These are some notes from Lisa Myers’s presentation on Social Media. Take a look:

Considering a blog as part of  your Social Media strategy could bring many opportunities for your business. It contributes to develop a positive online reputation and may expand your content to a wider audience. Nevertheless, take into account the following aspects before starting one.

First of all, you must choose what would be the main content of your blog, which would be the topics. Brainstorming might help you get through this, consider those that are most related to your core business activities and/or your customer’s needs.

Second, this is something that many people forget and also seems very obvious, think about who will be managing the blog and who will be blogging. It could be just one person but bear in mind that after a while it could also become stressful or too challenging to keep up with the rhythm. Consider sharing this task with your work team, employees, interns, etc. Regarding the management, plan a strategy and be certain about how people will get aware of the blog, otherwise, it could be time wasting and unsuccessful.

Third, Give it a personal voice, Blogs need personality!!! Be truthful about what you post and do not be afraid of sharing some challenging or drawback experiences, people relate better to this. Remember to share also how your business overcame such difficulties, this will be EVEN MORE appreciated.

A few more tips:

– Use categories.

– Find the right bloggers to share with or follow.

– Use an appealing interface i.e., WordPress!

– Use social plugins to make it easier to spread the content, e.g., Joost, ShareThis, etc.

– Format, format, format!!!! your posts, Bold the important things.

– Use Keywords, they help you get traffic.

A little reminder: People make networks powerful, do not forget to link all your social media platforms specially if the blog is the main source of your contents.

See you soon,

Julie.

Google, THE MONSTER!!

How far would technology go?

Do we have an option?

Should we surrender to its infinite possibilities?

Google is about to use a patent to analyze the background of our phone calls to, then, be able to suggest ads more efficiently. What do you think about that??

http://gizmodo.com/google-inc/

Instead of bringing more options to our poorly enlightened lives, I see Google just as another corporate octopus that is eagerly looking for more possibilities to sell us their business or their stakeholders’. Internet and its networks might become just an extension for the real – life already saturated trash that we consume so beware to plug to the right sources and as I’ve been learning lately, be critical.

Social Media tips

Hello everybody,

Last week I attended an event organized by BizBoard at Kingston University, a session about using Social Media for your business. Today, I will share some notes from this conference by guest speaker Mrs. Lisa Myers, Social Media Strategy Expert/Search Engine Optimization professional. Lisa has more than 10 years’ experience in Marketing of which 6 in Search and Social Media. She is also the Owner and CEO of the leading agency “Verve Search”.

Lisa started by sharing a video to make us aware of our reality today, the phenomenon of internet and the networks or so called “Social Media Revolution”. It is important to address here that social media, as stated by Myers, is not just “Facebook”, or “Twitter” or any other social media platforms. It is about people and what we can do with all those platforms, “people make it powerful”. I have summarize some interesting concepts and general tips on how to maximize the productivity of our social media tools for business.

So, how do we use Social Media? Before starting with any strategy, we have to bear in mind these three important rules:

1) You HAVE to Listen!,

2) Engage and,

3) Be honest!

Why? In order to reach your audience and captivate it, you must know what they are interested in and present it in a unique way, i.e., your way!.. People are interested in significant and truthful contents. Then, give them what they want.

When setting up a strategy to use Social Media you must:

1) Set up your goal/s, this must be very clear from the beginning in order to use S.M. in the most productive way.

2) Define your target: what is their age, gender, location?, What do they follow, listen, read on the internet?? Where do they spend the most time?

3) Then you may select your tools, i.e., platforms, blog, website, etc. (If you choose to have a blog, I’ll share some tips from Lisa on my next post! 😀 )

4) Prototype your strategy, try it before launching it. Ex: If you promised a free download, see if the system works before making it public. You never know when websites may go down, etc.

5) Execute your strategy. Beware of caring about all the details to have a solid execution, execute it well (as promised, goes with point #4).

6) Monitor your social media and Don’t get lost!!… ReCheck your goal, is it working? (Accountability) If not, How can you redirect your strategy?

You might be thinking that you already knew this but, as I have experienced, it is useful to practice the steps and have some order before putting yourself/ideas/business out there. Nevertheless, AND, as keynote from Lisa:  “Have an idea? TRY IT!!, Don’t spend that much time planing”.

Find Lisa on twitter as @LisaDMyers , She’s always willing to cooperate and meet new interesting people, students, ideas!! 🙂

See you soon,

Julie.