Martin Carrillo FS

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Reading Responses

Ideas for Startups

According to the text many people think that ideas are miracles that simply pop up to their minds. The author explains that this phenomena happens because ideas in general are linked to successful “one million dollar ideas” due to the high price of starting a business. Throughout the text it is suggested to change people’s mind set of ideas and business startups. For example, instead of beginning a project with a set plan, it should start with a question. By doing this the project will be more open ended and any “error” could be the spark of new ideas, while with a set plan if it does not work it is a failure. The author also encourages the reader to think about startups in different ways for instance making luxury a commodity, make things that are produced by a big company and don't work more simple, make things cheaper, look for a problem around you or redefine a problem already addressed. The author also motivates the reader to be constantly bouncing ideas with friends and people around you. It is true that the more heads thinking about a problem, the better due to the different approaches that people can take. According to him universities are the best place to start a business because of the amount of technology but also because of the amount of smart people around you to bounce ideas with. Finally the author states to not be afraid of designing something to be sold to a bigger company. Many corporations are looking for small ideas for them to buy. A startup idea can be approached simply by thinking what a corporation might want to buy, and as the author states, it should be in a competitive market so that the possibility of selling is bigger.

The Messy Minds of Creative People

Even though it is difficult to determine what are the exacts factors and processes of a creative mind, the article’s main purpose is to organize the information in this topic to start an understanding of creativity. According to the article, there are three factors in a creative person’s personality; Plasticity, Divergence, and Convergence. Plasticity refers to being open to experience,being an outgoing and extroverted person and have high energy and inspiration. Divergence consists more of being impulsive, non-conforming, have low agreeableness, and low conscientiousness. Ultimately, convergence consists of high conscientiousness, precision, persistence, and critical sense. In addition, there are two processes that lead to high levels of creativity,Generation and Selection. In the Generation process you produce your ideas striving for originality imagining every sort of possibility. In contrast during the Selection process people criticize, evaluate, formalize, and elaborate the ideas looking for new and interesting stuff that is valuable to society. There is a connection between the personality treats and the processes that the mind goes through. Plasticity and Divergence are related to the Generation stage of creativity due to the novelty. On the other hand Convergence was most strongly related to Selection due to the usefulness. Finally, the creative process has to go through many stages requiring flexibility and the ability to adapt from the creative person.

Design Thinking

Tim Brown starts his explication of Design Thinking with the example of Thomas Edison. Brown highlights that Edison's ability to envision how people would want to use what he made was what made him successful. For example Brown states, "Edison understood that the bulb was a little more than a parlor trick without a system of electric power generation and transmission to make it truly successful" when describing his ability to see the market place through different lenses.

After the example of Thomas Edison Brown goes forward to define Design Thinking as a "Methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos". To understand Design Thinking he suggests to look at the landscape of elements that are relevant for innovation. After defining Design Thinking Brown continues with giving various examples of companies that have approached problems with design thinking. He gives the example of the Kaiser nurses that by working in innovation teams and multiple iterations came up with a software that made changing shifts from nurse to nurse. Now the change is more effective both for the nurse and also the client. Information is not lost from nurse to nurse and less time is lost in catching up with the client. An example of designing for consumer's lives is Aranvid Eye Care System in India. This firm has as a mission to eradicate needless blindness among the population including the rural poor, through the effective delivery of superior ophthalmic care. As a hospital chain, it is difficult and expensive to be present all around India, specially the rural areas. In order to get to the rural areas of India, Aranvid sets "eye camps" there to be able to provide eye care for everyone. In addition, to make it more affordable they have developed their own lens factory, now they are able to produce good quality glasses, for a low price that anyone could afford.

Design Thinking is a human centered approach to innovation. Tim Brown is right when he says that successful products are not always the pioneers in the market but are the ones first to appeal to us emotionally and functionally, for example the ipod vs mp3.

Design for Action

Tim Brown starts his article by stating that throughout history design has been oriented towards the development of physical objects. Slowly this shifted, and designers started to be hired in high tech companies to work on hardware or help improve users experience. This trend suddenly got very strong to the point that design is applied to everything around us. Design is so important to our society that with some object, the design of their introduction to the market is as important or more than the object itself. Brown goes on by stating some examples where the importance of the design, the design thinking and the different fields that have been involved in the process are highlighted. The predominant example in the article is the Design of the Innova schools in Peru. Innova schools are owned by Rodriguez- Pastor, the owner of Interbank in Peru. Rodriguez-Pastor's mission is to create an economic middle class of his country. In order to achieve his goal Rodriguez- Pastor and his son have worked pretty hard on several projects or steps. He first put the bank in a competitive position and opened supermarkets,pharmacies, department stores and cinemas in order to provide jobs to the emerging middle class. He later decided to make an impact in the future generations of Peru by creating an educational model where with the help of a software the teacher is not the only source of information but a facilitator in the classroom due to the low supply of highly skilled teachers in Peru. In order to be more successful Rodriguez- Pastor decided to open his schools in rural areas. In order to make the people from this areas be able to afford this schools, he opened his supermarkets to this places. In addition, in conjunction with the Corporacion Andina de Fomento Rodriguez-Pastor helped local farmers finance the growth of their crop so that they could be able to supply the supermarket of their town. This helped many of the rural areas develop and be able to have a better education. Through this example, Tim Brown highlights the importance of designing and planning strategies through all the steps that Rodriguez-Pastor carefully took in order to be able to reach his goal.

What is Strategy? by Michael Porter

Porter outlines three important concepts to understand Strategy. First strategy itself, Operational effectiveness and Fit.

Strategy unlike operational effectiveness is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities.Strategy is about being different.

Strategy is based out of three different sources:

  • Serving few needs of many costumers (specialize product)
  • Serving broad needs of few costumers (specialized audience)
  • Serving broad needs of many costumers in a narrow market.

On the other hand operational effectiveness is when a firm performs processes and activities in a superior way than its competitors due to economies of scale, better technology, etc. Porter explains that it is better for a firm to have a good strategy over relying on operational effectiveness because everyone can reach/ imitate operational effectiveness while imitating strategy is more complicated.

The key of strategy lies on trade offs. When a CEO has to make decisions and choose between one path or the other the firm gains in certain areas. For example Ikea positioned itself as a self service furniture store where the costumer not only has to find the items by him self but also has to build the object as well. This attracts a certain crowd of people that are looking for cheaper alternatives and are not looking for a service of furniture selling, just the furniture.

A firm has fit when their set of activities are coherent towards a same "goal" or "concept" so that they can reinforce each other for the well being of the company. An example of a firm that did not have fit is Continental Lite. Continental Lite wanted to have the concept of a low cost airline but had a set of activities of a main airline, so some of the activities conflicted forcing to shutdown the low cost flights.

The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy

Porter outlines the five forces that affect any market and all industries. In order to make profit Porter explains that these five forces should be used for the firms advantage with the help of business strategies.

1. Competitive Rivalry

One important force that Porter describes is the degree of rivalry between companies that already exist in the market. If there are more companies competing with each other it will make the prices, profits and strategy be driven by rivalry. Some times companies may have very little power in its industry.

2. Threat of new Entrants

New entrants to the market are a big threat to firms. When a market is profitable or will be in the future it attracts new companies. This could shift the market due to speculation. Depending on the barriers to entry new firms would be able to enter the market.

3. Threat of Substitutes

Substitute products are products in another industry that may fulfill the same need. If there are more substitutes the lower the profit.

4. Bargaining Power of Buyers

When buyers have economic power, they can affect the market.

5. Bargaining Power of Suppliers

Depending on the market, suppliers might have more power to bargain prices, reducing profits.


  • Strengths: Capabilities that enable you company or unit to perform well— Capabilities that need to be leveraged.
  • Weaknesses: characteristics that prohibit your company or unit from performing well and need to be adressed.
  • Opportunities: are trends forces events and ideas that your company can capitalize on.
  • Threats: Are possible events or forces outside your control that your company needs to plan to decide how to mitigate.

SWOT is a model that analyses what a firm can or cannot do, it also analyses the threats and opportunities of the market. The model assess in side the company (strengths/weaknesses) but also out side in the market (opportunities an threats). By separating this in four categories it enables the analyst to determine how to position the firm and what strategies should be used for the firm to be successful.

In order to understand this categories in the best way, the Harvard Business Review suggests to understand and know everything about competitors and costumers. Asking this questions:

-Who are they? -Sensitivity to price? (Elasticity) -How to be reached? -Similar products? -Which need is not served? -Loyalty? -Age, Gender, Geographic Location, Income, Behavior.

In addition when analyzing the firm internally it is suggested to understand certain aspects.

-Inimitability: Hard to copy

-Durability: Is this going to be for the long run or the short run?

-Appropriability: Who makes the money? Producers? Retailers?

-Sustainability: Is there any substitutes?

-Competitive Superiority: Is your product unique and most of all superior?

The Design of every Day things

Norman begins with the idea of designing objects with legibility, making them user friendly. He then goes on to explain how the minds of the people designing the objects (engineers, designers, etc) are too logical, and that many people do not think that way. For this reason when designing, it should be taken in account how humans are going to interact with the object being produced.To understand this, Norman brings three kinds of design.

  • Industrial design: Creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of the product.
  • Interaction design: How people interact with technology. The goal is to enhance people’s understanding of what can be done, what is happening, and what has just occurred. It draws upon psychology, design, art, and emotion to ensure a positive, enjoyable experience.
  • Experience design: The practice of designing products, processes, services, event, and environments with a focus placed on the quality and enjoyment of the total experience.

Norman talks about how now a days technology has the potential to make life easier, but on the other hand he criticizes how many products are designed for the product and technology itself and forget about the person who is using it. As a result of this plenty of products come with different functions that many times we do not use. For example he talks about a family who owns a very modern washer. The washer had multiple commands and buttons for functions that made it undesirable to operate. As a result the husband did not go near the washer and the wife learned the most simple command.

In my opinion what Norman says is completely true. It is as simple as to see the difference between a Samsung S5 and an iPhone. The S5 is very powerful and can do wonderful things but it is a complex system that creates a barrier to buy the product. In contrast Apple designs the iPhone in a way that is easy to operate making it more desirable even though it can have some restrictions that the S5 doesn’t.

Experience Prototyping

Buchenau and Fulton describe prototypes as representations of a design made before final artifacts exist. According to the authors prototypes are a key element of the design process because they inform the designer and give them context to work with. Prototypes usually show how the product is going to look or what is it going to do. The authors later describe how prototyping is key in three aspects understanding existing experiences and context, exploring and evaluating design ideas, and communicating ideas to a certain audience.

I find prototyping very useful in my areas of interest. Models and prototypes always inform me as a designer and usually point my projects in certain directions. Prototypes usually show what drawings and words cannot. It is very important to be able to test things out before taking any major decisions. By doing this it also allows the designer to trouble shoot and see for any imperfections or constraints making the final model stronger. In my opinion prototypes can make even a company be more profitable because it can test the market and gather data of what people need and how they would be able to spend with an actual product that they can see and test. Regardless of the stage at which the design or business processes are prototyping will always inform something that will benefit the firm in the long run.

Business Model Generation/ Design Kit IDEO

The strategy reading was very important for the Charlotte’s Pipe development this week. It breaks down the key aspects of the business model and it guided Sam and I to focus on a specific audience and start analyzing the needs, wants, strengths and weaknesses of it. It was very important to choose and audience because it will help us inspire to solve problems and questions Sam and I had since day one. Once we know our costumer very well we will be able to go deeper in the design and make it perfect for this audience to not only want it but need it. We have to take advantage of the amount of information that we have of our costumer, so that we can manipulate our product to satisfy the audience. In my opinion another very important aspect of this piece of literature is the section on value proposition. We should not forget that the Charlotte pipe’s main goal and the reason for people to buy it is to make creating music easy, even though we have been thinking about marketing it in an attractive gadget. This reading also helped us realize what kind of relation we want with our costumer. We realize we want a long term relationship, we want people to come back for new models of the Charlotte pipe, so it will be very high maintenance to keep a good relationship and a good image of our product, so we will need a communications person. In terms of the readings I appreciate how concise and straightforward they were. They delivered the message very effectively and even gave commonly known examples to be more clear. Even though the cartoons in the video could have been a little distracting, having a visual representation of the concepts is always very helpful for me as a visual thinker. I liked the illustrations in the Business Model Generation reading because they were more diagrammatic and simple making it easier to go along with the text.

Business Model Generation

The book Business Model Generation gives clear examples of the different business models for different kind of firms. The authors talk about Unbundling the Business Models , The Long Tail approach, Multi-Sided Platform model, FREE as a Platform Model and Open Business Model as different approaches of the focus and essence of the business model that different firms decided to go with. The two that caught my attention were unbundling the business models and the Long tail approach even though the other approaches were interesting as well.

I think that breaking down the firms into different kinds of business with other fundamentals and focus. The authors propose the following breaks down: Customer Relationship businesses, product innovation business and infrastructure business. This breakdowns allows firms to be able to focus on the needs of their proposed value and therefore meet the audience's needs. I really liked the example of telecom companies, leaving the engineering to siemens or Ericsson while they focus on marketing their service.

On the other hand I think that the Long tail approach is a great approach that not anyone would take. Honestly I come from a place where it is common among people to think that to be successful you have to find a best seller,constraining them from getting into business. Selling assorted "niche" products sounds like a sustainable model because those products are needed too, creating a market. Obviously these firms are not going to present themselves to the public as what they are, they will just provide the service or sell the products for their target audience.

Business Model Generation Scenarios

The Business Model Generation book suggests that we should think about different scenarios of our target audience and what the market might look like in the future. The scenarios make many of the abstract and intangible aspects of a costumer suddenly be very obvious when making the business model canvas. For this reason, Sam and I have been thinking on different personalities that would potentially buy our product. Even though there is a large variety of college students, there are some aspects that probably would not change. For example we were asking our selfs on how to let our audience know about us, we realized that most of college students are already in some sort of social media or for some reason or another will be in the future.

I personally liked the example of the pharmaceutical companies and the swiss house architects from the reading. These two illustrate very clear how designers and us as entrepreneurs have to take decisions based on the people who are going to use our product but also how the costumer and the market can shift the business entirely (pharmaceutical firms).

Business/ Service Ideas

Drive-Thru Gallery

First Ideas

The purpose of art galleries are to display and sell art. For this reason it would be more efficient if the art is displayed for a longer. With a structure that suits this concept a Drive-Thru gallery could be open 24 hours a day 7 days a week without having to pay extended hours to have it open. In addition this will be a 24 hour display of the culture of the place its located. With a credit card reader and a keyboard the gallery would be also able to sell 24/7 while the art can be shipped to the new owner (similar to a Coka-Cola dispenser). It would also be a commentary on the ridiculous and extreme use/dependence of the car in our society.

Week 2

The Drive-Thru galleries bring a lot of questions and comments.

1. Is this more of an art piece/social commentary or a business?

It started as a business with the idea of minimizing costs and maximizing the time that the art is exposed so that more people could see it and potentially buy it. As ideas started to pop, they all seem to take that direction.

2. How is it going to look? Is there going to be human interactions involved?

The first human interaction will be by looking the art and talking about it with the people in the car. Then the idea is to have a parking lot where people can also gather to talk after they have seen the exposition. This space has the potential to be closed and have both cars and humans inside.

3. Would this be successful in every kind of setting (Town vs City)?

This could be successful in both cases depending on how it is marketed. The idea proposes an alternative to going to the movies with a friend, that at a certain point it is a casual thing to do during the weekends.

4. What kind of art is it going to expose?

5. Is the art going to be affordable? Is this only for the high end of society?

Depending on the society it is built in it should target the people that would be most interested in art. Some will be able to buy the art, some would study it and others would just enjoy having something to do during the weekend. (That being said, should it be a drive-thru museum?)

6. What is the goal of this? Is it to expose people to art? Involve everyone in culture?

7. How are you making it safe?

Depending on the neighborhood that its located and how it is designed. The design of the structure has to expose the building to the street so that there can be some sort of surveillance. Guards could be in charge of security but then costs would rise.

8. What if the concept of attracting people to a place at any hour of the day, make them involve socially and buy things is applied to another sector?

More questions: Who is this for? Why would they want it? Does it add value to the art experience or diminish it? Ask at least a dozen artists (VAPA students) to respond to your idea. Robert_Ransick (talk) 15:24, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Gym that creates electricity through its Machines

First Ideas

While waiting for a train in Bruxelles this summer it grabbed my attention that there was no place to charge my phone. After walking a decent amount of time I found out about static bikes that would charge your phone for free, the only requisite was to create your own electricity by biking. If this simple concept is applied to a gym where people are willing and able to work out, and the machinery is able to create electricity it would create enough electricity to run the place and maybe even create a surplus (profit). To be able to come to the gym people would have to pay a membership that will make them owners of the gym. This will be run by a point system where people set up goals for themselves and are approved by everyone, who ever works out the most (produce more energy) has higher incomes.


Week 2

The goal of the Gym is to create clean energy and make a profit out of that. The profit is for the partners, depending on the amount that they worked out. This is a great incentive to be in good form and have a healthy live while still making money out of it. Administrators and the CEO should be hired by a committee composed by the owners and have a fixed wage. There should be a board of trustees (owners included) that oversee the decisions made by the administrators and CEO so that they are beneficial for the company. This has the potential to be expanded throughout the world because of the lack of competitions in the market. This being said there is the opportunity to manufacture this machinery so that if competitions arises (it will) the pioneer company (owns the patent) can sell the machinery to them having two fronts to the business.

Week 3

This week I have stepped back a little of my initial concept to understand what the essence of my idea is.

The concept of the gym is to be able to create energy with human beings exercising. The machinery will allow this to happen. This gym looks to create clean energy through a popular activity such as working out in a gym. This will promote to have a healthy life but also it will be a source of income for many people. The gym's business model allows every member of the gym to make a profit out of it, making it a "employee owned" company. When I decided to step back I thought of the essential concepts behind this gym. By forgetting the employee owned system, I realized that a better way of producing more electricity is by having the mechanism that creates it in a place that is always used. For example, if the mechanism works like a treadmill it could be easily installed in an airport, or maybe on the sidewalk in a big city like New York or Paris. By doing this the amount of clean energy produced might be maximized, even though it does not have the economic incentive that the gym has. In addition, if the design of this treadmill is interesting and catches people's attention more people will use it just out of curiosity or due to the novelty of it.

Here are some links that may help you develop your idea: Hadilmarzouq (talk) 12:37, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Fade out Ink

Even though technological advances have created online versions of books that anyone can manipulate and write on we still are dependent of physical books. It is often a temptation to write on books that have been lend or checked out from a library, but for respect to others and to avoid costs we do not do it. With ink that fades out in a certain amount of days this problem would be avoided, being able to write in every page of the books and using them for classes. When the books are returned they are in perfect conditions, solving the existing problem.

Rhino Box