Fernando’s Reflective Essay

nostalgia

NOUN

[MASS NOUN]

1A sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past (Oxforddictionaries.com, 2016).
Nostalgic is how I would describe my current feeling towards this reflective essay. I long for the days when I knew nothing of what I know now. Not because I don’t find the knowledge valuable, but because of the freshness of mind and sense of excitement I was experiencing my first day of induction week back in September.
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 Trueba, F. (2016). #MACE15. [image].

An uncomfortable mind jar

We were greeted during our induction week with a design thinking program ran by Dan Lockton. Design thinking consists of observing people, trying to locate unresolved gaps in a product’s offering and prototyping new products that can fill this void in a human centered way (Brown, 2008). For example, Bank of America used an ethnographic approach to attract new customers. Through empathy, IDEO developed the idea of “Keep The Change” in which users were automatically saving money just through their purchasing habits. This small yet effective change attracted more than 2.5 million customers (Ideo.com, 2016).
This first week helped me set the importance of empathy on a higher pedestal in my mind. After managing my own company for a little over a year, I became greedy and only sought what I wanted out of the videos I was producing. I began dismissing many of the clients’ requests out of my unwillingness to compromise with them. Even if the clients were paying me for my time, I usually only did edits to my work depending on what I thought was best. This changed quickly as soon as I understood why being empathetic with the modern customer can be more beneficial to your business rather than harmful.
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 Watterson, B. (1992). Calvin and Hobbes. [image].

Can prototyping be called work when it is so fun?

We were given an introduction into hybrid products and designs by Laura Ferrarello. She talked about the Web 2.0 and how important it is to observe and understand consumers and what exactly are their needs. According to Peter Thum, consumers, at least millennials, are restlessly looking for products and services that are sustainable or that perform a greater social good (Big Think, 2014). Peter Thum used design thinking, probably unaware of it, when he came up with the idea of Ethos. His company sold expensive water. With the profit margin he would then help impoverished communities in third world nations who had limited access to clean drinking water. He found a void, a gap, in which young consumers with disposable income were looking for ways to help resolve social causes through their buying habits. Although some may argue that greenwashing (Delmas and Cuerel Burbano, 2011) was at the foundation of his business model, he later sold his company to Starbucks, whom have been responsible for giving millions of dollars in aid to charities through Ethos.
During Laura’s sessions, we were given the task of prototyping and pitching a smart bag. We came up with the idea mainly from experience and primary observation of cyclists around London. We identified that cycling and attempting to navigate around the city’s roads was a frightening task for most cyclists. With the prohibiting nature of having to stop and check your phone or GPS to know where to turn next, or wearing headphones trying to understand Siri’s directions with the loud noises of traffic, cyclists are limited to their options when it comes to navigating around the concrete jungle. So, with an empathetic view, we ideated the Bike Pack.
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Trueba, F. (2015). The Bike Pack. [image].
This Bike Pack would enable users to see directions and hear commands directly in front of their eyes through the use of an unobtrusive visor attached to a helmet. In addition to these safety features, the Bike Pack includes Bluetooth connectivity and serves as a portable charger for your devices.
Through the use of prototyping, design thinking advocates are able to better communicate their ideas through visual mediums. Tim Brown says:
Prototypes should command only as much time, effort, and investment as are needed to generate useful feedback and evolve an idea. The more “finished” a prototype seems, the less likely its creators will be to pay attention to and profit from feedback. The goal of prototyping isn’t to finish. It is to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the idea and to identify new directions that further prototypes might take (Brown, 2008).
Although the nature of what I want to do as a career involves pitching presentations which are largely presented through text, I will implement prototyping to my presentations any time there is an opportunity to do so for a brief. Aside from it being a visual aide, I believe being able to present something tangible can better achieve persuasion of people for your ideas.
dad-poll
Watterson, B. (Unknown). Calvin and Hobbes. [image].

Your business partners equate to family

An almost instant connection occurred between our teammates the first few weeks. We shared similar hobbies, passions and even sense of humour. According to Scott et al. (1970), teams that are satisfied with their teammates show increased motivation and satisfaction. Well, that was us. Compatible and ready to begin.
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 Watterson, B. (1988). Calvin and Hobbes. [image].

Brainstorming

After a week of nonstop problem framing and brainstorming on our own, we came together again with our newly formed team. It was apparent that we were having difficulties coming up with a viable product to develop. According to a study done by Lally et al. (2010) the average time it takes for an individual to form a habit is around 66 days. We were barely on our first weeks of actively observing the world with design thinking in our minds. Problem framing in our everyday life was not a habit yet.
Our team decided to carry out a session on brainstorming. I approached the brainstorming process firstly through recording my day and making a journal of different interactions I had with people, objects and places. It was becoming exponentially inferred that our product idea was not going to come to us miraculously.
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Trueba, F. (2015). Second improvised brainstorming session with . [image].
After what seemed a successful session, we decided on the idea of a service that aimed at recycling used coffee grounds from coffee shops and repurposing them into sustainable products. Through research we found that coffee grounds can be repurposed and used in many ways, from serving as fertilisers to exfoliating skin products (Dragan, 2016). We ideated the business model; it would consist in collecting the coffee grounds from coffee shops for a fee and then repurposing and packaging the grounds. However, after a Business Model Canvas done on a lecture held by Richard Anson we quickly were made aware of the limitations to our idea (Blank, 2013). We basically did not have the necessary resources to develop the idea. It was back to the drawing board.
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 Watterson, B. (Unknown). Calvin and Hobbes. [image].

The Story

As a species, we have been telling stories ever since we were hunter-gatherers. Stories that explained why the sun set at night, why there were storms or even the true meaning of the cosmos. We were missing a story for our product. We refocused our aims and found out that one of us had an issue when it came to shaving. The hairy mess created from our faces was putting a strain on our relationships. So, with a problem to solve at hand, we set out to create a story.

 

We found out a creative way to capture all these hair trimmings whilst maintaining our costs at a low. We ideated a bib that could easily be tied around the user’s neck and stuck onto a mirror or onto itself to form a pouch. The Man Apron was born.

 

We identified our story. We thus identified our key audience, materials and even the tone for our commercial.

 

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Screengrab of our advert PSA: The Man Apron

The concept of a story as a selling point seemed rather farfetched for my understanding. I come from a very boxed method of thinking. My dad never acknowledged his company’s story. The 90s were different times. Entrepreneurs were never really bothered with the story. However, with modern businesses comes a changing of interests. For example, AirBnB, at their core, can be defined as a hotel booking website. However, what really makes them unique and differentiates them from the competition is their story. Their story of two friends renting out their loft and turning it into an airbed and breakfast resonates with young people who have had to survive on cereal due to money constraints (Salter, 2012).

 

calvin-and-hobbes-creativity

Watterson, B. (Unknown). Calvin and Hobbes. [image].

Pitching, our sworn frienemy

After what I can only describe as an relentlessly emotional rollercoaster, we had finally reached a point where we had imperfectly perfected our product. The process of drafting our pitches had begun. According to Elsbach (2003), only 1% of creative ideas make it past the first pitch to potential investors.
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Trueba, F. (2016).  Pitching is somewhat liberating. . [image].
After uncountable iterations to our pitching, we learnt that through the use of charisma, confidence and colourful language (the three C’s of persuasion, according to me) we were able to persuade our audience more effectively.
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 Watterson, B. (1989). Calvin and Hobbes. [image].

Next Steps

We suffered through freezing days and punctured skin during our trade fairs. We cried blood, sweat and tears. However, through the miracles of entrepreneurship we were able to secure a win for Emperatigo and we will be representing Kingston University at the Young Enterprise UK Finals. In conclusion, the lessons learned of empathy, lean beginnings and organisational skills will be forever ingrained in my mind.

 

fTHQlan.jpg

Watterson, B. (Unknown). Calvin and Hobbes. [image].

_____________________________
Bibliography
Big Think. (2014). Consumers Want to Make the World a Better Place. [online] Available at: http://bigthink.com/big-think-edge/consumers-want-to-make-the-world-a-better-place [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016].
Blank, S. (2013). Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2013/05/why-the-lean-start-up-changes-everything [Accessed 21 Apr. 2016].
Brown, T. (2008). Design Thinking. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2008/06/design-thinking [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016].
Delmas, M. and Cuerel Burbano, V. (2011). The Drivers of Greenwashing. California Management Review, 54(1), pp.64-87.
Dragan, D. (2016). Coffee Grounds: 6 Ways to Reuse Them | Reader’s Digest. [online] Reader’s Digest. Available at: http://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/coffee-grounds/ [Accessed 21 Apr. 2016].
Elsbach, K. (2003). How to Pitch a Brilliant Idea. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2003/09/how-to-pitch-a-brilliant-idea [Accessed 23 Apr. 2016].
Ideo.com. (2016). “Keep the Change” Account Service. [online] Available at: https://www.ideo.com/work/keep-the-change-account-service-for-bofa [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016].
Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C. H. M., Potts, H. W. W., & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 998-1009. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.674/abstract)
Oxforddictionaries.com. (2016). nostalgia – definition of nostalgia in English from the Oxford dictionary. [online] Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/nostalgia [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016].
Salter, J. (2012). Airbnb: The story behind the $1.3bn room-letting website. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9525267/Airbnb-The-story-behind-the-1.3bn-room-letting-website.html [Accessed 23 Apr. 2016].
Scott, W. E., & Rowland, K.M. (1970). The generality and significance of semantic differential scales as measures of “morale.” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 5, 576-591.
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We won! – Young Enterprise Dragon’s Den

Emperatigo won! Our team won the Young Enterprise competition just before Easter Break and we will now, hopefully, go to the national start up finals at the end of May. This all came as a surprise to me. With all sincerity, I was not expecting to win. Up to the day before the Dragon Den presentations, I was feeling rather discouraged and had fallen out of love for our product. It was probably just the feeling of burning out you experience after weeks preparing for a final presentation, exam or paper. You just feel like throwing glass bottles at a wall.

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Source: Kingston Business School Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/KingstonUniBusiness/

Our day started out by getting together to finalise our pitches. We had spent the day before adding finalising touches and printing our business report, which by the way, made me respect graphic designers way more than before. Thanks to Livia Tang our business report turned out to be visually appealing. If not, we would’ve been at a loss. We spent the better half of our Friday practicing our pitches in different rooms trying to spot any existing flaws in it. We made diminutive changes to our pitches, specifically in our pricing strategy section. We noticed that certain parts of our pricing made our product rather unappealing to potential investors. Emphasis had to be put in the potential growth our product could experience if we were to increase our production scales. The Man Apron could see a potential 56% reduction in production costs once we were able to scale up our efforts and export production. I believe this gave an attractive outlook to our investors which played a large part in us winning the Young Enterprise competition.

After sweating buckets of cold sweat and pitching our idea to the Dragons, we were ready to party. Ready to unwind and cry tears of relief. However, this wasn’t over yet. We were selected as finalists at the end of the day! We smiled externally, and cried a little bit on the inside because we were exhausted. We were given the opportunity to pitch to the group of Dragons who were also judging other teams’ pitches in other rooms. The challenge was, however, that we had to condense our 6 minute presentation into a 2 minute pitch. All hell went loose (not really, we had prepared for this, we just were not confident in our energy levels). We effectively turned our pitch into a funny one. At least during my part of the pitch because I messed up! Good thing that I plan to give stand up comedy and improv a try later in life and I listen to enough live comedy podcasts that I’ve learned how to correct a mistake on the go. After having a laugh, the judges left and began judging every finalist team’s 2 minute pitches.

To be honest, I had lost hope, I knew I messed up during the 2 minute pitch that I did not expect to win. But alas, life works in strange ways and we finally had a reason to drink and celebrate. We were crowned as the winners of the competition, alongside Staunch from the UG program, and we were selected to represent the Business School at the end of May for the National Start Up Finals.

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Source: Kingston Business School Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/KingstonUniBusiness/

The most important lesson I took from this experience is that perfectionism is never an emotional savvy goal to pursue. At the beginning of the MACE course I approached everything with a rather oppressive and perfectionist view. What I mean by this is that I tried to follow everything to the “pie de la letra”, a famous Spanish saying which roughly translates to “foot of the letter” which means following every single rule literally with no room for improvisation. MACE and this competition taught me that companies and organisations must have room for moulding into different beings in order to evolve accordingly to the environment and also ALWAYS BE READY TO SELL!

Thank you Janja, for such an extremely knowledgeable and gratifying course!

Kingston Ancient Market Trade Fair

NEVER FORGET TO CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE DRESSING UP FOR A TRADE FAIR!

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I could probably just publish this blog post with that first sentence and all of my fellow classmates would understand what I’m talking. This past 5th of March we had the opportunity to sell our innovative products at the Kingston Ancient Market at our second trade fair of the year. We were met with a chilly breeze in the early AM hours of the Saturday. We began prepping our box stands which Janja and Yash were kind enough to organise and realise them into fruition. After the first hour of drilling, cutting and pasting boxes, it was painfully obvious that my lack of socks was going to turn out to be an endurance test.

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After we were done setting up our stands, the selling process began. To our surprise, our first sale came from a customer. An actual customer. Not a friend, relative or lecturer. AN ACTUAL CUSTOMER! To be fair, we have tried to steer away from being too cynical and actually putting trust and confidence into our pitches and products. However, we were genuinely amazed that a person was interested in our Man Apron. One of the most valuable customer insights in the first few hours was that if you show genuine interest in your customer and his/her needs, chances are that they might actually purchase your product. People like to feel reassured that what they are buying serves a purpose or fulfils a need. I believe this helped us achieve an extremely important honour; this serves as foreshadowing to an upcoming reflective essay.

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After selling our initial couple of products, we felt we were very effective in communicating our product’s benefits. We began displaying an infectious confidence whenever a potential customer approached our stand. This confidence had also made me realise that customers began responding positively to our pitching and talking. We began building rapport and people trusted us more. We began to actively listen to audio and body cues on whether the potential customers were genuinely intrigued or not in the product. Nazar (2013) writes that even though persuasion has some shared characteristics to manipulation, persuasion is not coercive in nature. Instead, people need to be genuinely interested in the product and thus add value to both parties involved. If not, all persuasion efforts are wasted.

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By the end of the judging and the trade fair, we were exhausted. We began tearing down our boxes in a fit of desperate energy to get indoors and warm up our frozen toes. In retrospect, the Kingston trade fair served as additional insight into our product. We learned that our product, although feasible and if marketed correctly can be very profitable, it is wise to attempt at upscaling production and selling to businesses rather than individual consumers. This would in turn reduce production costs immensely.

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To conclude, thank you Janja and Yash, this trade fair was a success hugely in part because of the both of you. Congratulations!

References

Nazar, J. (2013). The 21 Principles of Persuasion. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonnazar/2013/03/26/the-21-principles-of-persuasion/#6610933e53be [Accessed 14 Mar. 2016].

Does the globalisation of communications erode local Mexican creative industries or bring them to a wider audience?

Globalisation, according to Financial Times, can be defined as the integration of international economies and cultures through the means of communication, trade and transportation. (Lexicon.ft.com, n.d.) The globalisation of communications has brought on new channels of communication, such as the Internet and social media, which have facilitated the exchange of information across the globe in an instantaneously fashion.

Ever since the advent of the Internet and digital communications, information is readily accessible all across the globe. Consequentially, this has brought global audiences, organisations and cultures closer together. Two way symmetric communications have enabled entrepreneurs, small businesses and, most importantly, innovators and creators to collaborate and come to solutions to modern issues. (Tench and Yeomans, 2014) As an example, Foldit, a multiplayer online game in which players work and compete against each other to create protein structures and solve prediction problems – was used by researchers in an unprecedented way. The implementation and refocus of using this game by researchers of the Nature Structural and Molecular Biology journal in 2011 led to players folding and solving the Mason-Pfizer monkey virus, a protein that plays a major role in AIDS development in rhesus monkeys. Scientists had been trying to understand this protein for the past decade to no avail. (Medeiros, 2014) It is important to note that this feat could have not been achieved if it were not for the interconnectivity of masses and the globalisation of communications.

To focus the effects of globalisation on local industries, we turn to Mexico who has been experiencing financial turmoil ever since new financial reforms transformed the nation into a foreign investor’s dream.

Mexico has been an interesting and unsatisfied beast in modern neoliberal globalism markets. To understand the economic trends in modern day Mexico, it is important to consider that its economy was controlled by the Spanish kingdom for more than three centuries and was based around the exploitation and mining of minerals, specifically silver. Additionally, after the war for independence, many Mexicans opposed foreign involvement or investment in their newly sovereign nation. Furthermore, Mexico’s economic history in the first half century since its independence was an unstable one. Constant changes of whole political cabinets, deserting gachupínes (Spanish colonisers) with their savings of gold and silver and a recurring threat of invasion from foreign European nations that saw opportunity in a vulnerable nation, such as France, led to Mexico’s skepticism towards foreign investment in following decades.

Otero (2004) talks about how the country transitioned from economic models twice ever since its independence from Spain in 1821. The last couple of decades of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century saw the first transition where ‘economic liberalisation’ ruled the economic sphere. This liberalisation meant that the government expropriated many of the indigenous land and even privatised organisations such as the Catholic Church. It wasn’t until the Mexican Revolution when the country’s economy became more independent from foreign powers, specifically from the United States, and counter-movements made mostly of peasants, workers and teachers rose in prominence and gained a powerful voice through unions and syndicates. The progression to the nationalisation of oil and state led education guided the direction towards Mexico’s ‘societal protection’ tendencies. (Otero, 2004)

The current state of Mexico’s economic policy towards adopting globalist ideologies is the cause of an ever-growing national debt and the constant fluctuation of political parties in power. However, it is doubtful whether this drift towards adopting neoliberal market ideologies once again will be beneficial to Mexico’s economy and its local industries. This in part due to the growing discontent and the uncertainty of whether the welfare of the average Mexican worker has been met after the signing of certain documents that push for free trade and privatisation, such as NAFTA and national economical reforms brought on by Mexican president Peña Nieto’s current administration. The aperture to foreign involvement has made the local industries both notable and vulnerable to international eyes.

Many argue that globalisation has been an agent of harm in local industries by eroding opportunities of growth and exporting entire operations overseas due to cheap labor and more lenient employment regulations. Accompanied by criticism, many automotive, electronic equipment and manufacturing companies such as Delphi, Bosch and Flextronics, have been offshoring operations from the US, UK and Germany to industrial cities in Mexico since the 1980s. (Booth, 2013) At the same time, it can be argued that globalisation has aided many local industries in blossoming and gifted them growth opportunities which were inaccessible before such is the manufacturing and automotive industries in Mexico. Automotive industries sporadically being born in cities like Puebla or León can be factors of economical well being and investment to the area that had not seen before. This is important to note because in the case of television, the same franchises from the US have tried to steer their way into Mexican households, i.e. 100 Latinos Dijeron is the Spanish adaption of American TV show Family Feud

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Source:  MundoMax (2014). 100 Latinos Dijeron [Image]

Moreover, the access to communication has carried the creative industries in Mexico to receptive audiences across the globe. Thanks to the access of wide reaching communication tools and digital advertising channels such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram and online communities such as 500px, Flickr and DeviantArt, nowadays designers, painters, filmmakers and other creative professionals have been able to export their talent and make a living and a career out of their efforts. To illustrate how globalisation has helped smaller creative industries and professionals, the northern industrial city of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico serves as an example of how the globalisation of communications has driven the local industries.

Arturo Damasco and René Nava, two Mexican illustrators from the same city, were met with the opportunity to travel across the European continent and collaborate with fellow artists on a project called Magos Latinos with the sole purpose of designing and painting murals that depicted the stories of the violent history and the current state of the city. The opportunity to travel arose after Nava organised Color Walk, a project aimed at turning Ciudad Juarez into an open air walking museum in which both local and international muralists were able to design the city’s buildings into majestic sights. (Martínez Prado, 2014) Color Walk gained regional recognition after being praised on social media and news outlets. Damasco saw a considerable amount of attention when he designed and painted a 400 square meter mural portrait of local celebrity Juan Gabriel in an Andy Warhol style. Damasco’s name and career grew prominence from the art piece commissioned by the local authorities. (Castro, 2015)

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Source: Trueba, Fernando. (2015). Le Tour De Juanga. [Photograph]

It is important to note that the attention local artists such as Nava and Damasco garner from globalisation not only benefit the individuals but it also creates growth opportunities for local industries, such as tourism, to strengthen in the area. According to studies made by the Centre for Economics and Business Research Ltd., arts and culture play a major role in driving tourism in the UK. This in turn adds to the country’s GDP, as well as creating spillover benefits and skills beneficial to other industries. (Centre for Economics and Business Research Ltd., 2013) With travel and tourism contributing over 14.8 percent to the country’s GDP in 2015, the same theory could be applied to Mexico. (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2015)

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Source: World Travel and Tourism Council. (2015). Travel and Tourism: Economic Impact 2015 Mexico. [Graph] Available at: https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic%20impact%20research/countries%202015/mexico2015.pdf

Globalisation created a resurgence in dead industries in a domino effect-like pattern for the city of Ciudad Juarez. Following the trend, Ciudad Juarez experienced a rebirth of tourism from residents of its sister American city El Paso, with whom they share a border, as well as from other communities in the region. This resurgence in tourism occurred after crime rates decreased and feats such as Color Walk were accomplished. Social events such as the cycling tour of El Tour De Juanga, in which families and communities were invited to cycle around the city and visit the different murals of the open air museum – were born. Additionally, businesses such as Turibús Juárez emerged whose sole service was to drive tourists around the city visiting key historical sites as well as the murals painted by international artists. (Luján, 2015) The turn of events led to capital being reinvested into the city and other cultural attractions which would then hire local artists to create pieces of sculpture. One can argue that the arts and culture created by the local creative industries in Ciudad Juarez played a major role in the resurrection of the tourism industry.

It is worthy to recognise that the opportunities arising from globalisation in the creative industries and communications in Mexico have birthed as a byproduct an international interest in the country’s culture, and to an extent, to its social and political issues. This global interest in foreign social affairs has become a driving force behind the phenomena known as participative citizenship that is currently being seen in many developed countries. (Yigit and Tarman, 2013) The global support and backing that the Ayotzinapa movement gained back in 2014 was unprecedented. One of the major contributors to the awareness of this particular movement was freelance digital marketer Alberto Ecsorcia. (Devichand, 2015) Ecsorcia was responsible of tailoring the hashtag of #YaMeCansé, which was used a total of 4 million times on social media sites, to steer the media’s eye towards social issues afflicting Mexico and to feed the trend of participative citizenship. The movement’s global acknowledgement in the media reinforces the idea that the level of visibility it received could have not been achieved if it were not for social media and the globalisation of communications.

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Source: YaMeCanse.MX. (2014). Ya Me Cansé. [Photograph]

To add, the need to collaborate and take action on social issues was not only reinforced from a global landscape. As an example, local photographer Monica Lozano was responsible for managing and bringing Inside Out to Ciudad Juarez as a means to raise awareness of the diverse stories that stem from this city. The project Inside Out , as their website cites it, is

an international participatory art project that allows people worldwide to get their picture taken and paste it to support an idea and share their experience.’ (Insideoutproject.net, 2011)

The project started out in 2011 in Paris by an anonymous French artist simply known as JR. The project began gaining support in cities around the world. To emphasise on the reach of the project, local artists and photographers, rather than the project’s creators, were the ones responsible for organising similar events in their respective localities.

Remarkably, Inside Out in Ciudad Juarez gained particular recognition because many of the stories shared were of people affected by the wave of violence the city lived through between the years of 2008 and 2012. Lozano and a team of local photographers took the portraits of the many people and pasted them on walls, under bridges and most notably on the concrete walls of the Rio Grande situated on the border between Mexico and the United States. People across the border were able to see the portraits which served as an instrument of protest towards the lack of empathy the neighbouring community expressed. The project garnered attention across the region and the world, largely through social media and online newspaper articles. The largest beneficiary of the project was Lozano after her work procured sufficient attention to be invited to the premiere of Inside Out’s official documentary at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca film festival in New York City. (Camacho, 2013)

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Source: InsideOutProject.net. (2011). Inside Out Juárez. [Photograph]

Undeniably, positive outcomes have emerged thanks to the globalisation of communications. However, the ease of access to information in today’s digital landscape can also make ideas susceptible to theft. For example, the many fashion designs that the Mixes, an indigenous group of people of the state of Oaxaca in Mexico – have created and incorporated as part of their clothing and culture were recently copied and rebranded under French designer Isabel Marant’s clothing line. (El Universal, 2015) However, this also garnered widespread uproar and attention which led to the French designer issuing an online apology and the indigenous people gaining distinction and support for their cause. It is important to be mindful of the negative implications when discussing the benefits globalisation has brought into play in the modern marketplace, such is the case of theft of intellectual property.

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Source: Harp, Susana. (2015). [Photograph]

The entertainment industry in Mexico is part of the group chiefly affected by the rampant piracy currently affecting the economy. As a stark example, Tepito is a neighbourhood near Mexico City’s central plaza which serves as a market for smuggled goods such as electronics and pirated movies and music albums. A growing demand in these goods have seen piracy stroll an uninterrupted trail in Mexico. This demand stems from the devaluation of the peso seen during the 1990s which led to the average worker no longer having the spending power to purchase foreign goods and resorting to knockoff brands. (Navarette and Ascencio, 1996)

In Grillo’s publication, Beating the Black Market, he interviews Dr. Norman Aswat, an economist from UNAM, who argues that this demand is caused  by a vicious cycle commenced because of the economic state of the average citizen. Wages are considerably low in Mexico in comparison to the average American worker, which leaves citizens with very little to no disposable income. This, consequentially, leads people to purchase products in the black market which are usually priced at 40 percent cheaper than the original brands in some cases. The diverted capital not spent on established retailers’ shelves stalls economic growth and in turn leads to wages and profit remaining low. (Grillo, 2003)

However, piracy has become an untameable beast in Mexico. The theft of ideas, illegal distribution of content and the leniency of punishable action can leave multinational companies such as Levi’s and Walt Disney, whom are some of the most affected by piracy in Mexico, in a position of impotence to pursue legal measures. With around 57.8 percent of the country’s workforce involved in informal employment it is almost impossible to maintain an actionable plan to deter these black markets. (Luna, 2015) Measures have been taken against these issues but with recent legislation, copyright violations have been decriminalised in the country and are only punishable with fees which in turn make the outlook of protection of ideas become a hazy image. It is important for governments to take action to educate on the harms piracy creates on the same citizens that purchase products from the black market such as stagnating wages and piracy becoming customary.

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Source: INEGI. (2015). Translated: Number of persons working in an informal business. [Graph]

One of globalisation’s corollaries is the competition across markets, sometimes putting smaller organisations and individuals at a disadvantage against multinational companies. According to Thomas Hatzichronoglou’s report on globalisation and competitiveness for the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, countries that opened up their markets to foreign investment and affiliations followed parallel paths in experiencing greater exposure to international competition and external factors. The report also touched on the point that smaller countries experience higher levels of this exposure. (Hatzichronoglou, 1996) Allowing access to a developing country’s market to foreign factors can deteriorate the growth potential of local industries. As an example, studies by the Center for Economic and Policy Research show that the NAFTA agreement did not aide Mexico’s GDP growth as expected from 1994 to 2014. Their GDP only grew an 18.6 percent in comparison to their previous growth of 98.7 percent from 1960 to 1980. (Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2014) This data poses the question whether competition stemming from globalisation affects creative industries the same way it affected other industries.

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Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research (2014). Mexico and Latin America: Average Annual Real Per-Capita GDP Growth, 1960-2013. [Graph] Available at: http://cepr.net/documents/nafta-20-years-2014-02.pdf

The wider reach of audiences accessible to creative professionals also means that audiences have a wider range of options to choose from when hiring services. Creative professionals are now aiming at ways to differentiate themselves from an ever growing and multidimensional workforce pool. Professionals are resorting to personal branding and purchasing programmatic advertising to position themselves directly onto the audience’s devices. (Marshall, 2014) Further research is required on whether or not the competition seen between brands and individuals offering the same services is beneficial for the creative industries in Mexico. However, cases wherein large companies hire small creative firms or one-man production houses over bigger and well established advertising agencies are worthy of notice.

Indeed, the Mexican creative industries have seen more benefits from the globalisation of communications than losses. In order for the creative industries in Mexico to thrive in a global market, the accessibility to the market from independent competitors brought on by the wider reach of audiences through digital communication needs to be promoted. Monopolies currently held by several companies in Mexico are what have deteriorated the drive to compete in the market. However, trends point towards a more neoliberal market with greater competition. As an example, the program incentivised by the government known as Régimen de Incorporación Fiscal, or RIF, is pushing informal business owners to register as formal businesses and has led to smaller businesses reaping the benefits of tax breaks. (Luna, 2015)

Additionally, policies that currently protect intellectual property in Mexico need to be better enforced. Mexico’s intellectual property laws are protected by a plethora of national and international laws. However, the largest issue at hand is enforcement and punishment of violators of these laws. According to the Microsoft sponsored report by The Economist, Mexico’s software, publishing, software, entertainment and clothing industries are between some of the most affected by the theft of ideas and designs. (The Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd, 2010) Policies and video campaigns have been launched by the government but trends point to no detriment of these practices.

Barrowclough and Kozul-Wright (2008) describe that developing countries, such is the case of Mexico, have acknowledged the importance of investing in infrastructure to support newly knowledge-based economies such are the creative industries. However, it will not be an achievable goal to some developing countries because many, if not the majority, lack the basic necessities, resources, commodities and the education to incubate these new economies. The attention is currently aimed at solving the engulfing poverty and inequality.

References

Aguilar, F. (2015). Llevan su ‘magia’ a Europa. [online] Diario.mx. Available at: http://diario.mx/Espectaculos/2015-06-08_ab4a77d5/llevan-su-magia-a-europa/ [Accessed 29 Nov. 2015].

Barrowclough, D. and Kozul-Wright, Z. (2008). Creative industries and developing countries. London: Routledge.

Booth, T. (2013). Here, there and everywhere. [online] The Economist. Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21569572-after-decades-sending-work-across-world-companies-are-rethinking-their-offshoring [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

Camacho, C. (2013). De Juárez a Tribeca. [online] Diario.mx. Available at: http://diario.mx/Espectaculos/2013-04-15_f29fc5c5/de-juarez-a-tribeca/ [Accessed 6 Jan. 2016].

Castro, S. (2015). Inician mural de Juan Gabriel. [online] Diario.mx. Available at: http://diario.mx/Local/2015-02-23_67c46285/inician-mural-de-juan-gabriel/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2016].

Center for Economic and Policy Research, (2014). Did NAFTA Help Mexico? An Assessment After 20 Years. [online] Washington DC: CEPR, pp.1 – 12. Available at: http://cepr.net/documents/nafta-20-years-2014-02.pdf [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

Centre for Economics and Business Research Ltd., (2013). The contribution of the arts and culture to the national economy. [online] London: CEBR, pp.36-84. Available at: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/pdf/CEBR_economic_report_web_version_0513.pdf [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

Devichand, M. (2015). Is social media fuelling a Mexican Spring? – BBC News. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-32053907 [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

El Universal, (2015). Diseñadora francesa niega demanda contra mixes. [online] Available at: http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulo/estados/2015/11/20/disenadora-francesa-niega-demanda-contra-mixes [Accessed 29 Nov. 2015].

Grillo, I. (2003). Beating the black market. Business Mexico, 13(5), pp.51 – 52.

Hatzichronoglou, T. (1996), Globalisation and Competitiveness: Relevant Indicators, OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers, 1996/05, OECD Publishing. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/885511061376 [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

Ibrus, D. (2014). Lecture 7 – Globalization of the Creative Industries. [online] prezi.com. Available at: https://prezi.com/93slkybkbk6p/lecture-7-globalization-of-the-creative-industries/ [Accessed 29 Nov. 2015].

Insideoutproject.net, (2011). About | Inside Out Project. [online] Available at: http://www.insideoutproject.net/en/about [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

Larsson, N. (2015). Inspiration or plagiarism? Mexicans seek reparations for French designer’s look-alike blouse. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/jun/17/mexican-mixe-blouse-isabel-marant [Accessed 8 Jan. 2016].

Lexicon.ft.com, (n.d.). Globalisation Definition from Financial Times Lexicon. [online] Available at: http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=globalisation [Accessed 10 Jan. 2016].

Luján, F. (2015). Recorren en Turibús lugares turísticos de Ciudad Juárez | Nortedigital. [online] Nortedigital. Available at: http://nortedigital.mx/recorren-en-turibus-lugares-turisticos-de-ciudad-juarez/ [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

Luna, C. (2015). La economía informal cobra fuerza en México. [online] Cnnexpansion.com. Available at: http://www.cnnexpansion.com/economia/2015/08/15/informalidad-laboral-retoma-fuerza-en-mexico [Accessed 6 Jan. 2016].

Marshall, J. (2014). What is programmatic advertising – Digiday. [online] Digiday. Available at: http://digiday.com/platforms/what-is-programmatic-advertising/ [Accessed 29 Dec. 2015].

Martínez Prado, H. (2014). Color Walk, harán de Juárez un gran museo | Nortedigital. [online] Nortedigital. Available at: http://nortedigital.mx/haran-de-juarez-un-gran-museo/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2016].

Medeiros, J. (2014). How turning science into a game rouses more public interest. Wired Magazine. [online] Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2014/10/features/science-as-a-game [Accessed 3 Jan. 2016].

Navarette, G. and Ascencio, M. (1996). Plundering Pesos. Business Mexico, 5,6(12,1), p.3.

Otero, G. (2004). Mexico in transition. Black Point, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Pub.

Tench, R. and Yeomans, L. (2014). Exploring public relations. 3rd ed. Harlow : Financial Times Prentice Hall.

The Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd, (2010). Intellectual-property environment in Mexico. London: The Economist.

World Commission on Environment and Development, (1987). Our Common Future. [online] Oxford University Press, p.41. Available at: http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf [Accessed 28 Nov. 2015].

World Travel and Tourism Council, (2015). Travel and Tourism: Economic Impact 2015 Mexico. [online] London: WTTC. Available at: https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic%20impact%20research/countries%202015/mexico2015.pdf [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

Yigit, M. and Tarman, B. (2013). The Impact of Social Media on Globalization, Democratization and Participative Citizenship. Journal of Social Science Education, [online] 12(1). Available at: http://www.jsse.org/index.php/jsse/article/view/84/1169 [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].

Globalism, is it a threat or a bittersweet reality?

Over winter break, I undertook the task of writing about how globalism has affected industry in Mexico specifically (the essay will be posted at a later date as a blog post). It was interesting to research and find out the level of skepticism the average Mexican has about foreign involvement in their economy. For many years, Mexican petroleum was considered a national patrimony reserved to its citizens, but that will change in the upcoming years. There is big debate whether the decision of opening up the market of oil in the country to foreign investors will benefit the economy or only harm the oil prices in the market.

The perception of globalism is a bit skewed as there are two strongly supported opposing stances on the subject. One part argues that globalisation has harmed local industries and have deterred any growth for them by governments favouring foreign investors over national ones. However, the opposing party argues that globalisation has opened up the market to a wider plethora of opportunities.

However, I sit on the gray area in the matter. Certainly, globalisation has aided me personally. If it wasn’t for the ease of communication between communities, cities and nations, I probably would not be in London studying my Master’s degree. Moreover, I would have not met long lasting friendships that have both aided me personally and professionally throughout my life. Globalisation, specifically that of communications, has led to many creative professionals such as myself to market our services to a increasingly connected audience. As an example, a video I produced during my travels to Ireland in the summer of 2014 gained notoriety in an Irish newspaper and put my name in the computer screens of people halfway across the world from me.

Sources: DailyEdge.ie, TheJournal.ie

In contrast, globalisation has had many negative effects. Globalisation has exported many jobs to developing countries which have left many workers in the developed world struggling to find jobs to survive. This consequence of exported human capital means that competition has seen an exponential increase. In my line of work, people are having to differentiate themselves from the pool of global talent. Personal branding has risen in the creative sector as a priority and a necessity to survive. It has become almost alien to meet someone in a creative industry whose name if Googled does not direct to a website with a digital portfolio, a logo and, for the most part, great web design.

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My own personal brand

Indeed, globalisation is a polarising subject but it is one that we must discuss and decide how we, as business owners, employers and professionals will tackle the issues it has spawned. Issues such as child labour in the technology manufacturing industry, over exploitation of developing land and human resources and sustainability in developing countries are some of the obstacles that will need to be hurdled in the upcoming decades.

First Trade Fair – Reflections

It’s been a couple weeks since Emperatigo had the chance to sell The Man Apron for the first time. We set up our stands with a stomach filled with caffeine and fluttering butterflies. We tied our bow ties with an air of excitement. We practiced our selling pitches with a confidence croak in our voices. And so it begun, The Man Apron hit our first bearded customers.

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It was a bit tough realising that the presentation of our product had discrepancies. The biggest flaw was that of our packaging and how confusing it was perceived to our audience. Many people thought we were selling coffee products because our packaging was that of a coffee cup. It also did not help that our stand was situated right next to our good friends from Coffee Cozy who are indeed selling a coffee accessory. Lesson learned: packaging affects a product greatly.

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Another area I perceived required great improvement was that of our pitches and selling skills. Although many of the potential customers found our products useful, they were not convinced solely on our pitches. We had to show them a demo on how to use The Man Apron. Although, not as grave of a problem, a good pitch should be able to intrigue, engage, and create a desire to purchase. No further persuasion should be needed. Lesson learned: practice and never stop rewriting and perfecting our pitches.

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What? What is this? A sale? For The Man Apron? GREAT! We had made our first successful sale in just the first hour into the trade fair. It was also who we expected our customer to be, a woman! She said this would make her husband laugh but also found the useful value in our product saying that it could ease the pain of cleaning a dirty sink. However, we found throughout the day a decreased interest in our product from women. Many of our buyers ended up being men, which is still great insight into our brethrens’ consumption tendencies.

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Luke carrying out a demo on The Man Apron and loving it

After a measly 10 products sold (I say measly in a very sarcastically British way), we headed into the prize ceremony portion of the day. Although we stood grand and delivered our pitches with a certainty of greatness, we were deflated by the news that we had not won anything. Not even, an honourable mention. But alas, it’s always part of the process and what matters is the journey.

The next steps we’ve taken ever since our first trade fair have been very fruitful. We decided to redesign our packaging and ordered a sleeker packaging which we believe represents The Man Apron in a more sophisticated way. We had felt we were playing the “humouristic” trait a little bit too much when designing and marketing our product and that directly translated to our packaging, which confused a sizeable amount of the trade fair attendees. We also went ahead and order some more bearded paraphernalia to further brand our packaging. What I’m especially excited are the adverts and the campaign we’re rolling out in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

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Screengrab of our advert PSA: The Man Apron

Contact us:
http://www.facebook.com/TheManApron/
http://www.twitter.com/emperatigo
http://www.instagram.com/the.man.apron

Can sustainability be achieved in developing countries whilst promoting economic growth?

Ever since I started the MACE course, I have learnt critical ways of thinking about how things, products, services and processes are designed and how they can be improved upon. For the major part of my life, sustainability never came to mind, only conservation of resources. However, the idea of using resources in a sustainable manner for their continued use throughout the years is still a fresh ideology on my mind. Having grown up in a very industrial city in northern Mexico, I would often see dirty streets and get angry at people who littered, so I would always urge my family and friends to dispose of their garbage in the bin. But, that’s the problem. I only ever thought about the environment up to that point in the process. I never thought if whether my garbage was being disposed of in a harmless manner or if it was being recycled at all. Now, shyly, I must admit that I’m embarrassed at now reaching that level of thought in my younger years.

Developing countries are currently going through an interesting transition as an economic powerhouse for foreign investors which have brought a noteworthy injection of growth into the economies. However, this led me to question whether these new industries and companies setting up shop in Latin American, African and some Asian soil really have in the back of their mind the word ‘sustainability’?

There is evidence showing that sustainable practices in food production and agriculture are currently being adopted in an accelerated pace by many farmers in developing countries. Out of the 960 million hectares of arable land currently in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, sustainable methods of production are currently in practice in a total of 3 percent of that land. Whilst not an impressive percentage, it is important to note that the trend aims towards adopting sustainable methods. Farmers from these continents are seeing how some of these practices benefit both the environment and their businesses. Sustainable practices have given way for better use of water to repurpose barren land that had been damaged by droughts in places such as Burkina Faso which have led to higher yield crops. Moreover, better use and the upkeep of soil in Brazil has completely eliminated the need for harmful chemicals used in farming such as lime and phosphorus (Pretty, Morison and Hine, 2003).

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Photograph: Dan Chung

Another area with a much need for attention is the creation and distribution of energy in developing countries. With oil prices on the rise, many developing countries are finding themselves in financial turmoil. In order to continue their growth, countries such as India are seeing the diversification of their energy sources as their only alternative. However, this diversification and independence from imported fuels can lead to a reinvestment into local energy providers that may be fit to be less harmful to the environment. The needs to access to energy at the moment are increasing at an alarming rate in developing countries, specifically China and India. Some of these countries lack the knowledge and infrastructure to develop clean energy solutions for their growing population and wealth. This in turn leads to resorting to traditional biomass fuels (charcoal, fuel wood, dung, etc.) which leads to pollution and even harmful effects on human health (Kaygusuz, 2012). Furthermore, if much is not done to meet the goals from governmental policies, energy related CO2 emissions will rise above half of what is currently emitted by 2030 (IEA, 2010). It is important for these countries to push for cleaner energy to satisfy the population’s needs.

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Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

With an exponential growth in wealth in many of these countries it has become difficult to focus the aim towards economic growth through sustainable methods, especially when these same developing countries begin consuming unsustainable foods and emitting greenhouse gases. Education needs to be emphasised in how bad the outcomes can result to be if these sustainable practices are not adopted. Especially since it has become evident that the countries that will suffer more from the consequences of climate change are those developing which currently lack the funding and infrastructure to survive natural catastrophes, hunger, infant mortality, diseases and many more. Current efforts by the UNESCO are being put through to conduct education on sustainable development with aims in global warming, sustainable consumption and poverty reduction (Unesco.org, 2016). One can be positive of the foreseeable and, hopefully, sustainable future for many developing countries.

Ahuja, D. and Tatsutani, M. (2009). Sustainable energy for developing countries. The Academy of Science for the developing World, 2(1).

International Energy Agency, (2010). World Energy Outlook 2010. [online] Paris: OECD/IEA. Available at: http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/media/weo2010.pdf [Accessed 19 Jan. 2016].

Kaygusuz, K. (2012). Energy for sustainable development: A case of developing countries.Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16(2), pp.1116-1126.

Pretty, J., Morison, J. and Hine, R. (2003). Reducing food poverty by increasing agricultural sustainability in developing countries. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 95(1), pp.217-234.

Unesco.org, (2016). Education for Sustainable Development | Education | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. [online] Available at: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-sustainable-development/ [Accessed 19 Jan. 2016].

Dragon’s Den Reflections

At last, we have faced our fears, swallowed our pride and we ran with the bulls. After months of work, planning and prototyping we pitched our product idea to a dragon’s den last Friday. Myself, Luke, Tanis and Ayman presented our beloved ‘Man Apron’, a male shaving aide that traps and prohibits facial hair trimmings from falling into your sink and thus creating a mess.

I sometimes wonder just how annoying it must seem for four men to pitch male grooming products.

It’s rare that I get to work with people I actually work well with, especially when our chemistry is so natural and our conversations flow seamlessly. The synergy in our team is what kept my head cool and made the dragons seem more like chickens, and I mean that not as an offensive remark but as a witty scientific joke.

We practiced for weeks before the den and we even filmed a commercial for the pitch. It’s been ages since I last practiced for a presentation that it would be unfair for me to say that I wasn’t nervous and felt unprepared. Luke did an amazing job of writing a script for us to say during our pitch. We practiced and memorised it almost word by word.

Tanis did a great job of always maintaining the stress levels at a low and kept the creative juices flowing. He would always come out with funny, innovative and somewhat complicated to develop ideas (Wingman App), which I hope he gets to develop seriously one day because they are unique in their own field.

Ayman was, in poetic words, our roots. He held us focused to the tasks at hand and never let our juvenile minds run astray. With a vast knowledge and a financial background, Ayman helped Luke with most of the forecasting and planning the costs of our ‘Man Apron’. He would also come up with witty and intelligent jokes that made our meetings all that much more interesting.

And now, there’s me. But I won’t talk about me, I’ve already filled my narcissistic quota in the morning by looking at myself in the mirror. Instead, I’ll talk about what I’ve learned from this experience. Firstly, the attained knowledge of how it might be to work for a startup made it that less appealing to apply to work for one. Secondly, having difficulty working in teams throughout my whole life proved this to be a daunting task from the very beginning. I learned that there needs to be a willingness to compromise your ideas in order to achieve a truly exceptional goal. It’s like being in a relationship, both parties need to be willing to work together in unison to achieve a common goal, even if that goal deters from gaining some personal stimuli.

I know this journey is far from over and it’ll likely pick up the pace after Christmas break, but to be honest, I can’t wait to have a drink and finally relax. Cheers!

Sustainability, are we even capable of achieving it?

Sustainability is something that has been making the rounds in the past two decades or so in the corporate environment. You have thousands of companies, organizations and nations parading the fact they practice a model that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. They’ve been using this as a marketing tool to attract customers, brand advocates and supporters who fall for these tricks of a company trying to “green up” their image.

Sustainability, or sustainable development, in simpler terms according to the UN Brundtland commission is the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987) In other words, sustainability means the use of natural resources in a responsible manner so as we can leave the same or a better world for future generations.

But, I am a bit of a cynic. And, I am not saying being a cynic is something necessarily good, but there are attributes to being one that I can appreciate. I am very dubious with a lot of matters pertaining to sustainability.

I read a very interesting article on BBC Earth’s website that talks about the recent studies made with chimpanzees and how they are innately violent towards each other in order to survive. Chimpanzees are known to attack rival tribes of other chimpanzees whenever they need food, mates or land to gain.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

I bring this topic because I fail to completely understand the idea of sustainability since most humans are innately violent. We are just trying to survive. It is theorised that violence is a part of our nature and we will always resort to it whenever our livelihood is endangered.

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Pim, an alpha male, under attack from his former allies (Credit: Konrad Wothe/NPL)

Jane Goodall, a primatologist who set out to study tribes of chimpanzees in Tanzania back in the 1960s, was one of the first researchers to run across such destructive behaviour. She was amazed when she saw how a group of chimps attacked and even tortured to death a lone chimp from another tribe using sticks and other tools. She saw how the aggressors had been systematically invading the other group’s territory. The purpose behind the invasion was the need to gain territory, mates and food.

There are also skeptics to the belief that chimps developed coalitionary killing all by their own. Robert Sussman and Joshua Marshack, two of the leading researchers who counter argue Richard Wrangham’s idea that we developed violent behaviour towards one another from chimps, say that the circumstances in which this aggressive behaviour is created are not the primates’ fault. We human beings, as perfect interventionists that we are, are responsible for these behaviours in chimps. Sussman and Marshack argue that some of the attacks occurred because of deforestation of the chimps’ habitat which led them to migrate and scrounge for food, thus sparking conflict with other groups.

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Chimpanzees are social creatures and often groom each other (Credit: Anup Shah/NPL)

So, what does this mean? We’ll we be able to work together as a species and protect the future and wellbeing of our own and future selves? Are we better than our primate cousins at handling conflict? Will we betray our own when it involves our survival?

If sustainability is not reached, we might see catastrophic consequences. Currently, the UN alongside world leaders and NGOs are holding the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties in Paris to discuss the problems surfacing due to climate change. They are supposed to reach a worldwide deal that would limit and set global warming to cap at 2C. The world is currently 1.6C hotter than pre industrial times.

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Lead on. U.S. President Barack Obama looks on as French host Francois Hollande leads Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi off the stage at a clean energy symposium during the COP21 Paris talks. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

As previously seen, rich nations such as the US, UK and other European countries have seen constant growth in different sectors of their economies but have maintained emissions steady, meaning that the growth has not increased greenhouse gases. But, the problem with these talks in Paris is that the nations that are being affected by the lack of sustainability from our linear economy in the last half century or so are smaller island nations such as Tuvalu who is already seeing displacement of its population due to climate change.

I take the view of a pessimist because one of the things I absolutely enjoy is to be proven wrong. There is an oddly calming feeling when my pessimistic views turn out to be disproven and, surprisingly enough, this happens often. I may be giving humans too much of a hard time. We’ll see in due time if we are capable of complete sustainability.

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World Commission on Environment and Development, (1987). Our Common Future. [online] Oxford University Press, p.41. Available at: http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf [Accessed 28 Nov. 2015].
Tzabar, R. (2015). Do chimpanzee wars prove that violence is innate?. [online] Bbc.co.uk. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20150811-do-animals-fight-wars [Accessed 30 Nov. 2015].
BBC News, (2015). COP21: Paris conference could be climate turning point, says Obama – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34960051 [Accessed 2 Dec. 2015].

Creative Confidence, a review by Fernando G Trueba

Review I wrote about the book Creative Confidence from IDEO for my MA in Creative Economy’s blog. Check it out!

MA Managing in the Creative Economy - MACE

Nothing short of an eye opening, mind expanding and self reflective experience is how I would describe the Kelley brothers’ book Creative Confidence. Having just recently begun studying my postgraduate after a couple of years away from academia labouring in a very technical position where two plus two equals four and creative problem solving wasn’t always something that we practised with consistency, my introduction to design thinking by our course leaders and lecturers was a refreshing experience to my brain. During our induction week, we were given the Creative Confidence book to read by Janja, our lecturer, and after an engaging week I was very keen on reading it.

The Kelley brothers both own a design company revolving around design thinking, empathy and human centered solutions named IDEO and also run the d.school inside Stanford University. Their design company has been highly regarded for their unique approach to…

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