A very helpful tool when starting a business is being able to identify problems that people experience. If you can provide a solution for problems people face regularly, then there’s a good chance that you have a strong business idea as a market exists for this potential product or service. The Hackathon we were involved with at the start of our course gave us the basic tools for identifying problems empathetically and trying to find suitable yet considerate solutions.
Janja gave us another fun and practical assignment for this class. Individually we had to find problems that we observed people encountering on a daily basis. We were encouraged to talk to people about these problems to gain a better understanding of why these problems caused issues in their lives and how these issues could be easier for them. Once we had each identified different problems we were to meet with our start up teams to agree on one problem and to create a product or service to solve the problem.
Erkal, Sujin, Gabriel and myself met on the South Bank to work on the assignment. After we had each described the problem we had observed, we then decided the inconvenience of commuting around London with luggage or equipment was one we would like to try and solve. Every day you see people with big suitcases or carrying sports or music equipment on public transport, causing inconvenience to themselves as well as fellow commuters. We were aware of storage facilities either at airports and train stations. But this doesn’t help to get your inconvenient load to your destination. Quite often you have to take your heavy load with you to more than one place with you on your way to your destination where the luggage or equipment is needed.
Our team thought of a service, similar to a cab service but only for luggage and equipment. The business would have storage facilities or could deliver the inconvenient load to the address where it is needed. For example, if you have to go to work before flying to a holiday destination, your luggage can be collected from your house and then delivered to the airport in time for your flight. You then wouldn’t need to take all your luggage with you to work and save yourself a lot of hassle. In the case of airports, you could have a pooling system as it is highly likely that more than one person would be going to the airport on the same day. This could help to get prices down.
The presentation was different from other presenting we’ve had to do. For this presentation we were not allowed any slides or pictures to explain our business idea. We had to perform the problem encountered by people and it’s solution through roleplay. This made me anxious as I am not fond of performing. We came up with a good idea for pour roleplay and it went well. Our idea did receive criticism for a few reasons. The most important reason being security. Janja pointed out that terrorist activities could be easy through our service which made sense. A few weeks after the class I was speaking to a friend who was travelling for Christmas holidays with his family. When I told him about our idea he referred me to a service he was using which was very similar to our idea, by the name of Airportr. The service is directed more at long distance travellers. The service has partnerships with various airlines and through this I believe they are able to avoid the security risks pointed out to our team.
Although we had fun coming up with the idea we needed to get back to the drawing board. This class was excellent for trying an idea and then getting feedback about it immediately. Within one week of creating the idea we had insightful feedback from Janja and the class about what could work with our idea and what definitely wouldn’t work.