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The Importance of Reflective Writing

Discuss about the Design IT for Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

Reflective writing is the act of writing an article or blog with the purpose of expressing the experiences in which an individual has undergone. Reflective writing is very important in enabling an individual to review and reflect on the experiences in which they have undergone. It is also important because it helps the writer share their knowledge to other individuals who may use it as an information and learning platform in any future endeavors they might engage in (Ribson, 2002). Reflective writing is best done and shared through the use of a blog. A blog is an information or discussion website which consists of entries which have been made by the individual writing the blog also known as the blogger. A blog is the short form term for a web blog. This is because a blog contains content which is usually published on the internet and can be accessed by other individuals so that they can learn from the experiences of the blogger. Entrepreneurship is the act of starting and running a business based on the entrepreneur identifying a problem and coming up with an innovative solution to that problem (Ramoglou, Tsang et al., 2016). Design thinking is an innovative thinking approach in which individuals are able to come up with viable solutions to specific problems in which they have identified.

For a reflective report to be created there is a need for the writer to critically analyze themselves individually based on the emotions and experiences they have faced at a particular moment in time. The following reflective report is based on the experiences I have had while I was pursing this unit. Critical analysis is the act of evaluating a specific event or scenario to establish the facts that occurred, what was successful in the process and that which failed (Noel & Ita, 2016). During the semester I was able to pursue a unit where I was taught on entrepreneurship and the use of design thinking in any problem solving process. These concepts were very interesting, inspiring and enabled me to venture into a problem solving processes which begun my journey into entrepreneurship. Design thinking is a procedure used in problem solving whereby an individual can be able to use innovative ideas and thinking processes to come up with viable solutions to a problem. Design thinking is being used and adopted in various fields today as it is employed in problem solving. It is more effective than conventional ways of thinking because it takes an innovative approach to thinking by exploring various solutions to a problem before picking the most effective and viable option (Landstorm, 2007).

The Use of Blogs in Reflective Writing

During the unit the lecturer was able to explain in a very interesting way how design thinking works. He took the example of how students learn as the try and achieve their goals. He described that for many years students came to class acquired knowledge on various concepts and were able to utilize their education as they ventured out into the world to solve common problems which were being faced. He told us that however, most of the challenges which people faced a long time ago are not all the same as the ones in which individuals face currently. The set of problems we have today need new solutions to solve them effectively (Katila, Eric, Chen & Henning, 2012).  The process of identifying a problem and coming up with a solution can be very tedious, time consuming and can yield very little or unwanted results if it is done in a conventional way. The lecturer then introduced the aspect of design thinking. It takes the approach of critically analysis various issues in life to identify a problem and solve it. The difference comes in through the way a problem is solved. He showed us examples on how design thinking had led to the birth of various solutions such as electronic banking. It was very satisfying to indulge in the design thinking strategy because when you are able to understand and apply it you can have a chance to see all the stages and issues in which individuals have to face as they work hard to solve the problems we face every day. The lecturer was able to give us insight on how businesses are formed. Businesses are usually formed when a problem is identified and a solution to the problem is created. Entrepreneurship in some way is the act of continuously solving problems while making a profit (Hisrich, 2011). We learnt on what it entails to become an entrepreneur and the skills necessary to enable an individual to survive in entrepreneurship. I will go into more detail on how I was able to apply these skills and knowledge in a practical way.


Design thinking is the process utilized in problem solving by employing an innovative and solution based approach. Design thinking is a process in which an individual can harness and utilize innovation in finding a solution to a problem. When you set up design thinking in a business oriented manner it is simply the act of using innovative ideas and methods to achieve solutions to various problems (Dorst & Nigel, 2001). Businesses are born out of the need to solve problems. The individuals who come up to set a course in achieving their problem solving goal and create a solution can be referred to as entrepreneurs (Scott & Ven katraman, 2000). I embarked on my entrepreneurship journey as I used my design thinking knowledge to identify a problem and come up with a solution to it. The first step in my journey was to talk to the local community in my area to identify the key challenges they faced. After talking to a few people I realized that I was getting a lot of information from them. I was good at communication but I had a problem in organizing what I was doing. At times I did not record or write down the information I was given which I later on forgot. Other times I misplaced the pieces of paper I usually wrote on concerning the feedback I was getting from people. I had to take a step back and organize myself because I had started to realize I would fail in my endeavor even before it had begun. The next course of action was to come up with a questionnaire which would help me narrow down my options until I could identify a problem which then I would be able to solve (Dorst, 2012).

Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking

I came up with the questionnaire and handed it out to a few people in my neighborhood. The issue that I found was common between most people was that they were not able to keep up with their groceries. At times they would run out of groceries without prior knowledge which is very frustrating. I remember one of the people who took the questionnaire mentioned that her baby’s diapers had run out in the middle of the night. She had to make due until morning before she would be able to buy more. The matters became worse as the baby cried nearly all night and her in-laws were visiting.  I felt her pain as I put myself in her shoes wondering about the kind of stress and humiliation she had to endure all night. I had now defined my problem which was tracking of grocery levels in a house. I now had to embark on coming up with a solution to the problem. Design thinking has several steps which I used as I was coming up with a solution to the problem in which I had identified. The steps in design thinking are problem definition, research, ideation, prototyping, implementation and learning from the process (Cross, 2006). I was now at the second step which was researching on how the problem actually was a menace to people. I did my research by talking to people to find out the various ways in which they would keep track of their groceries. I observed that some people went to the store monthly and they were able to survive on what they had bought until the next month. There was a group of people who constantly went to the store to buy a specific item they had forgotten was a necessity. They all were of the opinion that if they were able to track the levels of their groceries they would be in a position to always be organized and never miss a necessity in their homes.

The next step was ideation. Ideation is the development of various ideas in trying to solve a problem. It forms its origins from divergent and convergent thinking (Visser, 2006). Divergent thinking is a method of thinking in which various concepts towards solving a problem are considered. Here the problem at hand is analyzed and all the otpions which can be considered to be a solution to the problem are brought up. Convergent thinking is the analysis of various solutions to a specific problem and choosing the most viable and practical solution that will best solve the problem. After all the solutions which have been brought up are ready they are analyzed and the most appropriate solution is what is chosen as the best and most effective solution to the problem. In the ideation stage of my problem solving process I was able to explore various solutions which would be applicable to the problem (Bryan, Tilcsik & Zhu, 2017). The solutions ranged from manually checking the groceries weekly and recording the levels in which they had reached and doing estimates on the level of groceries based on the amount which had been used in set intervals such as a day or a week. The solution which I found to be most effective was checking the levels of groceries on a weekly interval but recording the information on an application (Crainer & Des, 2000). The benefit of this was that as user interacted with the application for a while it would pick up on the habits of the user in terms of their grocery usage and then generate the levels automatically later on without a lot of data entry.

The Process of Critical Analysis


The prototype stage was whereby the actual application would be built. A prototype is a mockup or a basic representation of how they application would look like and work to solve the problem which these people had (Brown & Wyatt, 2010). With advancements in technology coming up with the application was not a very hard task. It was ready in a week and the early adopters had access to it so that they would give feedback on whether it was practical and if it solved their problem. After testing we implemented the solution so that people would have access to it and interact with it in improving their grocery level monitoring. After a few weeks of use we had gotten feedback on how effective the application was. Most users gave the application a thumbs up because it had saved them a return trip to the store in more than one occasion. There were individuals who said that the application worked well but sometimes lagged. This was expected since the application was new and it needed to be patched regularly (Brush et al, 2003).


The business itself in this problem solving venture came by charging the users on getting automated feedback from the application after it had learnt the users habits and routines. Users were able to input data to the application for free and check their grocery levels for if they manually input the information. However most use out of the application came about due to its ability to learn from its users. I charged a quarterly fee for all the people who wished to have this learning functionality in their application. I had a lot of users subscribed to the service with some giving reviews saying they do not know what they would have done in keeping track of their groceries if the application did not exist. The business was successful but as with every growing business it had its challenges. I had to hire outside help to help with managing the application and client relations because we had started to loss clients (Brown, 2008). Clients were complaining of poor customer service and it led me to hire help who would help me handle that side of the business. The whole venture was an interesting and inspiring venture. I learnt to ask a lot of questions and take feedback positively to aid in the growth of my business. I was always open to advice and mentorship from people who were willing to help me improve on the business. I realized that these are the traits of an entrepreneur as we had been taught in class. In the next few months I purpose to improve myself within the entrepreneurship scene. I believe there is a lot out in the world for me to learn and opportunities that are present to create more businesses through problem solving. I want to network with other professionals by attending workshops and seminars which will not only grow my skills but my business (Yetisen, Volpatti, Coskun, Cho, Kamrani et al., 2015). Exploring the different solutions that are present in the world might also lead me to find a niche in which I can be comfortably placed in to thrive and satisfy my clients. The unit I took on design thinking and entrepreneurship opened my eyes to the vast opportunities that exist for entrepreneurs to thrive in. Entrepreneurship might be a worthwhile venture but it requires a lot of discipline, passion and determination. It usually has high risks and difficult challenges all around but if you are able to keep learning and experimenting you will always thrive in business (Beinecke, 2009). Design thinking is a very effective and innovative methodology that should be used by people as the venture out to find solutions to various problems.

References

Beinecke R. (2009). Leadership for Wicked Problems. The Innovation Journal. pp. 1-7.

Brown T. (2008). Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review.

Brown T & Wyatt J. (2010). Design thinking for social innovation. Stanford social innovation review.

Brush C. et al (2003). Doctoral education in the field of entrepreneurship. Journal of Management. 29(3): 309-331.

Bryan K.A., Tilcsik A. & Zhu B. (2017). Which Entrepreneurs are Coachable and Why? American Economic Review. 107(5): 312-316.

Crainer S. & Des D. (2000). Generation Entrepreneur. FT Press. p.202.

Cross N. (2006). Designerly Ways of Knowing. Springer.

Dorst K. (2012). Frame Innovation. Create new thinking by design. MIT Press.

Dorst K. & Nigel C. (2001). Creativity in the design process: Co-evolution of problem-solution. Design Studies. 22(5): 425-437.

Hisrich R. D. (2011). Entrepreneurship. McGraw-Hill Education.

Katila R., Eric L., Chen & Henning P. (2012).  All the right moves: How entrepreneurial firms compete effectively. Strategic Entrepreneurship Jnl. 6(2): 116-132.

Landstorm H. (2007). Pioneers in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research. Springer.

Noel C. & Ita R. (2016). Aligning healthcare innovation and software requirements through design thinking. IEEE. pp. 1-7.

Ramoglou S.,Tsang E. W. K. et al. (2016). A realistic perspective of entrepreneurship: Opportunities as propensities. Academy of Management Review. 41(3): 409-434.

Ribson M. (2002). Brainstorming. Problem-solving in groups. Gower. p.41.

Scott S. & Ven katraman S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of Management Review. 25: 217-226.

Visser W. (2006). The cognitive artifacts of designing. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Yetisen A. K., Volpatti L. R., Coskun A. F., Cho S., Kamrani E. et al. (2015). Entrepreneurship. Lab Chip. 15(18): 3638-60.

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