I already heard a lot of things about Creative founder before I decided to take this class. Everyone who had taken it before told me that this class was hard and intense. The comments from those alumni made me afraid but also curious about the class. Eventually, my curiosity ended up winning the battle.
Before starting this class, I thought the reason it was challenging was because its intense workload, such as having presentations every week. After taking this class, I realized that the challenging parts weren’t the workload, but needing to learn so many new things and adopt lots of working methods that we hadn’t had chance to be exposed to with my teammates together.
Create a simple product for concept validation
The first challenge was to keep the product simple to vadliate and iterate our concept. In other classes, we were trained to be interaction designers, who were focusing on how to push the work beyond its limit in a short amount of time. We went through a linear design process of research, wireframes, user testing, and mockups in a month. However, in this class, we had to get rid of all that mindset and reset. In other classes, we were trying to have as many special features as we can; in this class, we were forced to cut down all the features and kept it to one as our MVP.
At first, only using hand-drawn wireframes as our MVP and showed it to our participants made me feel insecure. However, after doing on-site recruitments and talking to our users/participants to test whether our product could solve the problem we identified, I realized only focusing on one thing at a time helped us to clearly deliver our message and iterate our product quickly.
Take business perspective in to consideration
The second challenge was to see everything in business perspectives. Business methods such as value propositions, market size, business model canvas, financial models were totally new to us. Not only researching the data took time, but also evaluating whether the numbers were plausible was hard. Many times, we were lost and struggling. But we eventually were able to admit what we didn’t know and prepare to be wrong. Admitting our knowledge and capabilities were limited wasn’t a easy thing to do, but I believe having this positive mindset actually stopped us from spiraling and leaded us to move forward.
Develop a good business culture
The third challenge was to build a good team and business culture. This was the first time I needed to stick with a randomly assigned team for a long time. Moreover, I needed to build a “company” with them. At first, it sounded risky to me. Communicating with each other required time, patience, and letting go of our assumption and ego. We spent some time trying to get familiar with each other, understand everyone’s strength and weakness, and help one another when others need it.
During team week, I learned to provide constructive feedback as well as digested the feedback I received. After team week, we became even more honest to each other and gradually developed some kind of team chemistry, which helped us going through more challenges together.
Also, finding the values we all believe in then turning them to our business values was a interesting process to me. It made me feel like we were not only just the creator of our product, but also we actually represented our company while the company also represented us.
Be resilient when challenged by others
The last challenge was to use our resilience when we were challenged by others. During the pitch, we got questions from our reviewers. At that moment, I really felt that my heartbeat stopped for seconds. However, that was also the time when I really felt the importance of being able to solve a problem quickly with good responses. Before this class, I hadn’t have chance to practice this ability. But I am glad this class give me a chance to do so and hope I can continue to learn the art and techniques of solving problems and delivering messages.
This class pushes me out of my design comfort zone and makes me view things in broader perspectives. Now, as I realize how hard it is to build a product, I won’t just complain when I encounter a product that is not that ideal to me. Instead, I will have more empathy, and try to think the systematic reasons behind it that creates the issues. Furthermore, this class helps me become a better collaborator. The collaborating process can be tricky since there is no right or wrong answers for how to be a good teammates. In a team setting, the working styles not only are very different from individual work, but I also need to modify my ways of working based on different teammates and situations.
Creative founder gives me a very special and memorable experience. I will never forget the pitch night, having a taste of being in a real world and start a company with a team. Without this class, I will never know how big the market is, and how big world is outside of design fields. Also, I may never know what’s like to co-create not only a design project but also a company with a team. Life is made by a series of opportunities, and I am glad that I catch this one. In this learning journey, we are all just beginners.