Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Final Learnings

When I sat in class on the first day, I must admit I was unsure how an insight was different from an experience. I was unsure how the class would be different from the other marketing courses I have taken, and I was even more uncertain how I would learn to discover a person’s insights for a particular product or service. The structure of the course and the group project was set up so that we could learn each stage of the process and combine them all in the end. The pace of the course and project was also set up so that it gave us enough time to discuss our findings with our group members and learn from each other. For example, gaining insights sounded so broad to me when it was introduced in class. Working with my group and talking with people in our potential target market allowed me to find and understand people’s emotions and needs towards certain tasks and activities. Being able to perform research and come back to discuss it with the group was beneficial for my learning, and I believe I gained more by working in my group than if I had worked on it alone.

Prototyping was another subject I had no experience with. I also thought that the main idea behind introducing a prototype to an audience was to get an “ooo” and “ahhh” when we showed our example of our padded playpen. On the contrary, I have learned through the course and the project that prototyping is not about looks of amazement in the audience. Instead, prototyping is about understanding and supporting our findings. Similar to any other visual aid, it should support the message we are delivering and not necessarily take attention away from the presentation. Describing the features, from colors to noises, allows the audience to understand the reasoning behind our prototype and how it meets the needs of our target market. We talked about how large we should make the prototype, whether we should include the music the baby might listen to, and the possibility of placing a baby doll in the playpen prototype to make it more life like. In the end, we decided that we needed to show the basic features and thoroughly describe the benefits of Babytopia rather than take away from its main purpose by adding in distracting noise or a doll.

It was a pleasure working with my teammates this semester for this project. I have had my fair share of unproductive groups, but this group was productive. Scheduling was a challenge since we were all seniors and had other ongoing group projects and meetings throughout the semester. There were a couple of meetings that were more difficult than others because the three girls, including myself, would meet when the guys were unable to meet. Communication was also difficult at this point because progress at the meetings was at a standstill without the entire group’s input. This was also the point in the project when we were analyzing our findings and coming up with product development ideas so it was a crucial time to have the entire group meet together. Our group did not have any conflicts throughout the project; however, we did have some disagreements when discussing the final product. This is when it became very beneficial to meet with Professor Walls to discuss our findings and product ideas. By meeting twice with Professor Walls, we were able to decide on our product of a padded playpen. Professor Walls has been a very supportive professor and has continued to be there for all of his students. I regret not being able to attend the meetings with Professor Walls when my group met to discuss our product ideas, but I am grateful to have had a professor that is willing to take the time to meet outside office hours and discuss concerns and ideas. Throughout the project, I was able to learn the significance of insights and the process of product development. Working alone on a project like this one would have been an even greater challenge. The benefits of working on this project in a group were that we were able to learn from one another and bounce ideas off each other. We were also able to discuss our perspectives for the different stages along the way. Listening to my group members allowed me to gain more from this project than I would have if I had done it individually.

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