Based on the 2 meetings, the group created and framed a well-reasoned business idea for development of an application that would allow solving the problems which students face when forced to move during the summer time and have no opportunity to store their items and properties securely and for an affordable price that would not become a financial burden to them. Apart from that, the proposed Move On application could become a good approach to simultaneously address the issue of looking for short-term summer jobs for students. In the process of thinking over the idea, referring back to the course content along with open discussions among teammates was very useful.
The paper offers a brief reflection on the group-based collaboration process that was aimed at development of an entrepreneurial business idea that would be correspondent with the primary foundations of the field. To be more precise, the report depicts a set of ideas a group came up with during the negotiations and application of the effectual thinking in order to propose the most relevant value-adding opportunity of creating a new venture and market accordingly. Regardless of in-depth reading of the required resources and instant reference to the lecture notes, the venture appeared not as simple as expected. Nevertheless, a thoroughly collaborative experience, open exchange of ideas, positive feedback from teammates, and mutual willingness to dive deep into the essence of entrepreneurial world were extremely significant to reaching the mutually beneficial outcomes. In this respect, the paper provides a rationale for each introduced business concept through the lens of the entrepreneurial logic and selection of the most appropriate creative solution of the problem that was identified in transport and logistics sector for student demographics.
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The Thinking Process
Primarily, the team set the constraints for the development of the business ideas, such as reference to the Berkshire area as well as imitation of the sectors of potential operations to that of leisure and tourism or transport and logistics. This initial step in thinking process allowed a certain degree of framing for students suggestions on the topic. At the same time, the fact that all group members were students, a decision was made to seek for solutions to problems in the context of student life on the grounds of groupmates individual experiences and awareness of the issues pertaining to the sphere. Hence, the means were mostly available in the scope of student life in the region or the university in particular.
As for the leveraging contingencies, social networking, both online and face-to-face socialisation, opportunity framing, and openness to experiences were the most frequently used approaches. To illustrate, waiting queues near the university cafeteria enabled the group member (name) to think about an opportunity for solving the combined problem of long waiting time, non-affordability of food for some students and dissatisfaction of those left without meal due to the above reasons. In this way, the student proposed an idea of using several vending machines that would have provided food for students without queues and for reasonable prices. While leveraging contingencies through the social networking showed a positive feedback for the idea, an affordable cost principle prevented the group from its further advancement as the initial capital investment would have been too sufficient for a few students. Similarly, the group suggested that there hardly can be found partners for offering food vending machines and food for sale within the economically modest cost limits.
To be honest, the process of effectual reasoning appeared to be somehow challenging at first. The lectures on effectual logic and reasoning were insightful and even eye-opening, to a great extent. For this reason, the group was overwhelmed with optimism when the members organised the meetings to address the tasks set in the scope of this module. Therefore, in spite of the knowledge gained about effectuation and its key principles, the initial thinking seemed to be more causal than effectual. For instance, the first proposal was concerned with creation of a university-based application that would be a source for unity between the diverse university populations to inform the wide audiences about a variety of events taking place in the institution. With this scenario in mind, the group discussed an opportunity for increasing their visiting and expanding the scope of student leisure activities. Nonetheless, more in-depth insight into this suggestion revealed its deeply causal nature as the students caught themselves on a search and select process instead of transformation activities as relevant for effectuation.
In order to address this challenge, the students remembered Sarasvathys advices regarding the distinguishing characteristics of effectuation processes, such as their actor-dependent nature, opportunity of exploiting contingencies, along with usefulness in focus on the spheres of human action in light of uncertainties of problems of existence and future phenomena. The group utilised these several hints as filters for the ideas the teammates discussed and the process of identification of the most winning venture appeared easier and more productive.
With this approach, the main business idea was chosen that focused on offering a solution to such an acute student problem, especially for internationals, as safe and cost-effective storage of their property items during summer break period. Further, the lemonade principle allowed linking the idea to social networking and suggesting its relevance for design of an online application y that would connect people willing to have short-term earnings when offering their free space for temporary renting and students unwilling to be cheated by expensive storage providers. The affordable loss was minimised due to reference to the Internet with numerous free software available for this purpose called Moving On. In addition, engagement of the university online community into the collaboration process appeared another valuable incentive in the thinking process and application of the crazy guilt principle since the university should be the mostly concerned with students wellbeing. Thus, this idea was well refined and perfectly suited to the four principles of effectuation.
One more important challenge was on the verge of the ethicality of the proposed ventures. For example, one of the suggestions was to use recording the lectures as a business opportunity and selling the records to students for the prime price. Nevertheless, the further discussion with the group found the solution as unethical as it seemed unfair to obtain material gains when speculating on their nonattendance of the classes for some reason or the other issues why they could have missed the class.
What could be done differently
Reflecting on the teamwork and the reasoning over the assigned task, it is relevant to assert that development of the check list for effectual rationalisation of the ideas, such as based on the course content that was proposed earlier, would have made the process more time-efficient and productive. Undoubtedly, in this way, the process would be more focused and the elements or ventures of causal nature would have been filtered at hand.
Impact of the Idea
On a similar note, when the group referred to the idea at the final stage of thinking, a suggestion was made that the extent and degree of human interaction could be even more enhanced at the implementation stage. For instance, creation of a security deposit to guarantee the safety of the students belongings and having a job board where students can pay other students to help them pack their properties and moving could be useful additions in the application. The proposed venture is absolutely distinct from the exploitative nature of the current storage businesses which are too money-driven, thus allows solving an important problem in student life.
Summarising the reflection, it is notable to assert that the reasoning over the effectuation as a business framework and considering the relevant problems in student existence was a very useful critical thinking experience. Moreover, the exercise was of great practical value for training this useful business skill and developing a feasible entrepreneurial venture, such as Moving On application.
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