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Collaborating on Ideas for Maximum Impact at Edinburgh College

During November, SIE were invited by Design Lecturer, Helena Good to engage with students at Edinburgh College in an innovative, multi-agency project which set out to give students a real life taste of enterprise. Enterprise Assistant, Daniel Quinn, explains SIE’s involvement.

The project played host to 19 students and one external agency, Scottish Soapworks; an organisation who prides themselves on using the best organic and sustainable ingredients in their soaps, oils and other bath products. Through catchy branding and personalized packages, they have one of the most diverse selections of goods available in the market.

Edinburgh College and Soapworks designed the project to challenge students to develop and sell natural and sustainable bathroom products for an upcoming Christmas sale with the profits funding their final year degree show. The groups began by constructing a marketing campaign, highlighting how their product would look and outlining the customers which they hoped to attract. Various ideas were pitched to Soapworks, all of which showed great promise and creativity but eventually two were selected to take their campaigns forward. The additional teams were filtered into the two winners; ‘Team Dirty’ and ‘Team Pick N Mix’.

It was at this stage that SIE entered to help students identify the roles which they could play within these two new teams, stressing the importance of collaboration and playing to strengths when implementing an idea.

As the students began to map out their projects they were prompted to consider their targeted customers and routes to the market using the Business Model Canvas. What became evident almost immediately was the disparity in both business models, each targeting different customers with different values to their product. Team Dirty used a guerrilla advertising campaign, whimsical marketing material and a target audience of students. This differed vastly from the elegance of the Pick N Mix products, designed as a luxury Christmas or Birthday gift. Both teams represented different values and separate markets but both were able to articulate how they may be able to create and deliver that value to their customer.

As the session drew to a close both teams had managed to successfully utilise the skills their learned and existing information to action plan future steps. The success of this particular workshop can be largely accredited to the energy and involvement which the students of Edinburgh College brought to the delivery, creating a very valuable and dynamic platform where they were free to experiment and adapt their ideas.

Student Rachel Cameron, part of the Pick n Mix team later entered the product into SIEs ‘Fresh Ideas’ competition and saw herself and her team mates pick up a Highly Commended national prize in December;

It’s really nice to see the finished product come together from our designs and it was good to be involved in the whole development process from the start. Pitching the product was nerve wracking but it’s made us much more confident in presenting our work… With the help of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and their Business Model Canvas we also learned lots about product logistics like legal requirements, ingredients and pricing, which we didn’t have much of understanding of before. That’s really helped us think about the practical side when we’re designing, so we’re not just making products look nice.”

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