Entrepreneurship for Design and Creative Business

Course Outline

Module 1: The Current Landscape in HK Creative Industries

Opportunities and challenges faced by Hong Kong designers and creative professionals Amid changes in the global social, economic, technological, and ecological landscape, threats and opportunities prevail for existing and budding entrepreneurs. In this module, a framework for opportunity recognition and guest presentation on what possibilities are there for HK designers to seize will be discussed

Module 2: Creating and selling a hot design approach

Communicate your design philosophy and process to the customers through consistent selling and customer services. Every customer engagement involves identifying and solving a problem that the customer is willing to pay for and the designer is capable of delivering. In this process, the designer should demonstrate one’s unique approach in meeting the requirement and at the same time differentiate one’s offering from that of others. The unique approach becomes the “signature” of the designer. How well this impression is being communicated and remembered (using the design firm IDEO as an example) will be addressed in this module.

Module 3: Trust is the Name in the Marketing Game (Customer Relationship Management)

Attract and retain the RIGHT customers for your business. The best that can happen to a customer relationship is “win-win”. Obviously, the opposite to that – “loose-loose” is the worst. Besides the best and the worst, the possibilities of “winloose” and “loose-win” in the relationship prevail too. In this module, the characteristics of engagement leading to the various outcomes in the relationship and ways to improve the odds of favorable conditions (using the “stakeholder relationship matrix”) will be discussed.

Module 4: Business Model Design

Design a business to captivate your customers. Serving the customers is like putting on a stage performance. What the customers care most is the show on stage (“the customer experience”), not the preparation and production works the designer do at the backstage. They want results. The “behind the scene” process is the designer’s business. In this module, the basic components that make up a business model and how they can be used to develop the venture to serve the “customer experience” will be discussed.

Module 5: Right-sizing and Right-structuring

Build your multidisciplinary project team with core staff and partners and grow it organically. It is true that many designers have found themselves in more and more situations that demand them to be knowledgeable in areas outside their expertise. Knowing what new expertise to develop and leverage and knowing where to find the people who possess them is becoming a significant part of one’s job. However, the key question of what should be kept in-house as core competence and what should be outsourced as supporting services remains unclear. In this module, the focus is on how to manage the supplier relationship with clear division of labor and “win-win” in mind.

Module 6: Looking Behind the Numbers

Use financial statements, ratios and budgets to manage the health and growth of the company. Managing by the numbers versus managing by guts is the main topic in this module. Without previous training in accounting and finance, many designers find it difficult to manage the business with financial techniques. And this is where the danger lies. In balancing creative expression with market demand, cost measures and time management procedures are important indicators. Budgets, financial statements, and ratios are important tools to use to ensure the balancing act is properly maintained.

Module 7: Building a Robust Business Infrastructure

Build a smart project management system to boost team productivity and obtain useful data for business diagnostics. The best way to tell whether the business model works is through the numbers captured by business systems. In this module, the focus is on the construction of project management system, which allows the design team to plan and control the progress of various projects in the best interests of different stakeholders.

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