Some of our team members got to participate in the Intel Youth Enterprise Program (Nairobi) that took place on 25th and 26th June 2013. The program gives young people a chance to come up with ideas on solving a social challenge of their choice.
When we received an invite for the event, we saw it as a good opportunity to learn something new. After the event we were quite impressed with the amount of information and knowledge we received. It is like being awarded free minutes by your mobile phone network operator, it happens when you rarely expect it. At the ideation camp, we learned to identify, analyze and materialize our game ideas (which are quite a number).
At the end of the first day, as Brian Kinyua and myself (Joseph Kariuki) headed home, we both shared the feeling of having drained all our energy as though we had examinations all day. This is the kind of feeling you get after engaging your mind to the limit. Brains on nitrous oxide. The activities were quite engaging. This was mainly due to the facilitator of the camp.
Henrik is a Danish entrepreneur currently focused on reinventing entrepreneurship education. While still an engineering student, Henrik founded two companies in IT recycling and Design Thinking. He then worked with the Global Research team at Vestas Wind Systems and became a consultant specialized in strategy development and Innovation Management for several international corporations such as Siemens and Intel. In 2010 he moved to Silicon Valley where he founded Startup Experience, Inc. – an
interactive workshop framework that enables the solving of social problems through entrepreneurship.
Henrik now lives in San Francisco but spends most of his time traveling around the world to train entrepreneurs and educators, and inspire students to become more entrepreneurial. Through his company Startup Experience he has formed partnerships with governments, NGOs and corporate non-profits and is striving to transform entrepreneurship education in today’s school system.
I can share two things I learnt from the ideation camp.
Ideas are just ideas – You have come up with the next big thing and noted it down. You have seen severally a problem people face daily and you have the knowledge and tools to create a solution. So you add this to your ideas list. Just as any human being, you get the urge to share your idea with a friend or a coworker. But then you remember, it’s such a great idea, what if they steal the idea?
Well, what if they steal it? What will they do with it? Come up with something that’s almost going to be as good as yours? It’s like trying to compare a robot and a human being. No matter how much the robot mimics human movement and ability, it never comes close to the real thing.
So if you have an idea, before you decide to put effort into materializing it, research on it first. Talk to people and find out whether it makes sense. If it needs funding, call up a potential investor, tell them your idea and hear what they have to say. Go out in the street and talk to a potential user of your future invention. It’s better to risk it than to play safe. You do not want to work on a solution (app, game, website etc.) that nobody will ever want to use.
Understand your future user- Once you come up with your idea, get out of your room/office/workspace and go out and talk to people. Tell them your idea and note down what they tell you. This will give you a better picture as to whether your idea is viable. If you get negative feedback, try readjust the idea and get feedback again. If it is still negative, well you can either readjust it depending on the feedback or you can drop the idea completely and start a fresh.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to get attached to our ideas and believe that they indeed are the next big thing. Well, if most people think it’s not? Maybe it’s not.
Well, now that we have gained knowledge, it is our responsibility to apply it. We definitely will change some of our approaches to the game ideas we come up with and plan to materialize.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ― Thomas A. Edison