Before the logo, advertisements or any visual IDENTITY we had to define who we are and what we want to achieve. To understand our purpose I looked carefully over the mission statement.
As the MARKETING TEAM our goal, this week, has been to CREATE the IDENTITY of BLENDZ. From the name all the way to the cup design. It has been extremely hard to brand our startup in such a short time; the IDENTITY is such a crucial component to success. By branding BLENDZ we are building the face of the company that costumers will see; therefore, it has to be P E R F E C T. Branding can't be done all at once, it's about putting together the different building blocks.
Before the logo, advertisements or any visual IDENTITY we had to define who we are and what we want to achieve. To understand our purpose I looked carefully over the mission statement.
To BLEND student entrepreneurs who INSPIRE our community to lead PLAYFULLY healthy lives!
From the mission statement we realized that through BLENDZ we want to encourage the FDR community to live PLAYFULLY HEALTHY by providing them with healthy and delicious options. Additionally we also want to BLEND people, in our business we want to create a comfortable environment were students, teachers and faculty can seat down and enjoy their smoothie.In this place they will be able to share and relax. Now that it was clear WHO we are and WHAT we want to ACHIEVE, we begun creating the IDENTITY of BLENDZ.
The process begun when we started to BRAINSTORM names for the startup. The name had to be, short, quick and catchy, but at the same time it had to tell something about WHO we are.
We had no problem generating ideas, our brains were machines. However, the challenge was choosing the BEST FIT. Some names were too long, too forced and others simply didn't connect to our WHY. Furthermore, we continued shouting out ideas and I came up with BLENDZ with a "Z". I believed that BLENDZ exemplifies in short what we are, a startup who wants to offers fresh and yummy BLENDS (smoothies) and at the same time wants to BLEND people. BLENDZ was the PERFECT FIT, short and meaningful.
After generating the name we pitched it to the class who loved it and APPROVED it. It was a huge relief, we were finally on track and with the VISON in mind. Then we moved over to the slogan. Believe it or not creating the name wasn't an easy task, this would be the PERMANENT tag of our product, the way people will call it forever. The pressure was ENTIRELY on us. It took four people to come up with a name, one word, now imagine comping up with the slogan. Even harder. The slogan has to be a short tagline that is catchy and briefly explains what the start up is. The BRAINSTORMING process for the slogan was head aching because we were taking it as a joke and we came up with very cliché or cheesy lines. During the process we realized that we weren't been as productive as we could, so to MAXIMIZE our time and talents we divided roles. Stefan begun to work in the logo, Dome in the market research and Babi and I in the slogan. After hard work and pitching we came up with
Now that we have created the name and the slogan I feel that we have a BIG rock off our backs. Every time we are closer to accomplishing our goal. Both of these steps were the most important blocks in order to continue the branding of the company. With these components ready we will be able to do the marketing campaign and the final advertisement components we need to complete for THURSDAY, prototyping day. When I first begun working on these tasks I though they were going to be very fast. However, today I have realized how long they are, this is because they are so important that they need to be completed carefully and with tons of thought behind. They are very meticulous and are all about detail. As employees we create the culture and give the company its values, vision and mission, but the IDENTITY will give the company a PERSONALITY and APPEARANCE.
The Founder of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher, once said:
"CULTURE is one of the most precious things a company has"
He is right. A CULTURE builds a company, it reflects who they are, what they believe in and how successful they will be. This is why for the past year, in the IA, we've been building a culture of excellence; we have created a CULTURE that we are proud of and that shows off who we are and what we believe in.
Today, in the IA, we find ourselves creating a buisness, a startup. We've begun creating an ENTREPRENEURIAL CULTURE within the class; this culture is EXTREMELY important because as a company it will define who we are and our VISION. As a startup our culture will exemplify our VALUES as well; thus, it is important to define them since day one.
The main lesson that we've learned so far is to be ADAPTABLE. Startups develop and grow in an environment of extreme uncertainty; therefore, they can't have one plan set, they need to learn how to steer around. This is something we want to integrate as part of our culture. We want open-minded entrepreneurs who are comfortable with change. Additionally, most starups build an MVP (minimum viable product) and then test it in the market. They need to wait for the reaction of the costumers to make the improvements and launch the product again. The feedback from the costumers might radically change the plans and vision the company had for the product; this is why companies need to be ADAPTABLE with change and be able to move into another direction. Furthermore, ADAPTABILITY is what triggers I N N O V A T I O N because companies that are adaptable aren't afraid of taking risks, and taking risks can either lead to success or failure. If they fail, an adaptable startup would embrace those mistakes to improve their product instead of beign held down by setbacks and getting frustrated. An entrepreneurial culture is all about adaptability, adapt for improvements, new innovations and changes.
CULTURE is essential component of a startup because it's what will guide us to SUCCESS and also what defines the BRAND. Building a STRONG culture makes the employees performance better, not only because it make all the team work together and believe in the same vision, but it unites the company. The beauty of CULTURE is that it joins all the values and goals of the employees to create something bigger and more powerful. For example, in the IA we all believe that exemplifying a culture of excellence, creating a passion for learning, and adapting the way we learn to improve the way we live is important because it's what we believe in, our WHY. We've all worked together to create this CULTURE and exemplify it within the IA family. Currently, I believe that as a class we have such a strong culture that we will take on our values to build another strong culture within our smoothies startup. In the past year we have learned skills (adaptability, risk taking, creativity, work ethic, organization and more) that no class can teach you. I want to implement all of these skills we've gained as part of the CULTURE, but as a startup I believe that the most important one we need to embrace in the company is ADAPTABILITY.
TODAY is our chance to test the skills we've learned in IA in the real world. In these two weeks that we've been working on the business I've learned how VALUABLE the skills and everything we've done in the IA is. TODAY I can say how much the IA has prepared us for the real world. A book and lesson can teach you about business models and innovation, but only EXPERIENCE will teach you how to build a culture, maintain it and how important it really is to accomplish your goals. It will be the only THING that set us apart from other companies who provide the same product as us.
Within the second week of school we were already working on our second project; we were switched on and ready to produce beautiful work. The energy, as I walked in the IA doors, was so strong that it pushed everyone to work harder. Today I didn't attend school, I attended a B U S I N E S S.
Our new unit is about creating a B U S I N E S S. For this everyone had to think about an IDEA (product or service) for a business and pitch it to the class. My idea was about a SALAD BAR. The other day in lunch when I was eating with my friends we were taking about how frustrating it is that there aren't enough tables for students. From that topic we transitioned into the food in school. We realized how inefficient the system is. Ever since the school has changed to Charlotte the food has improved, however, we can still work on details to make it spectacular. About one year ago I started to bring my own food because the best option in the menu, the salad, finished very fast. Not only that but you spend half of your lunch time doing the line for them not to have what you wanted. So you lost time and you stayed hungry.
This is why it occurred to me that the best niche to open a food business was here is school. I came up with FRESH GREENS, a healthy but delicious salad bar. Everyone is craving this. I got my inspiration from SWEET GREEN, a time efficient and yummy salad bar in Washington DC. The first time I went there I fell in love with the place, so I though to myself why can't we have this at our school. It is healthy, profitable, and eco-friendly.
With my IDEA ready to be pitch I volunteered to be the first presenter. I was in LOVE with my idea and I really wanted everyone to believe in it as much as I did. Like I mentioned, today I was at work, not in school. I was nervous to present, but I managed to get my idea out. After we all presented the IDEAS and ENERGY were bouncing in the room. It felt like we were REAL entrepreneurs ready to grab the best idea and make it happen. After each presentation we gave feedback to each other. First we looked at the product and analyzed feasibility, viability, and desirability. Then we gave praise and criticism to everyones presentation. The feedback allows us to grow within our weaknesses and realize our strengths in order to embrace them. By the way, all the PRESENTATIONS were outstanding. Like Gisella mentioned to me in class, we've all grown so much in english, media and so many other things. It's INSPIRING and MOTIVATING.
I never though that you could FALL IN L O V E with so many ideas as I did today. Every IDEA was convincing, it was so hard for me to think that we would only launch one or two. I wanted to do all of them. The room was full of CREATIVITY, I could feel it. Not only with the OUTSTANDING IDEAS everyone presented but within the ideas coming off my head. As I was inspired by all the ideas my head GENERATED even more ideas to add on to the different products. I was so excited.
Once we were done with the pitched we wrote all the IDEAS down. On Monday we will vote and we will chose the one most people believe in. The cool thing is that no matter what IDEA gets elected I will be excited to work on it and make the best of it.
We were now part of the business world as entrepreneurs. On Monday we are no longer going to be student in a class, we are going to be partners in our business. What a better way to learn how to think and act like an entrepreneur than beign ONE.
FIXED MINDSET people are those who think that talents are fixed, they are scared to take risks and challenges because they are afraid to FAIL. I've always been a FIXED MINDSET when it comes to speaking up and presenting. I've always labeled myself as quiet and shy person. Ever since I was little, during parent teacher conferences, my teachers would say that I have to participate more and speak up. I've recognized this weakness, I've tried to work on it, but I have never completely been successful. Since then I've given up. However, when I joined the IA and begun to gain confidence within my peers I started to speak up more and more. I feel comfortable with them and in some of my other classes, nonetheless, I still struggle with this problem outside of the IA. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, at first when I went to the different colleges it was hard for me to open up and have an ongoing conversation. I'm introverted, that's for sure, and in my mindset I've always let pass my weakness excusing it as a characteristic of INTROVERTS.
As I arrived to school for my last first day I was EXCITED to start with IA. I wanted to meet the new innovators, work with them, and continue building wonderful memories in the IA like last semester. We had a quick introduction and then started to brainstorm in groups. While brainstorming at first about the problems I held myself back. Just like the new innovators I sat down in a chair as Daniela wrote down ideas in the board. The environment was D E A D. No motivation, energy and nearly anyone speaking up. As I watched this happen something hit me, I can't explain what it exactly was, but I felt that I needed to speak up, I had great ideas and I wasn't sharing them. I had to keep the energy I felt in the beginning ongoing. So I stood up and begun to share ideas. I stood in front of the class next to Giss and DD, I encouraged the new people to give ideas and I also wrote them in the glass. I have to admit, at the beginning it felt weird, this was something new for me, nothing the traditional Drew would really do. Probably it was the fact that they were younger that gave me the guts to do this, anyway it helped me come out of my shell and prove to myself that I can do it and it's very cool. I was growing my MINDSET.
I've always been a silent leader, when in small groups I love to lead and share my thoughts. However, I've never thought on expanding this in larger groups. Once I got comfortable I was doing it very well. I realized that a leader doesn't only guide by talking and sharing thoughts with others (loud way), but at times they also setback and listen. I'm a very good listener, in class I might no participate as much, but I am always listening and processing this information. I had the listening skill I just have to work on the speaking up skill. I felt tremendously proud of myself for taking on this challenge the first day of school.
Everything was going well after brainstorming the first PROBLEMS. We had a better direction and everyone had a role. However, while researching DD, Gis and I felt that we weren't beign as PRODUCTIVE as we could. So we had A TALK with the group. I felt dragged, the motivation was still not at its HIGHEST. We got everyone together and told them that IA is not the same as any of their previous school years. We understood that it was their first day in the IA, but they had to know that no one is ever gonna tell you to do something or to work. You have to find work to do, you have to participate, you have to speak up if you don't like something, and you have to take INITIATIVE. It was hard, for me at least. It was my first time taking leadership and now I had was having a VERY important talk with the new members. I felt empowered, I loved the idea that I was inspiring them. Also, I felt that we needed to talk to them because they weren't getting an accurate taste of what the IA is like. The IA is motivation, is having fun, learning while doing and collaborating. I felt that after this TALK the environment totally fliped AROUND. The most quiet people in the class were taking initiative, they were participating and offering to take on rolls.
The end of the day was extremely productive, we fill any came up with three solid problems and solutions. Then on wednesday even though it was a short day we advanced even more. People were very into their roles and everyone was collaborating, not a single person felt unmotivated or left out. I was so excited I got to meet with people in different grades, get to know their talents and even become friends. I spend the entire day working on the presentation with Valentina, at first she was shy, but when she sat with me and I listen to her ideas I got inspired. She had amazing input and had great problem solving skills. I encouraged her to present and share all those ideas she mentioned to me with everyone.
It has been an amazing first week. I learned a lot about myself and I begun on growing my MINDSET as I took on new CHALLENGES. If you are the kind of person who has a fixed mindset I encourage you to take you weakness and challenge yourself, I promise that it will make a difference once you work on it and you realize it that you can DO BETTER.
Are you scared of FAILURE? Do you always stay on your COMFORT ZONE to be safe? Do you believe that without the TALENT you can't succeed at something? Then MINDSET is the right book for you. It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 50 it will show you that if you put your mind into it, change some habits and start growing your mindset you can achieve anything you want. No matter if you suck at it at first or if you think that is very challenging you will do it.
Carol Dweck, a R E A L genius, has conducted years of research and has concluded that a humans can have two ways of thinking, growth and fixed mindsets. MINDSET teaches you that even if you don't have an innate skill with some training, dedication and effort you can develop it and succeed. For those of you who thought that you are born with certain talents and that's all you have, it will give your IDEAS a 360 degree turn.
I recommend this book to E V E R Y O N E, girls, boys, old, young, professors, students, etc. It will not only explain Dr. Dwecks findings, but it will also teach you about yourself. One of the main reasons I loved the book was because it taught me more about myself. I've identified my areas where I have a fixed mindset and throughout the book I've been annotating and writing down ways to change and grow my mindset in those sections. I've also found the areas where I am a growth mindset and I've annotated strategies and concepts that Carol talks about to maintain them, and keep my mindset growing. Through the book I've realized how the IA, in a year, has helped me GROW my mindset. I've learned how to cope with failure. I remember how hard it was for me to accept feedback in the beginning. When I received feedback from my peers or Mr. Topf I would try to fix the mistakes. It would be so hard to accept failure and just start fresh. Today, after doing the documentary I've learned to accept my mistakes and start fresh. I don't get upset or attached to any of my first drafts because I know they can always get better. When I am not in the right track and my peers let me know I accept it and then start clean and I don't get angry or sad when I have to do redo something. I've also learned to challenge myself and see my weaknesses as a challenge and not as something negative. For example, this summer as I visited universities I've really tried to communicate more and speak up my mind. I am a little shy thus it takes me a while to feel comfortable and start talking to people I don't know. However, when I visited schools I pushed myself to ask questions and make conversations with the counselor, faculty and even the students working there. It was a HUGE challenge for me because I am not outgoing, but it was certainly a benefit since I learned a ton by communicating with them.
Carol Dweck explains every concept with REAL examples of people, famous and some random individuals. These examples make the book more REAL since it makes the audience realize that people with fixed mindsets exist and it shows them how they have begun to work their way to growth mindsets. Other examples talk about leaders in very important companies that have growth mindsets so we can take them as role models. Also these examples INSPIRED me and made me realize that it's possible to change if you really work hard and it taught me the different results of the two MINDSETS. I love how genuine are the anecdotes Carol shares in her book because they are not all about successful people, she also shows people who've had struggles and succeeded and others who have failed.
If you haven't yet read this book, you must add it to you to read list. It will change the way you think, act and influence others. It will inspire you to change and change others and it will give you hope because change will and can always happen if you put the effort.
"C H A N G E isn't like surgery. Even when you change, the old beliefs aren't just REMOVED like a worn-out hip or knee and REPLACED with better ones. Instead, the new beliefs take their place ALONGSIDE the old ones, and as they become stronger, they give you a different way to think, feel, and act"