Belonging from a humble family, I had my roots in India. Learnt tricks of business from my father, earnt values of life from my mother, I, Fazil Abbas had a dream to go abroad and pursue my postgraduation courses. Luck favoured me and I landed up in Kingston University of London. During this course of time, understanding the change, difference in habits and values, difference in the education system and living style, taught me something which solely books couldn’t have taught. I have started my journey in September to pursue MSc in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship. There was a massive change in the environment, mostly because of change in the learning process from India, but the help of lecturers, librarians, the staff members and some of my fellow colleagues had made me comfortable to a great extent. From sharing food to being there with each other in the learning process it has been an amazing journey till date.
The course I had been enrolled for had soke amazing faculty members. Namely, Dr. Eva Sakellariou, who used to take classes on Entrepreneurship and Growth of Innovative Businesses, Peter Martin Da Silva who takes classes on International Business and Janja Song who takes brainstorming and innovative modules on Design Thinking for Start-ups. The University has also actively helped its students to learn extra skills, English Language and a few other foreign languages. Adjusting with the harsh and cold climate was a way of learning at the University. The learning pattern is different here. Instead of semesters and exams, I have to appear for live projects and daily assignments. My brother’s friend, Mr. Nabeel, who also happens to be a professor in the University gave me tips and instructed me with few guidelines and enlightened me on how to learn actively in the university. Library is a very favourite place of mine. Not only does it help me in my courses but also in a wide array of things and its because of my active participation in library, I have learnt a lot of things. I made quite good friends who go by the name of Rahath, Bettina, Shivani and Hamza. They have helped me and supported me a lot during every phase. During this time, I also had the opportunity to stand as a campus representative but I could not get through because I lacked support of 45 votes. Overall, I actually had gained a lot of popularity by including myself in various excursions, group projects, my relations with the Union Presidents and the members. I had taken an active interest in The Yanya which has had helped me to understand the values and responsibilities which one needs to understand when working in a team work.
I often blogged down about different experiences I had come across. Be it the first day of mine in the college or be it the first visit to a fair or museum. The first project I had in my hand was that of Wheelit where me along with a small group was given the responsibility to design a product so that transporting things which were heavy like wardrobes and refrigerators were easy to move when there an individual was alone of people were shifting their residence from one place to another. Designing the prototype with the help of the lecturer, Miss Janja, it was one of a rollercoaster ride. Getting success in the first project gave not only me but also the other fellow members a lot of confidence and enthusiasm.
Although I happened to join a bit late for my courses, I still had the opportunity to participate in Hackathon Competition and hence had an opportunity to visit the design and science museum in London. I came across guest lecturers who very briefly yet very nicely discussed about intellectual property rights and also gave a brief outline about their country in Ireland. I still have a good recollection when I think of the first teamwork project I had to do. Those were one of the lecture classes of Miss Janja who started discussions about Nike Air Max 97. It was one of the unique shoe stories I had come across! The task assigned to us was even more challenging. We had to go through the university and search for the perfect pair of shoes which has the best characteristic. We happened to have stumbled across a person having worn a boot which had unique characteristic of being a leather boot yet being waterproof and fireproof. When the class commenced, there was a thorough explanation which the team members had to give after which we were suppose to build a model of the shoe and present it in front of the whole class and Miss Janja. Then there was an amazing experience I had to witness range of stuffs and products on a visit to the Science museum. There was a special exhibition going on featuring the Artificial Intelligence. We were assigned in different teams and were made to create small presentations on what caught our attention and on the relevancy we found. It was one of the overwhelming experiences I had. Coming across the theme as well the reason and purpose they serve I wondered how great has science helped people to flourish. Also, being a motor enthusiast since childhood days, I came across a section which focussed on the motor vehicles and their innovation. I was so happy to see them and I also ended up taking a couple of pictures with it.
In the course of time, I learned about lean canvas template and I had taken a great deal of knowledge from my lecturers since it highlighted on how design-based start-ups can get momentum in the current market. Learning about the various channels of this model, helped me to clear my concept more on different sections which needs focus during the start-ups. A brief tour of the design museum which was also organized by Miss Janja helped us learn about how to develop and design simple products. Over there we were asked to handpick some of the various innovative products displayed. Me and my other friends after having a thorough analysis on why we chose the product. Learning from the simplicity, the innovativeness which people had which is helping people on a different level was very exciting to see. It gave a different motivation to me and I always will be indebted to Miss Janja for guiding us so well. Not only we learnt but at the same time it generated a lot of interest in us.
In course of time, I had to do the first business pitch and so I came up with the idea of Funfit. This aimed at not only keeping people together, like in a workplace but also recuing laziness and becoming active. It was board game I designed with different cards which had interactive tasks written on them. The players had to roll their dice and do what was instructed and those who were successful in doing the tasks, were held winners. Having a brief study on how the population is sitting at a single place and working which is lowering their activity quotient and increasing obesity and other health problems, this was, I though a good way to engage the mindfulness spirit of the players. It for sure had an amazing positive impact since it not only promoted well being of people by engaging them I physical activity but also let the other people know about the different traits and characteristics of the players. Engaging a forum for marketing the product on social media handles, keeping a track of leads, keeping a track of events and popularity and traffic was indeed a hectic task and I learnt a lot in this while. Be it collective responsibility taking or managing the different sectors. From manufacturing, marketing, having an analysis and reaching out to the target customers was a challenge but I was successful in making the idea stand out among others and emerge successful. Handling finance of the idea and allocating the profits in its promotion, its customization, its marketing is a tough job. Slowly and steadily as I got acquainted with the process, I gained confidence and I set up goals to achieve over a brief period of time. A team was set up with the motive of promotion of well being of people in a joyful and interactive manner. As a part of FunFit, I wanted that this brand grows even more and provides more services and goods in this sector. A small group of people including me took up the responsibility to widen the horizon of this project. Finding target audience was one of them. Financing was another. We learnt a lot about fundraising and actively included it in our work. Overall, it was a brilliant experience to work in the team where sharing as well as management of all the work with proper discussion was important for the growth of the company
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