Episode 2! This week we saw the first early morning wake up call of the series (4am!) and the teams compete to design an electric toothbrush for 6-8 year olds. They were also tasked with developing an educational tooth brushing app and pitching the product to two sets of potential customers.
Team leaders were agreed. Francesca’s CV includes development of an app and placement in a Future Leaders programme with one of the biggest consumer goods companies working in oral care. She was voted in (almost) unanimously by the girls. “I’ve had two young girls and two young boys” said Aaron, and he was unanimously voted in by the boys.
Both teams agreed their products should be unisex, “but if we have to pick one” said boys sub-team leader Conor, “let’s go for male”. In the taxi before his team had even reached the design studio he’d declared, “We’re going to have to go down a male route”. When all was said and done, their Wizardybrush and its (male) app character Wiffy Wizard was no match for the girl’s Brushing Star product. Not least because the Wizardybrush bore a striking resemblance the brand image the boys created for last week’s challenge. “Loggy”, said Nick. “Another turd” pronounced Lord Sugar. Let’s look at what we learned this week.
- Learn from prototypes and be prepared to adapt
When drawbacks of the Brushing Star product were highlighted by potential customers during the pitch, the girls were quick to point out that their team would be willing to work together with them to make adaptations. They understood the concept of the prototype and its purpose in introducing ideas, obtaining feedback and identifying what works and what doesn’t. But after a potential buyer pointed out the Wizardybrush’s unfortunate appearance, Aaron was steadfast in his commitment to the knobbly brown wand his team had created. When the customer asked if he’d be prepared to change the design he was categorical: no. He’d broken a key prototyping principle and fallen in love with his first idea.
- Read the room
You don’t have to be a body language expert or specialise in reading facial expressions to have noted the array of glowers, raised eyebrows and winces on display this week, from team members and potential buyers, and from Karen and Tim, a case of third-degree gurns. I’d previously assumed the pained expressions were edited into the show to signpost each clanger as it’s dropped, but this week some long camera shots revealed real-time grimaces from Karen and Tim, and clear non-verbal signals from team members and customers. If only the candidates could read the room they would identify potential disagreements, hesitations and concerns and they’d be able to listen, address issues and make adjustments. There’s nothing wrong with saying “I sense you have a concern, can we talk about it?”
- Don’t believe your own hype
Both teams held focus groups this week to obtain some Voice of the Customer feedback from 6-8 year olds. “Who thinks they would ask their parents to get this if they saw it in a store?” asked the focus group facilitator for the Wizardybrush team. One little hand went up. “Savage”, said Akshay. “A bit of a shame”, said Nick. However he then went on to deduce that one boy out of the two in the focus group represented “fifty percent of our target demographic”. “I’ll take that as a positive” he pronounced. So the boys began to believe their own hype and either dismissed or failed to recognise some clear issues with their product. As a result they weren’t equipped to respond to customer concerns during the pitch and appeared genuinely shocked and shaken when 0 orders were placed for their product. Talk about getting high off your own supply.
Management Speak of the Week
“Team stands for Everyone Achieves More When We’re All Working Together” – Francesca
Ones to Watch?
The stars of this week’s show were the 6-8 year old focus group attendees who gave their feedback on the products. Out of the mouths of babes indeed.
In their next challenge the teams will be creating non-alcoholic drinks ranges. For at least one candidate it will be a sobering experience.