Image credit: Chris Moore
The 24 hours running up to our pitch presentation slot were some of the most high pressure hours I have felt in this entire module.
All things considered, I was happy with the pitch we delivered. It wasn’t without its minor mistakes (which would have been navigated with better organisation), but the industry experts we pitched to responded reasonably well to our idea.
The main thing that seemed to be questioned was the amount of competitor analysis we had done. The experts pointed out a number of indie games that leverage branching narrative mechanic. Most of their recommendations weren’t on our radar.
As much as I appreciate their feedback— and we will be sure to carry out more competitor analysis— I think their criticisms arose from our idea not being sufficiently conveyed.
Our product isn’t targeted at indie gamers, and I wouldn’t classify it as a game. Our product is driven by nostalgia for the books we enjoyed as children. Our objective is to immerse our users in a storytelling experience, reminiscent of when they were read to as children.
How we respond to this feedback is a matter of artistic integrity. Cox, La Caze, and Levine (2003, 2-3) state that “Integrity is as much, if not more, about when to break certain commitments as it is about when to keep them”.
I believe that the investors’ feedback is more a reflection on our pitching than the product itself, moving forward I will commit to our product concept and address their feedback by iterating on the pitch deck— unless our competitor analysis reveals a need to pivot.
In the past two modules, week six has been recognised as a ‘reading week’ for getting caught up with the first half of the module. Reading weeks have been a welcome opportunity for respite and reflection, where I have got some of my best blog writing done.
While I haven’t had the respite I’m used to at this point of the module due to pitch preparations, I’d still like to take some time to revisit my SMART goals and review my progress.
Improving my deliverables:
In the past six weeks, I have delivered an affinity map, wireframes and prototypes. I took the lead in producing the first iteration of our pitch deck. These deliverables align with our point in the Double Diamond design process (Jonathan Ball, 2019), and they have successfully communicated my ideas to the rest of the team. With this in mind, I am happy with my progress towards this SMART goal.
Avoiding writing burnout:
I have made a conscious effort to record my reflections each week in note form, though I haven’t achieved my objective of translating those notes into a publishable blog post on a weekly basis. At the point of writing this post, I have accrued a backlog of four unwritten posts.
In part, I attribute this to the additional responsibilities I have taken on in this study block: testimonial writing, being a student rep and team leadership. Rather than making excuses, I would like to remind myself of a thought-provoking statement I quoted in UXD720: “[burnout is a] hard lesson that most people ultimately ﬁnd themselves grateful to have learned.” (McCormack and Cotter, 2013, 194)
In the coming weeks, I will aim to gradually reduce my backlog of unfinished reflective writing. I specify ‘gradually’ here, as I want to write with stable working cadence, instead of ‘cramming’.
Islam and Zyphur’s (2009) Conceptual Model of the Organizational Ritual Process reinforces my belief that following a weekly writing routine keep my efforts sustainable, which should benefit the overall quality of my reflective writing.
Refining my academic writing:
As I agreed in this SMART goal, I have seeked guidance from Falmouth University’s Academic support (ASK) team. The feedback I received from ASK reinstated a confidence in my academic writing that has historically fluctuated.
I have consolidated the feedback I received into two key focuses. The first is to ensure that I accurately follow the Falmouth Harvard Referencing style. The second is to practice introducing the main topic at the start of each of my posts instead of using meandering discourse.
It was pointed out to me that my writing doesn’t need to follow every current convention of academic writing, by nature of it being a personal blog. I found this reassuring, though I will continue to be mindful of balancing my creative flair with academic tone.
Developing my research skills:
If I compare my opinion of my research skills now and at the start of the previous module, this goal feels like the one I have made the most progress towards. In the user research Luis and I carried out, I felt confident in forming a discussion guide for us both to use that would return valuable insights. Collaborative affinity mapping was extremely rewarding experience because we had concurring insights that gave us a nuanced understanding of how and why our users engaged with similar media.
During my share of the interviews, I felt that I effectively applied active listening practices. I was able to take note of the content, intent, and feeling of the speaker (Jahromi, 2016).
Before I accept this SMART goal as ‘achieved’, I’d like to become more concise when I speak. In accordance with Adair’s principles of effective speaking, I should “concentrate on what must be said rather than on what should or might be said, bearing in mind the time constraints” (Niel Thomas, 2003, 35).
BALL, J. 2019. ‘The Double Diamond: A universally accepted depiction of the design
process’. Design Council [online]. Available at: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/double-diamond-universally-accepted-depiction-design-process [accessed
COX, D., LA CAZE, M., & LEVINE, M.P. 2003. ‘Types of Integrity’. Integrity and the Fragile Self. 1st edn. London: Routledge, 2-3.
ISLAM, G. & ZYPHUR, M.J. 2003. ‘Rituals In Organizations: A Review and Expansion of Current Theory’. Group & Organization Management, 34(1), 114–139.
JAHROMI, V.K., TABATABAEE, S.S., ABDAR, Z.E., & RAJABI, M. 2016. ‘Active listening: The key of successful communication in hospital managers’. Electronic physician, 8(3), 2123–2128.
MCCORMACK, N. & COTTER, C. 2013. Managing Burnout in the Workplace : A Guide for Information Professionals. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 194.
NEIL, T. 2003 Concise Adair on Communication and Presentation Skills. London: Thorogood Publishing, 35.