Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Monday, 12 March 2012
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Big Al and his bicycle
Big Al was 34, married and had a well established career. He liked to cycle everywhere as he was very concious of the effects that carbon emissions from cars had on the atmosphere. He rarely bought anything new and only every bought something if it was necessary. He told us he liked to shop in charity shops and would often get old things repaired instead of buying new ones. He was exactly the kind of person we wanted our buisness to appeal to.
We began brainstorming ideas for a buisness and came up with several from vegetable allotments to organic fairtrade restaurants to phone apps. We eventually decided on a sharing scheme as so many people had garages, sheds and attics overflowing with things they hardly ever used. Our idea was to share space, to have somewhere that people could store their rarely used or seasonal items but also share them with others in the community. And so The CommuniTay Attic was born!
Brainstorming buisness ideas
Photos that inspired our buisness proposal.
We then went on to do research into other existing companies such as CouchSurfing, SplitStuff and EcoBees. We also needed a location for our company and looked into various warehouses in and around Dundee. We decided it was also be a good idea to have a van with which we would offer a delivery and collection service. As part of our company we also decided on a website on which our customers would have the oppertunity to book out items for however long they needed them. Each person would have a login name and password and must be a member in order to reserve items. A yearly membership fee of £10 per year per person would be charged and that means they had unlimited access to anything in our attic for the year. However we were open to non members aswell and a fee of £5 per item would be charged each time they wanted to book an item out. Each member must sign a contract detailling their responsibilites of the items in their care and stating that they were liable to pay any fees in the event of damage. However, if the product was damaged through general wear and tear then obviously we as a company would foot the bill.
We got in contact with a few companies including B&Q in the hope that they would support our buisness venture. We were looking for them to donate or give us a discounted rate on any items to help get our buisness started as well as the products we would recieve from our customers. The Right Signs helped draw up the artwork of our van and agreed to donate the signs free of charge in exchange for the advertising benefit they would recieve. Spokes a local bicycle company also said they would assist with repairs.
As with being an eco friendly company we needed eco friendly products... we looked into a variety of these from smart log splitters to solar powered BBQs and lawn mowers. These were some of the items we hoped B&Q would donate us.
Overall I really enjoyed the project and it has given me a better insight into what is involved in setting up and running a successful business. Everyone in the group contributed fairly and I think we worked really well as a team.
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
The majority of my group correctly guessed I was an activist and my predictions for them were mostly right too. I thought Laura was an activist with a few qualities of the theorist, she tested strong for both. It was interesting to hear what she thought, as she saw herself as more of a reflector.
I predicted Nicky too was an activist which she tested very strong for. She got moderate for pragmatist which was the strongest result for pragmatist within our group. Nicky thought she would have been a reflector but her result came back very low.
I correctly guessed Maxine to be a reflector and she agreed that that best described her. I had put Jianru down as a reflector/theorist as I feel she has been the quietest within the group and I got the impression she likes to plan and think alot about her work. Jianru tested very strong for reflector, theorist and activist. I thought it was great that she would be able to take on any role within the group in order to balance out the rest of us. Jianru said she believes she is more of an activist but from working with her I believe there are other people within our group with more dominant activist qualities.
The activist was most dominant within our group but I do feel we are well balanced with very strong reflectors and theorists. We all tested low for pragmatist with the exception for Nicky who got moderate. It's possible she may take on the pragmatist role within the group. After discussing the test we thought that the answers could have been strongly agree/disagree to give a wider scope and possibly make the test more accurate. We also wonder what the results may have been within a group of say law or medical students. Do creative people tend to have the qualities of an activist?
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
One book of particular interest to my research is Bodyguards: Protective amulets and charms written by Desmond Morris. The main theme of this book concentrates on different types of protective amulets - from the ancient myths associated with minerals and healing properties of crystals to religious crosses and symbols. He addresses various points and questions including the ways in which each particular charm has been used over thousands of centuries and the powers associated with them. Morris then continues to explain their importance in today’s society. He reinforces his points with anecdotes and legendary or biblical stories. He was particularly interested in making films and recording human behaviours and many of the amulets presented in this book he accumulated whilst travelling the world, learning about the history of different cultures and superstitions. He also uses secondary resources to back up various mythical stories about these bodyguards. Many of his sources date as far back as 1867 which was valuable in discovering the importance of and ways in which these sacred charms were used back then. He also argues that ancient jewellery was always worn for spiritual or protective purposes and as craftsmen have become more experienced, jewellery has evolved into beautiful ‘works of art’. Jewellery then became ‘symbols of high status.‘ worn only by those who were considered important. However, Morris has concluded that the ‘New Age Movement’ has recently rediscovered crystals. He states "The younger generation is once again wearing crystals and gems for non decorative, non status reasons. A new era of mineral magic has dawned." Charm jewellery has become increasingly popular in society today, we are going back to our roots to apply these crystals and minerals in the long forgotten ways. The key concepts presented in this book are that even though people may say they do not believe in superstition, many still carry a small object or piece of jewellery with them ‘just for luck’. Morris presents the question: With technology advancing at a alarming rate will we still follow these superstitions in the years to come? With superstition being part of peoples lives since the beginning, I think that we will still be superstitious to some extent, wether we realise it or not. Morris argues that if someone believes that a charm can protect them, they will therefore feel at ease, meaning a healthier mind set and boosted immune system. The ‘powers’ these bodyguards posess have more of an effect on the mind, and if a person feels less anxious or stressed they will be less prone to disease. The author presents his point of view that he feels belief in the powers of amulets and charms may be lost due to scientific discoveries. I think he likes the idea of believing in some kind of ‘magic’ and feels if science is going to steal these ancient beliefs from us it should be giving us, in return, something new to believe in.
The second article I have found to be relevant to my area of research is called Alternative Medicine: Wheres the evidence? written by Barry Beyerstein. This journal challenges the beliefs of those interested in alternative medicine ad provides the scientific side of the argument. Beyersteins main purpose is to persuade the reader that alternative therapies are a load of nonsense. He reinforces his arguments by stating that there is no scientific evidence to prove these therapies actually work. The key question he addresses in this article is Where is the evidence to prove alternative therapies suceed in curing people’s medical conditions?’ He answers this by stating that we should catagorise disciplines into ‘research fields’ and ‘belief fields’ - a suggestion from physicist and philosopher Mario Bunge. The ‘research fields’ can provide evidence to prove an idea or theory whilst practises catagorised into the ‘belief fields’ cannot. He cites a variety of secondary resources including Brunge, studies by Redelmeier and Tversky and an article written by Wallace Sampson titled ‘Reviews of Anomalous & Alternative medicine‘. Beyerstein brands these alternative therapies ‘bogus treatments’ and crystal healing a ‘patently absurd practise’ as belief relies solely on personal experiences rather then carefully controlled experiments and trials. The author states ’’The willingness of many to accept the claims of dubious health providers, must be blamed on the low level of scientific literacy in the public at large.’’ In other words, he is implying that people do not know enough about science to realise these therapies are a load of rubbish. Beyerstein blames the media for increasing interest of alternative therapies arguing that they are ‘worsening the problem’. If the public were to take Beyersteins line of reasoning seriously I think there would be a significantly higher strain on medical scientists to provide answers and solutions which alternative therapies may ease. If we were all to suddenly stop putting our well being in the hands of alternative healers I think we would be a much more miserable community. Wether or not these herbal remedies work they give people something almost ’magical’ to believe in, resulting in a happier, more balanced society. However, Beyerstein is of the opinion that if there is no scientific evidence to support a theory or alternative practise it must be ’bogus’. He also argues that alternative therapists take advantage of that fact that many illnesses have ’ups and downs’ so the patient is probable to visit the healer when they are feeling at their worst. This means that the healer will likely ‘receive credit for an upturn that would have happened anyway.’ I think this is a valid point and there is the possibility of people psychologically believing they only feel better as they went to see a crystal therapist.