After exploring how to grow a great idea into a business during Idea Development Week, it is now time to create, prototype and test a digital product. That is what Digital Prototyping Week is for, starting September 23! Let Lily and Constantin give you a short intro. They joined a previous edition without really knowing what to expect and left with a bigger network, new friendships and a boost in confidence for their entrepreneurial adventures.
Lily and Constantin have both been on their entrepreneurial journey for a while, but when they met during the team formation at The Shortcut’s Digital Prototyping Week, something very special happened.
“The networking night was when I met Constantin. He had his idea – creating a marketing service – and I had my idea, which is to help solopreneurs. We combined both our ideas, sort of merged them. We changed the clients to be startups. What I loved was this feeling that we wanted to build something that came from the same foundation.” Lily and Constantin obviously have a connection. Sitting with them you can feel the energy and the excitement. They finish each other’s sentences and seem to know what the other person will say next.
Both Constantin and Lily decided to join the event without much prior involvement with The Shortcut. They were intrigued by the concept of a prototyping week and liked having five days in a row to connect with people and really immerse themselves in the process.
“When you participate in something for an entire week, there is more time to connect and really engage. You just have to join and see what happens. So I just showed up. I didn’t want to have too high expectations: I have a family, so when I chose to spend all my evenings away during a whole week, I knew that too many expectations would set me up for disappointment and regret for not spending the time with my family”, says Constantin. Lily agrees. For her, an open mind was key as well: “I had a similar feeling, I knew I had to be open to whatever I was getting myself into to get the most out of it. If I weren’t open to it or had too many predefined ideas or expectations, then I don’t think I would have been able to meet all these amazing people and really be open to the experience.”
After the team forming, they attended different workshops on product development, customer development, prototyping and pitching in order to walk through all the aspects of how to make a successful prototype. “I always had this entire idea in my brain, but getting these new, easy-to-use tools, like Envision, helped me put everything on a piece of paper. Constantin and I both had our ideas all developed in our heads and, together with the rest of the team, we just bounced off each other and started getting everything down on paper. Finally, I was able to really see it.”
Lily also emphasises the tools and the confidence boost in herself as an entrepreneur: “Meeting everyone, connecting and building friendships was amazing and also getting a clear structure and framework to develop ideas in the future. Furthermore, I really gained the confidence to believe that I can do this. I can develop my idea, pitch it to people and make it happen.”
Constantin adds: “Personally, I got new people in my life. That is at the top of the list. I would also say I gained the confidence that you can meet people, a bunch of strangers, and in barely a few days come up with something. It is not just an idea you contemplated for many years, it is real! You actually figure out how it would work and see it come to life. That felt really good, we felt the pressure, and that forced us to come out of our normal thinking boxes. We constantly had to think about what to do next. Every team had strengths and weaknesses, our drawings were not the best, but it didn’t matter because we had that special vibe in our team.”
Eventually, their idea didn’t win but neither of them thinks this is the end: “How do you keep up the momentum when you don’t win? In this world, there is going to be bad days and often people only talk about the successful days. There are tough days, but do you just sit there and let yourself be discouraged? Probably for a short while. But then the day after or the next day, you pick yourself up and you take the next step and the next step. I would rather share a story like that to the people who come here because that is the reality. You might not win. And people need to learn the process of what to do next. I think The Shortcut does a really good job, figuring out how to support you, both on good and bad days.”
It is clear that Constantin and Lily’s experience had a huge impact on them and their projects. But why should you join the next Digital Prototyping Week on September 23? “For the fun, the knowledge, the networking. Basically the entire experience. It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun.” Lily agrees with Constantin and adds: “For me, it’s really about uncovering a new part of yourself. There was a girl who was really shy, very uncomfortable pitching her idea, but I could tell, she discovered something during that week. She stepped out of this circle of comfort. I think many people did that during the week. The Shortcut gave us the support to figure out a better form of ourselves.”
If you feel inspired by these two, you are in luck! There is still time to sign up for the next Digital Prototyping Weekend coming up September 23-27, 2019.
Original publication: Stinne Friis Vognæs with thanks to Alessia Lee – March 21, 2018. Edited by Noemi Poget, September 10, 2019