I was always afraid of doing few practical things before. It is much easier to write a fancy report with “comprehensive” business analysis & strategy especially for the trained students from HKU than to implement the plans in an environment that you are not familiar with. Besides, I felt it deceptive to always say that “our goal is …” or “we may plan to …,”, which seems ambitious but far away from benefiting the business. For us,after Phase 1 — knowing the business and Phase 2 –information collection and business planning, we finally go to the last stage –business practicing.
To be honest, the first two stages, though takes longer time,were less challenging since it is such small business after all and most of the analysis and business plans can be reached intuitively. No complex business models one used in a business competition is required. However, one will never experience this in HK; rather than the process of “receiving a well-designed case — submitting a formal report — showing your ideas in suits to a group of experts”, we need to go from door to door for the information (front-line research)—find the most proper way to convince the owner to understand & accept you ideas—practice it .The reality will directly challenge whether your plans are practical or not instead of the judges.
The key words of this course is “ transformation & immersion “ .The most straightforward way to realise the objective is through communicating with different people, during which I developed effective interaction approaches by accommodating to the local culture ,thus strengthening mutual understanding and facilitate my immersion here to experience the real transformation. Like for the old lady, instead of a lengthy interim report, I believe a ppt that visualise the plan is better .We used examples to explain the current situation and showed what the future should be like. The successful cases of the competitors seemed to touch her nerves. She paid the visit to DOST and signed the contract — that ‘s the first step we advised.
We suggested she cook spicy cashews. She agreed and tried yesterday. However, she only used one pepper (not spicy at all) and the taste of the nuts was no different after cooking. It appears strange to me that a 30-year- experienced processor did not have a mature may or good consideration to test new products. I am concerned about her willingness to change and worried that she will just stick to the convention after we go back to HK. We need to figure out a way to bring her some short-term benefit so that she comes to know the good of innovation.
As for the government ,I had to admit that I really enjoy the communication since they were so friendly to share all they knows and so helpful to provide assistance within their power. Thus, I never worry about the result of the meeting of Liberty Cashew and DOST. Everything went smoothly and Liberty Cashew should be able to see their beautiful labels in 2 weeks. We went there again for further technology and financial assistance this morning.One tip is that they tend to be more efficient and effective when we explained how their immediate assistance is important to the business and especially for our research so that we can submit our findings to the university and it is open to HK readers. They immediately agreed to pay a visit to Liberty ,starting the assessment for further consultation next week when we mentioned that it will be our last week here and we hoped to take a video to show how the Philippine department help the minor business in a systematic way. Actually,the program can be delayed for one month or even 6 months until the end of the year if we do not settle the time. I even feel that the real value of us is not the consultation itself ,but our special identity— Hong Kong student, a scarce resource for them to have in daily life. Our visit sometimes can be regarded as a kind of attention that bring them a sense of excitement and pride. No wonder Merly(the big cashew nuts processor) also asked to take photos with us and said she would send it to her husband.
This is the most important step and it prove that it is essential to fully utilise the existing resources and platforms in a less-developed area rather than creating new things at the beginning. Usually, the success is at hand when you see the potential relationships or simply build bridges between different parties.
One thing I do want to mention is that I learnt how to ride a bike! I still remember how it felt to fall from the bike again and again when I was 5 years old and I have never tried after that. But on Saturday, not willing to only stay aside to watch my group mates having fun,I bite the bullet, and stepped on the bike, struggling to obtain the feeling of balance. Surprisingly, the third time I tried, I succeed. After some practice, I managed to join the riding team and rode for 11km on the road with motorcycles passing by constantly. You can never imagine what you can achieved in a new environment! I wonder if my learning abilities is getting improved and is planning to learn riding motorcycles later. Believe me, you can always try some new things and a totally new environment do help you to develop your potential!