Into the Dragons Den

I’m not sure what I expected the Dragon’s Den to be like, the tension was Surprising but I certainly admired the staying power of the judges.

Our group had met the night before to formalise and print the poster for our product Cosy-Book. One of the Team had written the script and we were reviewing and amending. It was this evening, before the Dragons Den that I feel our team connected and finally came together. Our meeting was friendly, courteous, and respectful. I would love to say I know what happened but perhaps we had just worked our way through Bruce Tuckman’s stages of teambuilding.

Retrospectively, I think being more conscious of these stages would have helped me at least feel more in control of the situation. My needing to be in control of a situation is unfortunately a habit –fine, perhaps in a situation where I have authority (my lecturing position), however more volatile when among peers who have quite rightly their own agendas.

The importance of the session hit us the morning of the day, the tension was noted as we were practicing lines and whispering confirmations to each other at each available moment. The organisation of the presentation such as who stands where who hand what to who and when……. It had dawned on us how much earlier we had needed to start preparing.

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Cosy-Book prototypes

Luckily, we had a clear vision of our product: the Cosy-Book.

Manufactured in the UK using sustainable materials, the Cosy-Book is for working city professionals who on cold days still want to be able to sit on any surface outdoors in comfort. For the pitch we had a working prototype that kept us focused and gave us something to hand round.

 

So, partially prepared but with a lot more group cohesion but little practice we waited for our turn.

Once up we ran though the pitch with several, minor errors, the biggest being that we ran over by a huge amount, by over 2 minutes. The prototype helped a lot as we were able to demonstrate the simplicity of the product. The judges seemed very interested in handling the product, illustrating the importance of the prototype at the pitch.

Feedback from the judges ranged from, ensuring the name Cosy-Book had not been trademarked (this led to very helpful conversation with Naomi Korn after), waterproofing the outside and options for larger seating pad. All extremely helpful.

As a team, I think we enjoyed the pitch, we were more comfortable with each other which I think showed and we were able to answer questions with a considered air.

Overall, while I acknowledge we had a scrappy pitch with having done just enough research and prep to reassure the judges, I think we presented something better: A ‘performing’ team.

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