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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Digital Journey



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Freely translated, Sotku challenged me to “Create a path for the new ENTREpreneur towards the future of digital business. What it can be, how to get the most out of it, and what a new pingster should know and be aware of on their journey towards the future. Thoughts, arguments, hand-holding, and support – preferably in some nice visual way. A tool/support for the new ENTRE learner on how to approach the subject during their studies.”

The task seemed simple enough at first but answering all different aspects of the task ended up harder than I could have imagined. However, this essay is trying to provide the answers and solutions. The first part of this essay includes a list of things every teampreneur should learn. The preliminary list was produced by me, based on my personal experiences. That version was then shared with the Proakatemia community via Teams and later on the list was developed further based on the feedback and comments provided.

The second part of this essay but the first part of the working process focused on my Proakatemia learnings regarding digital business – I am graduating any minute now, so this was a good place to reflect and collect a qualitative data set also for others to enjoy and reflect on. The learnings are divided in two – those that everyone should learn, and those that can be considered as specialization to a field.

Based on and building upon the previous exercises, the third part of this essay tries to answer the task Sotku challenged me to do. A tool/support for the new ENTRE learner on how to approach digital business. This part of the essay is a fully visualized version. The text version is provided in the appendix to make it easier to build upon these ideas and perhaps edit the tool – or build a new one – when needed.

The fourth and last part of this essay provides a list of different paja, solu, and workshop ideas around the topic of digital business. They can be copied as they are, but perhaps their roughness gives the reader a better position to spark even greater and more polished ideas.

 

Things for every teampreneur to learn

 

Get familiar within the first 6 months of Proakatemia:

  • GDPR (basics of how to follow it)
  • Microsoft 365 (Outlook, the system of storing information, different tools)
  • Teams (navigation, calendar, online meeting, private & public messaging, system of storing & sharing information)
  • Excel (basics of how to use it and how to navigate inside of it)
  • WordPress (what it is, what it can do (in theory) & using essay bank)
  • Grammarly (How to activate it on your computer, how to utilize it when writing)
  • Managing inside digital TAMK (Surviving, trying to be independent. Includes things like Intra, Pakki, Printers & Moodle)

Continue learning more about these throughout the studies, especially Excel, Microsoft 365, and Teams.

 

Get familiar within the first 6 months of having a team enterprise:

  • Accounting platform (Netvisor, Procountor, or other)
  • Receipt platform (eTasku, Visma, or other)
  • The finance tracker of your team company (most likely in Google Sheets or Excel)
  • PRH pages (worth having a paja about this to demonstrate how & where to fill in the information when creating a company)
  • Outlook and/or Gmail (The goal is to be able to showcase yourself as a professional.)
  • Canva (Basics of online graphic design)
  • ChatGPT (Basics of how to utilize a conversational language model AI)
  • LinkedIn (you already have a bunch of people to start adding to your contacts)

If you prefer to use some of these tools after the studies, continue to learn more and gain expertise throughout the studies.

 

Journey for the last 2,5 years:

  • What are your professional interest fields? Finances, marketing, leading, etc.?
  • Based on your professional interests, build up your own digital learning goals
    • What digital platforms, tools, and theories should you master if you want to be successful in your interest(s)?
    • What are the different platforms you might need in your future work environment? For example Google Drive, Zoom & Google Meets, Slack, or Discord?
    • What should have most of your attention and what can have only a look?
    • How could you learn more about these things?
    • When will you learn more about these things?
  • Throughout the studies, be open to new digital possibilities and update your ‘need to be learned’ -list always when needed
  • Getting more familiar with different aspects of digital TAMK (Exam & Wihi, multiple password changes, official report template, IT support)
  • Learn either PowerPoint or Google Slides (Canva might not work in all presentation creation situations. F.ex. customers/coworkers might not be familiar with it, and classified information might be better to have on safer platforms).

 

The last things/reflections/essays:

  • How will you keep updated on digital developments after leaving Proakatemia?
  • What everything did you end up learning during the studies?

 

Example of learnings

Below is a list of examples of what a person in Proakatemia might learn regarding digital business during the Proakatemia studies. I am no nerd but do consider myself a Digi native. I have not aimed to learn a lot of new things regarding these digital tools, but they have all somehow just walked into my life; some through coaches, many of necessity, others through Google searches, and the rest through customers, co-workers, and other teampreneurs.

 

Working comfortably and fluently in varying digital platforms and utilizing digital tools makes everyday work easier and faster. Looking back, my interests during the Proakatemia studies have been in finances, efficient working, visualization, and common/shared information retention and clarity. These factors for sure have affected the list next presented. These skills I consider as ‘specialization on own interest fields’ are marked on the list with cursive.

 

Digital business things I’ve learned during the Proakatemia studies:

Entrepreneurship-related things such as

  • Netvisor and Procountor (accounting platforms)
  • Visma and e-Tasku (AI-generated receipt platforms connected to accounting platforms)
  • PRH pages (These official sites are scary in the beginning and error notifications might be a pain.)
  • The business side of bank user interfaces, OmaSp and OP (f.ex. In OmaSp, the business side seems to differ a lot from a customer interface) 
  • Barcode creation and facilitation, GS1 (small(ish) thing but if done incorrectly might cause huge problems)
  • Using Vero pages as a business (Same as with banks, some things are slightly different.)
  • Ukko.fi platform and Kassavirtanen.fi (for billing some money out of the company to your account)
  • Summup and iZettle (Point-of-sale system interfaces, product creations, reports.)

Work speed and quality enhancing AI tools such as 

  • Grammarly (Helping with essays, thesis, and daily communication)
  • ChatGPT (Helping on essays, thesis, and other bigger & smaller daily things)
  • DALL-E, Imagen, Canvas AI photo generator (creating essay bank pictures, presentation pictures, customer report pictures, etc.)
  • Uizard (utilized in the 24H challenge when creating application mockups for the customer)

Other things

  • Microsoft 365 Office. The Logic, Folders, Word, Teams, and Excel (I was more familiar with products offered by Google)
  • WordPress (Essay Bank, other websites I’ve gained access to as an editor – basics of website creation)
  • Outlook & Gmail (CC, BCC, signature, redirecting & forwarding, automatic replies)
  • Managing inside the digital world of a big organization – TAMK (printers, password changes, Wihi, Exam, Pakki, IT support)
  • LinkedIn (I created an account and have tried to learn and activate myself)
  • Slack (communication platform such as Teams. Used f.ex. In Platfor6 & Tribe)
  • Miro, Jamboard, Canvas Whiteboard (utilizing as a digital planner tool and a shared, flexible online working platform. Note: Jamboard will be shut down in 2024. Good thing that is not the only one I’ve used)
  • DeepL (the translator was published during my studies, used Google translator before)
  • Trello (task tracker)
  • Monday & Notion (Digital notes, task lists & knowledge organization. I became familiar with these due to a side job at Tribe Tampere – not a huge fan but some people like them)
  • Smart city concepts and aspects (projects related to Tampere.Finland app & some lectures)

Already familiar but have been utilizing

  • GDPR basics (storage company member information, questionnaire data storage, thesis interview information, Proakatemia student information)
  • Canva (creating presentations, pictures, fliers, etc.)
  • Picsart (editing photographs)
  • Excel (creating excels, viewing and utilizing other templates)
  • Google Slides (creating presentations, used if other parties are not familiar with Canva)
  • Google Drive and its possibilities (saving, sharing, folders, folder rights, etc.)
  • Zoom & Google Meets (online meetings)
  • Calendly/Doodle (agreeing a meeting time with a big group)

 

How to start a digital business

Ideas for Pajas, Solus & other workshops
  • Scalability and growth strategies
    • designing scalable business models and strategies
    • Discuss the importance of leveraging digital platforms for scalability and reaching a global audience.
  • Visiting a digital business or getting them to visit you
  • Lean startup methodology
    • the principles of it and how to do it in practice. Emphasizing the importance of iterative development, customer feedback, and validated learning. 
  • Pitching & presentation
    • How to effectively pitch ideas to potential investors, partners, or customers.
    • Crafting a compelling business pitch
    • Discussion: how does it differ from pitching something ‘traditional’ and something digital?
  • Evaluating and Adopting New Technologies 
    • Overview of emerging technologies, blockchain, IoT, etc.
    • Assessing the potential impact on business operations and strategies
    • How to adopt and integrate these new technologies into operations
  • Social Media
    • Crafting effective social media strategies
    • Content creation and curation
    • Analytics and performance measurement
  • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Data Analytics for Business Decision-Making
    • Introduction to data analytics tools and techniques
    • Using data to make informed business decisions
    • Practical exercises in data analysis and interpretation
  • Building a Digital Brand
    • Importance of branding in the digital age
    • Creating a strong online brand identity
    • Utilizing social media for brand building
  • What if – Digital edition
    • A reminder of what is the difference between a digital offering and a digital business.
    • What digital offerings could you provide in your current/dream/example project?
    • What if your current/dream/example project would be a digital business? 
      • What would change and what things could stay the same? 
      • What benefits or challenges would this bring? 
      • How could you create an MVP (minimal viable product)?
      • ^presenting to others & getting feedback

 

SOURCES:

Kennedy, J.F. 1963. John F. Kennedy 1917–63. American Democratic statesman, 35th President 1961–3. Oxford References. Speech at Paulskirche. Frankfurt: 25.6.1963. 

Neeley, T. & Leonardi, P. 2022. Developing a Digital Mindset. How to lead your organization into the age of data, algorithms, and AI. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2022/05/developing-a-digital-mindset

 

Appendix.

Text version of the how to start a digital business – tool

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Kennedy 1963.

 

Digital business applies digital technology to redefine business models and revolutionize products and customer experiences. It involves innovating products that generate new value.

How to embrace digital business possibilities during Proakatemia? The first step is to find the right kind of mindset.

 

A digital mindset is a set of attitudes and behaviors that enable people and organizations to see how data, algorithms, and AI open up new possibilities and to chart a path for success in a business landscape increasingly dominated by data-intensive and intelligent technologies.” 

Neeley & Leonardi 2022.

 

The following Picture of the Matrix of personal responses includes four categories: oppressed, frustrated, indifferent, and inspired. The first step is to guide yourself into the inspired category. To do so, we need enough information to be convinced of the value and need for digital transformation, as well as enough confidence to believe that we can learn the things necessary for us. The following pages will give you support to first reach this right mindset and then guide you forward in the world of digital business. To be honest, I am a bit scared of this huge digital transformation. But I believe it is more than worth it to step out of my comfort zone for this one. I hope you consider it as well.

 

PICTURE 1: Matrix of digital transformation responses. Neeley & Leonardi, 2022.

 

Let us start by understanding the 

  • Characteristics of a digital offering vs. characteristics of a digital business model
  • Most popular digital offerings
  • Most popular digital business models
  • What is scalability, and why does digitalization support it?

And then

  • Networking and familiarizing oneself with the local startup ecosystem, companies & founders
    • Taking part in a startup pitching event. Easy access to all Platform6 things, for example, Red Brick Demoday.
  • Gaining confidence and realizing that teams need both digital and business expertise to succeed.
  • Learning from study cases & previous teampreneurs.
    • Proakatemia example of a great digital transformation in traditional industries: Apukuskit
  • Finding a mentor who has experience in digital business or has successfully launched a startup. If not through Proakatemia alumnus, for example through Tribe’s Fellowship Give Back -track or Yrityskummit.
  • Learning the Lean Startup Method in theory
    • Learning how to apply it in practice
  • Pitching and presentation skills
  • How to pitch and present a business idea (digital or traditional)
  • Taking part in Sprint innovation festival, Global Business Challenge, Unfold, Demola innovation challenge, Hackathons, and other innovation possibilities offered for students.
    • These are great opportunities to learn a lot about digital innovation and gain friends with various study fields to complete your future work team. Unless you have goals to be one of the digital experts, focus on bringing expertise to the team through leadership, innovation tools, lean startup methods, customer feedback loop, and if needed business side.
  • Intern with digital expertise – a project to collaborate with and try out something new. Develops skills to lead digital expertise and can create future collaboration.

 

Ideas for collecting deeper knowledge

Some of the most popular books about digital entrepreneurship:

  • The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
  • Zero to One – Peter Thiel
  • Start with Why – Simon Sinek
  • In addition, the biographies (Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos…)
  • Own addition & recommendation: Feld & Hathaway – The Startup Community Way

 

Some of the most popular online courses regarding digital entrepreneurship:

  • The Startup School – Y Combinator
  • How to Start a Startup – Steve Blank
  • Mastering the Startup Game – Ash Maurya
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