Prototyping in the Eyes of a Business Manager. – Emily G.

Since I was little, I have always striven to take the leadership positions that are offered. It started with being the line leader, and now I am the business manager for an entire company that determines our DAP grade. I have always felt the pressure that comes with leadership, from that first step out of Ms. Beasley’s classroom in kindergarten leading us to the cafeteria, to knowing that I am creating the networking skills and skeleton of a company. This week has been no different than previous, except for the part I play as a business manager is becoming stronger, and the work I am doing is becoming more relevant to Jammer Joints as a whole.

As a business manager, I have to talk to many different people at different times, all in the best interest of my company. A prime example of this can be seen in my constant search for clients to come in and help my employees. Although I can feel the tension of thoughts about my project whenever I am presenting ideas to the class, I can also start to feel that each employee is understanding my role as an advocate for their ideas, and as a help to them as well. By this I mean, I can feel that when I am presenting our new clients, I can feel that my employees don’t quite understand my project, but they do understand that I am trying my hardest to help them in theirs.

The past two weeks have been extremely productive not only for building a better, more understanding relationship with my employees, but also in our own separate activities. For example, this past week the company had to undergo prototyping and testing to make sure each person is eligible to use tactile skills with machines (such as sewing machines and 3D-Printing). I as the manager also went through the training, because to be a good manager, I need to understand everything that my employees are doing. I really enjoyed the training because I was learning how to do things that I have always wanted to know how to do, but now, I can actually further help my employees when they feel that they’re struggling.

sewing machine
Picture from MakerSpace Haiku Page

During prototyping, many employees asked me for insight seeing how I didn’t have bias towards any one persons product, because I wasn’t working on it. Although I’m not a roller derby player, I was able to give advice and opinions that in turn helped others either solidify their previous ides, or solidify new ones.

A week ago, we also presented during a “Shark Tank”-esque set up, giving anonymous criticism and praise through a technology called Poll Everywhere. This was an amazing learning experience, especially for myself because I presented my business plan, and I got to find out the questions that everyone had for my project, because no one knew too much about it. It was really great to be able to present intricate ideas, and receive feedback from those who are benefiting from my work.

poll everywhere
Picture from polleverywhere.com

The biggest problem I have faced in the past few weeks has been the fact that I am the only person working on my individual project, so I have no one to bounce ideas off of that understand what I am talking about, or really care all that much. Although my employees love that I am bringing in extra elements to help them in their projects, it’s very hard for them to empathize with me because they are not completing my project. The hardest part is just knowing that my ideas are 100% my ideas, and that I am completely responsible for each one. I cannot blame my project on anyone else, because it is all mine.

I really enjoyed being able to help my employees, and trying to be in their shoes through training, prototyping, and presenting. I am extremely excited for the rest of this project, and I am glad to be working with the amazing company I am.

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