Archive for the ‘Retail’ Category

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On Tuesday 22nd January The Department Store Game left its development home at Sarah Bonnells School and went on tour to Eastlea School. Our wonderful Year 11 co-developees: Chanelle, Timera, Mollie, Zelda, Olamide, Shannon and Rochelle (all pictured) took the game into a group of 40 Year 9 business studies students and played the full game with them for 2 hours.

Variations in the original game now included a timed decision-making system when a bell dinged every time and ‘hour’ went past (usually about 5-7 minutes) and a new and improved use of the decision and finance cards.

After the game some of the players commented on how they enjoyed it:

“I learnt how to handle decisions and situations, share jobs and work out solutions.” Rubecca

“I learnt different types of managers and how many are needed in one department store.” Glancy

“I learned how to make important decsions on the spot and how to think like a manager.” Lee

(I enjoyed) “The level of communication & teamwork it prompts.” Hazel-anne

(Is the game like real life in a department store?) “Yes a lot because the game was hectic and stressful.” Ardita

And our Game Guides from Sarah Bonnell were equally buoyant:

“I learnt that I can be a leader.” Rochelle

(I learnt) “That I can put myself out without being conscious of myself.” Mollie

“I leant that I can overcome my shyness.” Timera

“I can control a group of girls / boys, confident and I’m a good leader.” Shannon

The girls are now keen to go on to another school and we’re hoping to get them a gig at Langdon. Keep watching 🙂

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On the 29th June the Department Store Game got its first big outing and major test.

We took it to Sarah Bonnell School and it was run with 180 Year 10 girls then 150 or so Year 9’s. The year groups were split into classrooms and each room had 3-4 groups in with two Game Co-ordinators overseeing and helping out. The Game Co-ordinators were chosen from the Year 10 girls that had seen the game before and were familiar with how it worked. It was a big ask to get these girls to help run the game as they would have to not only remember how it worked, but also take on board the changes that had been made and also be able to help the groups, who were starting from scratch.

I was looking for two things on the day: one was for the Game Co-ordinators to be able to take on the responsibility of their role and assist the groups. The other was for the game to be robustly tested and to gain lots of feedback about teething issues and changes.

Outcome one was really lovely to see. Most of the girls stuck at their task to co-prdinate the game, though they found it harder to manage their own peer group than the Year 9’s that followed. They all got a silver SCEP certificate and they were all pretty proud that they’d stuck it out!

As for outcome two? Well – I got loads of useful feedback from the co-ordinators about the difficulties they had with explaining the game and the stumbling points. The game is by no means ready to take to a wider audience yet, Sarah Bonnells very kindly offered their girls to test it on. I have got a few quite large changes I want to make to it now and we hatched a plan to run the new, improved version in another school – ably assisted by the Game Co-ordinators who were keen to continue to help develop it.

The Department Store Game was tested at Sarah Bonnell School this week with the aim of seeing if it was engaging enough for a group of students to get into.

There’s basically two aspects to the game: making management decisions and managing finances. Both aspects were well and truly tested and some lovely elements revealed themselves that I shall definitely being incorporating.

During the finance aspect of the game, the students get to roll a dice to determine either a % increase or decrease in takings. Much debate ensues as to who gets to roll the dice and how they employ the support of their various Gods / lucky charms / mystical entities to get the required number. I noticed this was a real aid to gelling the team and enabled them to get into the game quite quickly.

The other part of the game required the team to make decisions about various scenarios that might happen in a department store. The scenarios were basic outlines of a situation and the team had to decide what to do next.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that in many cases the scenarios really did require further clarity and, as a result, getting the team to establish exactly what was happening was both educational and very entertaining!

The testing also provided me with a better understanding of the playability of the whole game and so there are a number of tweaks and changes that will be made before its roll out at the end of June.

Today I took a group of students from Newham College of Further Education on a tour of Westfield to look at the shop brands and understand a little about how they came into being.

We started with a list of ten shops and a grid with ten dates in it ranging from 1864 to 2009. First task was to decide which shop brands were the oldest and which ones were only a few years old, but were still big enough to be in Westfield. Then we went to each shop and talked about who founded it and why and – which I find fascinating – what age the founder was when they established the brand. Some started as young as 18 – others were well into their 40’s or 50’s. The average being mid 30’s.

Even more interesting was the variety of reasons the founders had for starting their business. For some it was an extension of their job or trade. Some needed to make money and decided to open a shop. Some people saw a business opportunity And some people did it because they simply loved making things and selling them.

So the upshot and learning we have for this to inform us how best to start a brand? Er.. there isn’t a formula I’m afraid. But Sharmadean Reid, owner of the newest brand Wah Nails,  has done particularly well in a relatively short space of time…

Sharmadean Reid