Friday, November 30, 2007

Vivocity Self-Discovery Trip (30 November 2007)

  1. an inward journey to find our inner self
  2. time-out to reflect upon the year so that we may appreciate what and who we are, our purpose in the whole scheme of things and what we are going to do about it
In the "task sheet":
  • 3 things I observe
  • 2 things I learnt about myself
  • What am I going to do about it?

The last time being sent to a departmental store, IKEA trip several years' ago was part of the school's programme on Innovative Protocol. For that, there's a very simple mission to accomplish - observe and direct the ideas for improvement and innovation in the school. So, it was very focused! And of course, the big group moved together, it's just like the school excursion. There can also learn from the "seasoned" housewives tips in keeping the house.

This time, found it a bit more challenging... hahaha... based on the title: Self-Discovery... hahaha... YES & NO. All the while, it's easy to do something for something/someone... how often for self? Hm... This is same as easy to point out to others what's right, what's wrong... but not easy to point out to ourselves... blindspot comes in... Of course, another difference is, I "set-off" on my own - as needed to tidy up some work before the 'exile'... hahaha... Indeed, this is just like I went on a solo trip (overseas) when I have to plan what to do, and how to do... :D

Armed with the camera and map... I started my exploration...

To answer to the questions in the Task Sheet...

3 things I observe:
  • (i) Space! Big yet small - There's so much space in Vivocity - it's huge (supposedly to be one of the biggest mall in Singapore)... however, it's small enough for people to bump into each other... eg. I left office much later, but bumped into Sally and Syafeena after my lunch at Food Republic and I bump into Soh Tin at the MRT station!
  • Learning Point: The world is really really small! The probability of meeting people we know is high - Given the amount of space, the variety of shopping experiences the mall can offer. A point to note: This is unlike conferences or events that we attended, where people from the same field came together.
  • (ii) Revolution of the Old concepts. There are 2 instances:
  • At Food Republic - what caught my attention was not just the deco,but the push-cart sales! The dim-sum trolley that goes round like the Chinese yam-cha restaurant. Hey, this happened in the food court??? Normally we only see push carts ferrying used receptacles... Moreover, it has extended beyond dim-sum, but also cold drinks and tissues, etc... So enterprising - bringing service to the 'doorstep'! This indirectly creates another opportunity to draw $ from the consumers!
  • Learning Point: Ideas are never too old... it's a matter how we package them, in the way receptive to the audience. For example, the dim-sum trolley was there for don't know how many years... but all the while is confined to the restaurant. So, why not food court? Next, apart from dim-sum, what else will consumers in the food court need or like to have? Just look around... In fact, this idea of bringing service to the doorstep reminds me of another old practice - In those days where I stayed at the 12-floor flat at Lavender Street. Every evening, one middle-age woman would carry 2 baskets of bread and walked from one level to another to sell bread - Ah... the familiar "ro---ti---"
  • At the outdoor playground - hm... should I say, the roof-top playground? Remember the familiar see-saw? The typical idea is, it's a wooden plank with its centre mounted on a pivot. This one bands in an arc! Can't believe my eyes! but it works exactly the same as a see-saw! Another amazing thing saw in the playground was the pony that is manually powered! What? Manually powered yet children love it? Look at it carefully, to get the 'animal' moving, the child has to step and push the foot-paddle... hm... in a way, they 'participated' in getting the animal react. Compared to those musical ponies, it certainly adds some degree of authencity.

  • Learning Point: Catch up with time to remain current. Old ideas can be good for current application... but to be packaged so that it can blend in with time. To do that, think out-of-the-box. There's where innovation and creativity come in. The old see-saw has been there for years... its concept never change - rectangular piece mounted at the centre, there it goes up and down, but the material that made the see-saw has improved over years (or shall I say, it has 'upgraded' from wood to ...). However, that's still the old piece of 'toy'. Using the same concept, but package it differently... it's entirely new! I believe it's not called the see-saw anymore. Similarly, the pony that goes round!
  • (iii) Service: Found this 'map' at the 'entrance' of food republic. First time I saw such artwork for a food court. I would draw a parallel to the menu that's normally placed at the door of any restaurant, so that potential customers have browse through before they decide to walk in or not. Good idea! It provides an overview of what it offers, saving our time to walk-and-see :D
  • Learning Point: Make information easily accessible for people (customers in this case). Adopt existing practices (which I believe it's from the information directory that most of the malls have) and enhance the visual. This is appealing. It reminds me of maps of places of interest!

2 things I learnt about myself:

  • Doing the same thing, Having a different personal response: Slowing down the pace and taking time to look around, I connected what I'm doing to what I did in the good old days; but now have a different feel of it:
  • Visiting the Bookshop. It's the first time I go to "PageOne". The feel and look - like Kinokoniya - comes with a classy artistic look-and-feel. The steps, the wood, the colour. What a contrast to bookshops I knew of about 30 years ago. That reminded me of those primary school days that I liked to spend time in the bookshop near the market, reading chinese stories books. Haha... since then was already reading Chinese books... er... they're simply more appealing. Bookshops have evolved over the years. Then came EPD bookshop at Bedok Interchange in my secondary school days... and slowely venture to the town area - MPH - no, it was not that common yet, but the one at Stamford Road... and eventually bookshops like POPULAR, TIMES, BORDERS, etc... The experience was really different - the range of titles bookshops carry, the deco of the shop, etc... The experience has changed. Just wondering... Has the consumer changed the way the business run or is it the way businesses are run nowadays (becoming more competitive) has changed the way consumers shop and raise consumers' expectations? I notice my habit, my intent (to visit bookshops) have changed over the years... When young, it's the 'love' to read that brought me to the bookshops... then it was the range of stationery that drew me there... yes, simply amazed by the range... they're so cute!!! Now, it's the "needs" - to be equipped with the necessary info (especially when making overseas trips) and to get in touch with what's hot in the field.
  • The way I shop. Discovered the $2 shop DAISO... attractive! It sells the Japanese goodies. In the younger days, will certainly get something - it's cheap, isn't it? So, why not? OK, that was the mentality. Now, would think again... do I really need that? and well, when I need, I can simply drop by to get again... Of course, I don't practise this when overseas since I don't go back to the same place (that often). I now think twice before spending money, but it's differentiated shopping practice!
  • Taking Photos. I like to take photos of surroundings around me. However, I notice one thing - I'm more at ease doing this while I was overseas! Hm... Subconsciously, the 'non-local' hat helps to bring out my inner-self and it enables me to do what I wish to do... Oops!
What am I going to do about it:

  • No ideas are too old! With a creative and innovative mind, it can be relevant. Do not discard old practices totally. A different package can help :D
  • Borrow ideas that may not be directly to the field we work in.

What I got for myself...

  • I had a good meal... the food wasn't that fanastic... but the observations made in the food court that brought about new ideas :D Oh yes, it's the first time I bother to keep the receipts - discover anything? There're consistencies and inconsistencies though under the same management. Spot that?

  • I got myself a pair of shoes! Yes, for my trip to Switzerland. Thanks to the advice of colleagues around the lunch table the day before. It's the first time I shop at Timberland - it's known for the apparels it carried - for outdoor activities. I ordered the pair at Vivocity branch (since it did not have my size) and collected the pair from the Centrepoint branch in the same evening. Well, with a 30% discount followed by another 15% discount, I'm happy :D

Click HERE for more photos.

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