After Bilyana's booting from the boardroom last week 15 candidates remain. Lord Sugar calls the teams to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Their task is to invent a new household gadget, create a prototype and pitch for orders to some of the country's biggest retailers.
In the beginning...
With Jane captaining the girls’ Team ‘Sterling’, and Azhar leading Team ‘Phoenix’, they set about the task. Each team took time to do some homeware window shopping hoping to find sufficient gaps in the current market.
During the brainstorming sessions the boys were quick to get organised; deciding swiftly on kitchen items, and recycling themes. The girls struggled to generate any great ideas but were firmly set on developing a gadget for the bathroom. Both teams were torn between two competing ideas, and to help reach decisions, they both tested their concepts with consumer panels.
Gadgets? Why not choose an App?
If you just actually sit back and thought about it, these two teams had an opportunity to create something brilliant.
Gadgets can improve lives, solve complex conundrums; or at least make them slightly easier. So what did our two teams bring to the bench? A leftovers compressor which resembled Bullet Bill from the Super Mario games; the ‘Eco-Press’, and a bath screen with crayons stuck to it; the ‘Splish-Splash’. At Quba we were astonished that they did not go down the app route. Apps can be more cost effective and are replacing gadgets left right and centre in the digital market place.
Devices these days such as a tablet or Smartphone can be turned into digital Swiss army knives, concentrating a lot of efficiency into a compact, pocket-size device.
Straight out of the box, your phone can take pictures and make calls, but with the right apps, you can also turn it into a torch, a remote control, a barcode scanner, and a compass. Musicians will find that it makes an excellent tuner and metronome. And though it's already an alarm clock and a music player, it can get better at these tasks with the right software.
'Gapp' in the market
I tell you what, I have a problem, not in the home albeit, however I do fall asleep on the way home on trains, often waking up at the one stop after the stop I wanted.
If you can get an app that can gage your heart rate in relation to the amount of miles you have walked or run, can we not develop an app that can recognise a decrease in heart rate and pulse? So that at the level that our heart and pulse rate falls to the level that reflect that of being asleep, an alarm rings, or maybe a very light electric shock enabling the user to avoid falling asleep....or missing their stop?! But hey....we aren’t on the show, what do we know!
The next stage of the task was to brief designers, who built the gadgets overnight in preparation for their pitches. Now, I’m all for ambition, but team Sterling's pitch to Amazon was so ambitious that there was red faces all round when Jane suggested an order of 1 million units (a £9 million order).
Interestingly as Apps are all downloadable you wouldn't even need to get into a discussion over orders which allows companies to make money really quickly.
If you look at the statistics for Draw Something for example there has been in the region of 20 million downloads in the last 6 weeks. Attaining this many customers at that pace in a traditional retail environment with buyers and operations managers on board would be impossible (unless you are a huge global brand unveiling something rediculously desirable; such as the iPhone 5, Nike Air trainers or a double-decker Greggs Seakbake!).
Who was Fired?
At the boys’ first pitch, Dwayne was forbidden from speaking, something Nick Hewer found ridiculous as Dwayne invented the gadget. The boys got their game on however and eventually improved their patter securing a huge and task-winning order from the second retailer.
Back in the boardroom the girls sounded far more united than the boys who couldn’t help but quarrel. Despite this, the boys were rewarded with more sales, whilst the girls had to set themselves up in the Sad Café and wait for another dismissal. Due to the embarrassment of the figures fandango with the girls Lord Sugar was scathing, voicing his disappointment with all of them, before firing Maria.
Despite the threat of firing more than one candidate Lord Sugar was lenient and let the two others walk free. When he watched the re-run on Wednesday he probably wished he had an app on his phone which allowed him to change that decision and fire more of them retrospectively. We'd like to talk to him about how we could do this for him!
Can’t wait for the next instalment will keep you posted...!