Innovation consultancy has been one of the most impactful modules providing a wealth of skills for my career development. The module allows students at Westminster University to work on a real-life project, analyse the business problem and present the solutions to a client. Accordingly, we were tasked with the same role to review the Change Ahead website and present our findings to the client, Sheena Patel, the Founder and CEO of Change Ahead. In addition, this project was set to be a group, allowing the exchange of ideas and an in-depth understanding of the problem statement. In this report, I will apply reflective techniques to highlight the module’s outcome, specifically the group project. In addition, I will capture the two most critical incidents for the module. This includes working with a team and presenting the findings to the clients. Finally, I will present my overall personal development reflection and how the module impacted my career development. Accordingly, I will use Gibbs reflective cycle model developed in 1988 by Graham Gibbs.
Gibbs Reflective Cycle Model
A student can apply several reflective models as taught in the lecture room. These models include; Gibbs, Kolb’s Experimental Learning, Burton’s, and Driscoll’s models. In this report, I will apply Gibbs’s reflective cycle as explained by Graham Gibbs. The model comprises six stages; description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action plan. According to Adeani and colleagues, the effectiveness of this model helps a student evaluate work performance and improve their practice (Adeani et al.,2020). The model requires a student to describe the situation, event or project scope. The description stage provides an overview of the event and what it was about. The second stage includes feelings. The student explains the emotional attachments developed during the event. For instance, one may feel anxious, overwhelmed, excited or confused over a given task. These stages help one capture their emotional awareness and respond to their feelings.
Consequently, the project captures the evaluation as the third stage. Here, evaluation means assessing the project, noting what went well and what did not. This helps an individual identify areas of improvement if presented with the same task in future. The fourth stage of this model is analysis. According to Adeani and colleagues, analysis involves a deeper examination of the experience looking at the underlying causes and factors that contributed to the emotions experienced (Adeani et al.,2020). Finally, a student provides a conclusion and an action plan from the knowledge and skills learnt during the project. A conclusion summarises the key insights gained in the reflective process, while an action plan sets the stage for what to do next or how to handle the situation in future. Therefore, using this model, I can reflect on the two incidents and overall skills and performance for the module.
Incident 1: Working with A Team
At this incident, we were expected t organise ourselves in groups and delegate tasks for the project. As a group member, I delegated tasks and set the objectives f the following week. Accordingly, I was also tasked with getting feed acks from colleagues o the challenging moments of the project and raising them during our meeting with the project supervisor. The project requires us to work collaboratively and complete the project in a timely manner. However, we experienced communication barriers as a team, especially going through group forming stages. Despite the challenges, we were able to deliver the project in a timely manner.
Initially, I felt excited and perplexed by the project assessment. Working with a team would make work less tiresome and much more manageable. However, I felt uncertain about my role as a team organiser and with conflicting interests, I found it hard to keep the group on purpose. However, as the project progressed, I gained confidence n setting the group at pace and challenging members with the crucial milestones. Overall, I felt comfortable learning to manage and direct a team.
Overall, the group project was a success for us and the client. We were able to derive key areas of improvement o the website and essential strategies to be applied. However, sometimes we experience communication barriers and time management challenges. This had an impact on the final days of our project. For instance, one of the team members failed to communicate with her and complete her role in ter. This part was critical, and we had to pause and help all to move to the next step. Notably, we had to address members’ commitment before delegating a task to ensure we could complex the project on time.
As a team organiser, I realised I had mixed feelings and reactions to the project’s scope. I realised we needed to improve several areas to avoid messing with the project timeline. First, we set rules that each person should attend the mentoring sessions and record the knowledge learnt. Also, we developed a clear communication plan that involved weekly reports on the progress. In addition, we delegated the tasks accordingly t ensures every person’s effort was tapped. We realised that by setting up a teamwork plan, we could work on the project more efficiently with less conflict.
Through this participation, I learnt skills in team and group management. Also, I learnt different stages of group forming, including forming, storming, norming, and performing (O’Brien et al., 2019). I leant the challenges and opportunities of working with a team on a project. By working as a team, we could leverage each member’s strengths and support one weakness in different areas. We shared different insights on the project that helped develop comprehensive recommendations that are critical towards the future of Change Ahead.
I plan to apply the insightful lessons learnt in future and more in other modules. The skills gained are critical towards my career and academic development. For instance, I am confident in leading a group in class or at the community level. I am aware of the stages of group forming and potential challenges. I will take action f building solid relationships within a group and participate in more collaborations for more complex tasks at the community level.
Incident 2: Working with The Project Sponsor
Another critical incident encountered during the module coursework was working with the project sponsor. We met our project at different times as a group, including briefing, clarification, and final presentation. During this meeting, I communicated the project plan to the sponsor. In addition, I was responsible for documenting the client’s needs and ensuring the final presentation was in line with the client’s demands. I was encouraged by this event and always worked to ensure I was focused on the objectives and concerns raised during the project briefing. However, designing and balancing the sponsor’s needs was sometimes complex and challenging.
Initially, I was anxious about how I could professionally communicate with the project sponsor. I had not had such a role in the past, which made me nervous about how to do it successfully. My greatest challenge was how the client would rate our presentation and the feedback. However, after meeting during project briefing and clarification, I felt comfortable with the process and gained more confidence in working with the client. Accordingly, I developed a positive mindset and focused on the benefits of communication, which helped me reduce anxiety and have a successful project communication plan.
Working with the client was a successful incident, and I had much to learn. The communication was effective and organised, especially because the meetings were time-conscious and purpose-oriented. However, initially, it was challenging to understand the requirements of the project briefing. Were found it hard to balance the clients’ and the group’s needs. This conflicted with the team’s communication process during the initial period, which caused misunderstandings and delays. Consequently, we plan to meet the client to avoid conflict during the presentation. Notably, by recognising the areas of improvement and taking respective measures to address them, a project team can improve the overall performance of the presentation in the future (Sicora, A., 2017.)
In analysing the meetings with the sponsor, I realised that developing a plan was essential for teamwork effectiveness. I realised we needed to practice effective listening and discuss the outcomes of any meetings with a client to highlight and understand the shortcomings. In addition, I realised that feedbacks are crucial and, as a team, we needed to focus on the feedback presented during a presentation. According to Banwart (2020), learning how to give and receive feedback is essential in helping the team to improve project performance and build a strong relationship with the project sponsor. Accordingly, as a team, we needed to take our time and communicate better with clients for a successful project.
Overall working with the project sponsor has been educative and encouraging to me. I have learnt o analysing real business problems and presenting professionally. In addition, I have learned how to balance clients’ demands and team potential. For instance, I have noted that it is important to meet the expectation f the sponsors. However, more importantly, I have realised it requires a united and motivated group to work collaboratively. By working with the project sponsor, I have improved my communication and listening skills which are crucial towards my career development and future consultation opportunities. I will work on improving my skills and be more assertive in presenting my ideas to the project sponsors and leaders in future contracts.
Accordingly, I have planned to improve my communication, listening and collaboration skills. Therefore, I will start by spending time in the group and seeking the member’s feedback on my skills. This will help me understand my area of weakness and strengths. In addition, I will incorporate the knowledge learnt in other modules, which I believe will help develop my academic and professional development. Ultimately, working with a project sponsor has helped me build a strong relationship with clients and team members.
Analysis of Personal Development
The module innovation consultancy has been crucial towards my personal development. I have developed several skills important to my current employability goals. These include communication skills, project management, working with project sponsors, group leadership, and help me identify my strengths and weaknesses. According to Banwart (2020), effective communication is critical to group management. A team must communicate effectively and ensure every member is aware of the progress and the task needed to achieve a specific objective. The module helped me to better my communication and listening skills. In addition, as a group organiser, I was able to improve my leadership skills, which involved delegating tasks, giving instructions and setting an example to the members. Accordingly, being a leader helped me develop project management skills. This includes project scheduling, time management and defining milestones. According to Sicora (2017), organisations are focusing on hiring employees with good project, management and communication skills. Notably, a leader must have the capability of providing quality work despite the pressing pressure and deadlines. Overall, this module has the needed exposure to students working toward developing career and academic goals.
Overall, using Gibbs’s reflective cycle model has helped me identify my progress for the module. I have been able to identify my strengths and weaknesses as well as the areas of improvement. This process has encouraged me to reflect on every event and align it towards my personal growth and development. I am encouraged that I will have some time and use Kolb’s Experimental learning cycle model to have a better understanding of the reflective process. Notably, participating in this process gives me a clear direction for my future development, and I plan to take proactive steps in realising my career goals. Accordingly, I believe that every student, university and organisation should give employees the opportunity to have a reflective report to improve their work performance and productivity. I expect to apply the knowledge and skills learnt to improve myself and educate others on the benefits of this module and the reflective process.
Adeani, I.S., Febriani, R.B. and Syafryadin, S., 2020. USING GIBBS REFLECTIVE CYCLE IN MAKING REFLECTIONS OF LITERARY ANALYSIS. Indonesian EFL Journal, 6(2), pp.139-148.
Banwart, M. (2020). Communication studies: Effective communication leads to effective leadership. New Directions for student leadership, 2020(165), 87–97.
O’Brien, B., Tuohy, D., Fahy, A. & Markey, K. (2019). Home students’ experiences of intercultural learning: A qualitative descriptive design. Nurse Education Today, 74, pp.25–30.
Sicora, A., (2017). Reflective practice and learning from mistakes in social work.