The Agency: What’s a Pagoda?

‘ORrright Naahhh Lisssen ear. You lot ‘av got 2 hours too get back ear with a printed photo of one person from your team next to the Pagoda, with a mascot. You’ve got a fiver budget. Back by 1…

…All clear?’

‘What’s a Pagoda?’

‘You lot are gonna have to find out’

And with that the Agents were off, peeling the five pound notes out Nick-Man Josh’s hands and bowing to Lord Sugar-Rogers as they rushed out the room. Arnold & Mohammed, or team Get Fit Fast, started slowly, consulting the oracle of delphi (Siri on the Roisin’s iphone) to try and find out what a pagoda was. First they called Sydney, then they pulled up a map, which wouldn’t load. Mohammed responded to this technological hurdle with his usual cunning. ‘Let’s go the the fire station.’

We all looked at each other; slightly confused.

The aim was to develop the Agent’s capacity for teamwork & budgeting skills and see what initiative might emerge under a fun but time-pressured situation.  While they were gone Roisin, Deanna and myself spontaneously booked flights to Rio in order to further enhance their outstanding ability to deliver the project in London///get a photo of themselves with a mascot by the Jesus statue.

Flora & Tref researched the ins and outs of setting up a stall selling skin care products in Clapham for Sydney. Josh drew maps of Ideastap, Soundcloud and SBTV for Christian to further their discussion on the different potential interfaces, user communities, founder/entrepreneur roles and many other aspects of different digital platforms before stealing all the best bits. M-m-m-Monster! (see week 3 if you can’t remember what that is)

Deanna was jogging on the spot and debriefing with Roisin about their Monday visit to Carney’s community.

Then Mohammed & Arnold got back, straight to the computer room, they had their image on a phone. They bopped straight in and ask D-Sugar to borrow her cable, knowing better than her where it was in the room. They’d clearly scoped it out before. D was so impressed she started writing down notes about their initiative. Turns out Mohammed did boxing with some of the firemen and he knew they’d give him the downlow about the pagoda (which is in Battersea Park) and they subsequently jogged (because they love fitness and stuff).

While they were in the computer room Sydney, Christian and Jemal got back. Mildly out of breath but still cool. They’d seen the others. They had the photo. It was 12.45. They sat down and chilled. They’d walked there and got the bus back. Sydney had known the way from the offset. She led them through the unknown to the cosmic centre of Battersea Park, where, as it later transpired they’d borrowed a guide dog as their mascot. I know right! Taking guide dogs from the optically impaired seems questionable…but as Lord Sucrose said herself it shows how trustworthy they must have seemed to the lady they borrowed it from for her to consent to them using it as the mascot.

12.50. Arnold & Mohammed back in the room. ‘The printer’s aren’t working’.

‘You better go someone else’

They leave the building again.

Zack, who had arrived in the mean time: ‘I’ll tell them they’ve got 10 minutes’

1.00. We’re back.

After a second meeting with Lord Sugar and his team everyone was feeling pretty psyched. I was mainly buoyed by the photo of Christian 20 years in the future walking his dog in Battersea Park, although equally as excellent was the photo of Arnold with a random jogger kitted out, who they’d recruited as the symbol for Get Fit Fast.

photo 1 photo 2

The aim had proved quite successfully. You could tell the teams were brought closer together by their real-life challenge. Mohammed had even bargained down Snappy Snaps (a whole 1pence discount!) in order to try and out pip the other team on the budgeting front. Real promise. Reaal promise.

Lunch came next. mmmm.

After Lunch we were joined by Business Launch Pad, an amazing charity supported by Wandsworth council and actually funded predominantly by renting out spaces for new businesses. During their workshop they really made everyone, including the producers (me, Deanna, Flora) and Roisin & Tref, think hard about the pros and cons of employment vs self-employment and the different skills, challenges and directions of new businesses. It certainly suped up everyone’s ability to reflect and criticise their projects thus far and help bring into focus the documents we are working on over the next couple of weeks which are being used to focus in on these areas. And they are: The Project Initiation Document, The Budget, The Agenda & The Visual Presentation. All things to be cracking on with. No rest for the excellentium!

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