31 October 2023

The potential of meaningful interactions through technology: the project work 'Circles'

It’s over. I am officially a POLIMI Graduate School of Management alumnus. On Friday 22nd September 2023 I attended the Graduation Day ceremony for the MBA and EMBA classes of 2021 and 2022.

Before that exciting day, my International Part-Time MBA journey had culminated with a final task: the presentation of our project work. Indeed, on the 6th of July, together with my teammates Jacopo Crea and Emiliano Treggiari, I presented our final Project Work named Circles: Professional Networking Made Smart to a valuation committee, including our class director, Daniel Trabucchi.

How was the idea born? In the heart of our MBA journey, we realized an issue that propelled us to action: we were privileged to share a space (precisely, the Navigli and Bovisa Campuses) with incredibly smart people, but we didn't even know who they were.

This ignited the spark for an ambitious idea: to create a solution that takes advantage of technology to foster meaningful encounters and enhance personal connections in the professional world. Hence Circles was born.

We are determined to remove the barriers that keep people from discovering and connecting with the talent around them. We aim to create an environment where opportunities abound and ideas become reality. Circles is our answer to a fundamental question: "How can we maximize the potential of human relationships in professional life?".

But what will Circles be in practice? It will be an app that will offer a user-friendly platform where professionals can discover and connect with interesting people in their local area. Through our unique matching algorithm, we will ensure that users are connected with individuals who share similar interests, goals, and expertise, maximizing the potential for meaningful interactions.

One of the key components of Circles' value proposition will be its face-to-face meeting-scheduling feature. It will suggest convenient locations for both parties based on their proximity, ensuring that meetings are easily accessible and time efficient.

Once the idea was drafted, we developed a well-structured business plan as a final deliverable of our project work, with the supervision of our assigned tutor, Prof. Filomena Canterino.

The business plan was built based on a suggested structure that Prof. Antonio Ghezzi taught us during the Business Planning course. It took into consideration all the content and tools from the various courses taken throughout the MBA journey, from Strategy, Marketing, Corporate Finance to HR, Innovation Strategy and so on.

It really gave us the chance to recap most of the important concepts and apply them while developing an entrepreneurial project, which could eventually turn into a startup.

To turn Circles from an idea into reality, we decided to adopt the Lean Startup Approach, which is based on the concept of validated learning. This means that in order to define the initial business plan, we made certain assumptions upon which it is built. These assumptions might be right or wrong, and the only way to verify them is by building tests and an MVP. The goal of these tests will be to learn in order to validate or change our concept. In this way every change or stable feature will be based on our actual customers’ needs and feedback.

To evaluate these assumptions we defined a testing plan:

  • First of all a survey, on which we based this initial business plan
  • Then we recently made a video about our value proposition and we created a form on a website to receive feedback and collect the emails of early adopters who will test the app’s MVP later on
  • Then we plan to launch a beta test of the app in a selected list of business schools and co-working spaces, since we think they would be the perfect environments for assessing the mechanism of networking through Circles

Our journey toward eventual success started off on the right foot. During the Graduation Day ceremony at Teatro dal Verme, we were awarded as having produced the Best Project Work of our class. This made us really happy about all the work and effort we had put into the project!

31 October 2023

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