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NOTE: Many of the questions posed in the Widgets Inc. coursebook are intentionally open-ended. This is done in order to elicit authentic discussion. Therefore bear in mind that many of the answers below are suggestive; that is, they are meant to guide the teacher as they facilitate group and whole-class discussion.


Stage 1

p. 3 (B) Example questions for Michael: "What kind of music does your band play?" "How long have you played the drums?" "Do you play any other instruments?" etc. Example questions for Rachel: "How long did it take to get a black belt?" "Do you still practice regularly?" "Is judo good for self-defense?" etc.

p. 5 (A) 1. Your future, today. 2. Widgets was started 5 years ago by three university students. 3. Widgets has offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and London (and more). 4. Meet Miki May, the CEO of Widgets. A magazine called her a true marketing genius of our time. 5. Titus Pinsch. This superstar CFO has doubled Widgets' profits. 6. Jessica Sparks. CTO and head of R&D (Research & Development).

p.5 (D) Possible answers: What kind of company is Widgets? It's a major international company with offices in many cities. It's exciting. It makes products to change your life. It's a startup. What are some Widgets products? Several flash quickly on the screen. Does Widgets seem like a good place to work? Hopefully yes! Does Widgets reminds you of any other companies you know? We were thinking of tech-oriented startup companies that became big in the 90's and 00's such as Google, Apple, Facebook, etc. which were often conceived while its founders were still in university.

p. 6-7 (A) Answers will certainly vary, although a few are more ridiculous than others. Students often give high marks to the X-Ray Fridge and the Doggy BFF.

p. 8 (A) Possible answers: 1. About 3 km. How about you? Do you run? 2. I had dinner with my grandmother. 3. Movies are fun, but you know what's even more fun? Going to a music concert. Have you gone to a concert recently?

p. 8 (B) Examples: 1. (follow-up question) "Oh cool! Where did you go?", "I heard it's hard to navigate.", "Are you going to have a big family dinner?" 2. (detailed answer) "It was, but you know, luckily I had some friends there [...] I had some avocado toast, ‘cause that’s really big there right now.", "no, not really. This time it’s just gonna be me, and a couple of friends of my mom. 3. (change of topic "And how about you? Are you gonna go anywhere for the long weekend?"

p. 9 (A) Possible answers will vary, but should include some of this information: Miki first had the idea for the Shock Watch because she was falling asleep in her university classes and her grades were going down. Jessica, Miki's classmate, made the first prototype, then 20 more watches in the first year. They approached Titus, who was in the "young capitalists' society". He was doubtful at first, but eventually saw the potential and made a business plan (market research, finding investors, registering the company — "all of the real work", according to him.)

p. 9 (B) Answers will vary, and of course there isn't enough information in the video to be precise. Generally speaking, we were thinking along these lines about the characters:

Dream team qualities.png

p. 10 (B) Ask students to share a way of contact which they prefer. It could be email, a social media address, a phone number, etc. Under "Notes" they can write at which times they are available, or any other important instructions; for example: "Email me anytime, but please don't call me on Saturdays."

p. 11 (Paperwork!) This is filled out by the student, except the "Comments" section at the bottom. That should be a comment from the teacher. NOTE: This is not a graded task; it is meant simply to get students thinking about the aims of the course and their effort so far. General comments such as "You're doing a great job, but please try to use more English during group discussions" are appropriate here.


Stage 2

p. 12 (A - C) Answers will vary, but can revolve around the personal qualities that came up on p. 9. Avoid letting students simply select a project manager randomly. If they vote, it will generally be the student who is most confident, best at English, etc. who is selected. This is good, because it will set a high bar for the next project managers.

p. 13 (A) 1. a) road reflector. 2. b) hook-and-loop fastener. 3. c) sticky notes.

p. 13 (B) 1. Cat's Eye. 2. Velcro. 3. Post-It Notes.

p. 14 (C) 2 (Velcro), 3 (Post-It Notes), and 1 (Cat's Eye).

p. 14 (D) Items shown are: potato peeler, wheelchair, seat belt, and paper clips. Other possible items under each category could be: (kitchen items) non-stick pans, plastic wrap, dishwasher machines; (medical equipment) portable heart defibrillators, capsule medicines, face masks; (car accessories) windshield wipers, turn signals, cup holders; (other) jogging lights, GPS, drones, air conditioning, etc.

p. 15 (B) Jessica's message main points: R&D is where new products are created; without successful ideas the company wouldn't exist; everyone is creative, so everyone can do well in this stage; the main project has 3 parts: 1) brainstorm ideas, 2) write a product proposal, 3) write an elevator pitch.

p. 16 (B) Answers will vary, but could include that the Sticky Phone may be useful and original, but perhaps not very safe, as the phone could fall and break. It also may not possible to produce, as it's not clear how it works — if it is sticky, wouldn't it get dirty when you put it in your pocket, and become less sticky over time?

p. 17 (A) Answers will vary, but bear in mind that this task is crucial to the overall success of the course. Therefore, encourage students to think about the underlying reasons for their problems. For example, "I fall asleep a lot in class" is a fine problem, but "I fall asleep in class because I play video games all night" is better, as it allows the student to get to the real root of their problem later. In this case, perhaps a device which can shut off their video game after a certain time.

p. 22 (B) Important points: short pitch of an idea; could be in an elevator, taxi, etc.; clear and exciting; less than a minute

p. 22 (D) How does she make it exciting? Answers will vary, but could include: She starts politely by saying "I'm really sorry to take up your time"; she engages Titus with phrases like "a new product idea that I think you will love"; she assures him it will be quick, and uses persuasive language: "It will just be a minute, I swear"; her pitch is concise and well-structured, and she keeps it to under a minute; she uses enthusiastic language and superlatives: "I really think it could be a best-seller for us. It could change the diet industry"; etc.

p. 25 (Paperwork!) This is filled out by the student, except the "Comments" section at the bottom, which is a comment from the teacher. NOTE: This is not a graded task; it is meant to get students thinking about the aims of the course and their effort so far. General comments such as, "You're doing a great job, but please try to use more English during group discussions" are appropriate here.


Stage 3

p. 26 (A - C) Answers will vary. By this stage, students should have an idea of what the role of project manager involves, but if they are stuck, remind them of the personal qualities listed on p. 9.

p. 27 (A) 1. Weakness ; 2. Threat; 3. Strength; 4.Opportunity.

p. 28 (B) Strengths: it's a funny idea; it's easy to understand; easy to sell or advertise. Weaknesses: probably not effective for dieting; will be cheaply made, so may break easily; too funny, not serious. Opportunities: these days people care about their health; "gag" gifts are popular at office parties. Threats: people seem to be getting tired of talking devices; many phone apps do the same thing; easy for other companies to copy.

p. 29 (A - C) Titus' message main points: he will help the interns through the next part, how to make smart and informed business decisions. He mentions that Jessica must have given her usual encouraging speech, but now it's time to get down to business. He stresses that Widgets is a business. Interns will soon get product ideas from another team. They must consider the ideas, and decide which one will go into production. Teams will prepare a business report and a poster presentation. (These steps are explained in the yellow box on p. 29, and over pages 30-35.) The video is also meant to convey that Titus is a cranky and somewhat difficult boss, so students may also comment on this point.

p. 30 (A - B) Answers will vary, depending on the product ideas that have been generated by the previous team.

p. 32 (A - C) Answers will vary, based on the SWOT analysis on p. 30 and further discussion.

p. 34 Draft of the team's memo. Refer students to the example on p. 33.

p. 35 (A) Notes may vary.

p. 35 (B) Answers to the example questions: 2 people are giving the presentation; the product is called the Backpack Umbrella; the audience members ask, "is it battery powered?"; "what happens if the battery runs out?"; and, "if I use it in the sun, can I charge the battery at the same time?"

p. 36 (A) Answers will vary. Students may comment that some posters have a lot of writing or not enough; that they have a lot of images or not enough; that some may be more exciting or boring than others; that the colors and styles are better or worse, etc.

p. 38 (...Go!) This is a peer evaluation page. During the poster presentation, students in the audience member role should fill out one card per poster presentation that they participate in. The teacher may want to print this page separately before class, to make it easier to collect at the end.

p. 39 (Paperwork!) This is filled out by the student, except the "Comments" section at the bottom, which is a comment from the teacher. NOTE: This is not a graded task; it is meant to get students thinking about the aims of the course and their effort so far. General comments such as, "You're doing a great job, but please try to use more English during group discussions" are appropriate here.


Stage 4

p. 40 (A - B) Answers will vary.

p. 41 (A) Answers will vary.

p. 42 (A - C) Key points of Titus' message: he is impressed by the work the interns did earlier; their next task will be to carry out market research on a new product; teams will get customer feedback and find out who likes or does not like the product; market research helps us know whether to make changes to the product, and who the target market will be; market research is important to help advertise the product later.

p. 43 (A - C) Answers will vary, depending on the product that has been selected by the previous team.

p. 44 (B) Answers will vary, but possible answers may include: Focus group pros: can get longer or more detailed answers; is good for judging honest reactions. Focus group cons: can be difficult to schedule; includes only a small sample of people; takes more time to do. Survey pros: can be done online on social media; can be done quickly; can ask exactly the same questions to every participant. Survey cons: if poorly written, answers can be meaningless; can be difficult to analyze; can't ask follow-up questions easily.

p. 45 (B) 1. They are all open questions designed to allow the participants the opportunity to freely express their opinions. 2. What do you think?; What do you think about the name?; Any other ideas?; What do you think about the price? 3. They are all about the same age; fairly young. A mix of males and females. At least one of them has children. 4. answers will vary, but could include: to change the product name; to market it as a body paint for Halloween; to highlight that the product is safe to use.

p. 46 - 47 Answers will vary.

p. 48 - 49 Answers will depend on the data that the students gather in the course of their focus group.

p. 51 This space is for a first draft of a market research report. Refer to p. 50 for an example.

p. 52 - 53 These pages are for preparation for the market research presentation.

p. 54 (Break a leg!) This is a peer evaluation page. During the presentation, students in the audience should fill out one card per group presentation. The teacher may want to print this page separately before class, to make it easier to collect at the end.

p. 55 (Paperwork!) This is filled out by the student, except the "Comments" section at the bottom, which is a comment from the teacher.


Stage 5

p. 57 (A) Answers will vary. The teacher may want to prepare by thinking of two or three recent ads or ad campaigns that were successful, unusual, or controversial in their area.

p. 58 (A - C) Miki's key points: she has been following the interns' work so far, and has heard many positive things, even from Titus; she mentions the tasks so far (coming up with new ideas, choosing a product, and carrying out market research); now it's her favorite part, to plan an advertising campaign; teams will think about the product, identify the target market, and decide on the best ways to reach them (magazines? social media? posters on buses? a video commercial? a music jingle? a celebrity endorsement? a viral marketing campaign?); there's no better advertising than word-of-mouth.

p. 59 - 61 Answers will vary, depending on the product that has been selected by the previous team, and their market research results.

p. 62 COMING SOON

p. 63 - 65 Answers will vary.

p. 66 - 69 Answers will vary. This space is left intentionally blank so that teams may use it in any way they like to write down ideas for their ad campaign.

p. 70 (The main event!) This is a peer evaluation page. During the presentation, students in the audience should fill out one card per group presentation. The teacher may want to print this page separately before class, to make it easier to collect at the end.

p. 71 (Paperwork!) This is filled out by the student, except the "Comments" section at the bottom, which is a comment from the teacher.


Stage 6

p. 72 (A) Answers:

  • It's about the recent successes of Widgets Inc., with profits up 230% from last quarter (i.e. previous 3-month period).
  • It means that the stock value of Widgets has increased 14.5 points. In other words, the company is now worth more.
  • She is the CEO. Some analysts have called her the new Steve Jobs (former "superstar" founder and CEO of Apple).
  • The new group of interns.
  • She recommends keeping the new talent (i.e. interns) on board (i.e. working for Widgets Inc.)
  • Other questions and answers will vary.

p. 73 (A) Wording may vary, but the main points are:

  • Miki: it's the end of the Widgets internship; interns have done a fantastic job and the co-founders are happy; she loved the ad campaigns; she thinks the products will sell all over the world; one last task: to apply for permanent full-time positions at Widgets; prepare and submit a resume; participate in an internal job interview.
  • Jessica: in the orientation stage, interns got to know each other quickly; they were so creative and hardworking in the R&D stage; there were some brilliant ideas.
  • Titus: these are the best interns Widgets has had; they made smart business decisions; they presented market research findings clearly and with style; a combination of enthusiasm and insight.

p. 73 (C)

  • We would like you to apply for permanent full-time positions here at Widgets.
  • First, you will prepare and submit a resume, including all of your achievements as a Widgets intern.
  • Then you will participate in an internal job interview.

p. 74 (A) Answers will vary. Note that the job postings use some specialized words that students may not know. It may be advisable to have a dictionary on hand for this task.

p. 75 (A - C) Answers will vary.

p. 76 (A) Answers will vary, but possible differences may include: not mentioning age; not mentioning gender; showing most recent experiences first; the use of bullet points; not writing into a pre-prepared table template; including a slightly more subjective "skills" section at the end; etc.

p. 80 (B) Answers will vary, and may be quite subjective.

p. 80 - 81 (C) 1. Yes, I grew up in the UK and China; After that, I spent some time studying in Japan as well; Finally, I've been an intern at Widgets Hong Kong since April. 2. Yes, that was the product called the Guilt Jar; It was very simple; My team also created an advertising campaign for the xCover backpack. 3. Let's see. I've learned a lot from my co-workers and my supervisors. I've definitely become more of a team player, and that's helped me to succeed. 4. TO BE ADDED.

p. 82 (A) Answers will vary, depending on each partner's resume.

p. 83 (Paperwork!) This is filled out by the student, except the "Comments" section at the bottom, which is a comment from the teacher.


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