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I was ‘surprised’ Francesca Kennedy was fired – but she should have owned up to her misspelling of ‘Arctic’ instead of brushing it under the rug

Written by Alana Spencer on Friday, 04 February 2022. Posted in Reviews

Alana Spencer, who was crowned the champion of The Apprentice 2016, spoke about why you should own up to your shortcomings in boardroom – Lord Sugar doesn’t like excuses

 I was ‘surprised’ Francesca Kennedy was fired – but she should have owned up to her misspelling of ‘Arctic’ instead of brushing it under the rug

Alana Spencer, who was crowned the champion of The Apprentice 2016, spoke about why you should own up to your shortcomings in boardroom – Lord Sugar doesn’t like excuses

This week’s task was to design a brand-new video game and pitch it to experts. This was a good task because we got to see how creative the contestants were and also test their pitching ability and spatial awareness. The contestants had to take an idea and turn it into something that could make money. 

The two project managers this week were Brittany and Akeem who I think has been quite quiet, we’ve not seen too much of him so far. Everything we have seen from him has been quite positive so he's not had any bad moments. It was exciting to see him step up to the plate. We’ve also seen very little of Brittany and she was very much in the background, so it was good to see her step up this week and is definitely about time. This could have been the turning point where we start to see her shine. 

The teams began by coming up with the sort of general theme of their game. One of the team’s came up with the theme of global warming and saving the planet, a very environmental sort of route quite self-righteous. So, we had quite an unusual left-field idea. Akeem's team came up with a prison escape themed game, based on a wrongly convicted FBI officer Amelia Stone. Based on my very limited knowledge of video games, ‘apocalyptic’ always does quite well.

I noticed Akeem was very easily swayed by his teammates. In business, you have to be able to take other people’s ideas on board but you also have to be able to stand strong when you know when your idea is good. I think it was interesting this week to see how often Akeem was swayed into other people's ideas. He also had many good ideas and seems to be very likeable, if he can sort of be a little bit more self-assured and stick to ground a bit more he could potentially move quite far and in the process. It’s also nice to see more of Stephanie in this episode, she's been someone again that's been slightly in the background and doesn’t seem to do much or is not being edited into the program. But this could also mean she was operating well in the competition and not making major mess-ups.  

She also made a really good point while brainstorming about making sure that they knew their target audience, and making sure they didn’t go against that. In business. If you set up a target audience you need to create something that that audience wants. However, if you start looking at creating a very different product that's away from what that audience wants then you've got a whole new target audience which means you have to adapt everything, including your marketing to your branding. So once you decide on that target audience, it is really important that you stick to it. 

Another person that's seemed to be coming out of her shell was Harpreet. She won last week’s task as project manager and is coming up with some great ideas. We did see her flounder in her pitch though. Public speaking is not for everyone and in that really high-pressured environment, you want to win so badly that sometimes you can't articulate your words properly. There was a well-known moment where Mark Wright who also won The Apprentice a few years back absolutely fluffed a pitch and he still went on to win. Even though in that situation she must have felt embarrassed and a bit awkward it doesn't mean that she's not still a strong contender. Her ideas and the way she conducts herself are pretty promising and she’s one to watch. 

Francesca who was the sub-team leader realised they spelt ‘Arctic’ wrong and called their game ‘Artic Saviour’ as in the lorry, which is a huge mistake. In my opinion, everyone in the team is just as responsible for that. I feel like she got fired for something that they all could have noticed and rectified. One thing that I did think was this quite worrying was when they got the spelling wrong, she mentioned that what they could do is try and spin it into a positive and said that lots of people think that 'Arctic’ should be spelt like that. I'm dyslexic and I spell things wrong all the time, but you just have to own it. If she had just admitted it was a total mess up, she would have done alright. But she tried to flatten her mistake and shake away the responsibility and make it into this positive spin. The best thing you can do when you make mistakes is to just say it was a prototype that needs to be rectified and it will be done properly for the real version. 

The ‘Diverse’ team lost and the other team won with calling their game ‘time’. Initially, I thought the name was quite boring, but then it had a double meaning of the time element of trying to complete the game within a time frame – and that's when an idea becomes quite clever. I'm not sure whether they did that after they came up with the name or before but I think that was a very clever move. 

Their whole idea was just much more ready to go and be developed. Using Catherine as the lead video game character was sensible because she could put her personality and herself into it, like a real-life simulation. Whereas the other team created the character 'Sam the Scientist’ from their computer, so it didn't have that real personality. In general, Diverse’s idea was far more ready to develop. 

Brittany, Francesca and Sophie were sent to the board room. It must have been nice for Akshay to have a break from going into the boardroom. The mistake of misspelling their video game was unforgivable but they were always responsible for that. We’ve not seen much of Sophie. All three of them could have been fired for their performance. I think Francesca ultimately had the best track record out of the three of them and probably should have been given another chance based on the fact that she has performed really well previously. I think the other two didn't really bring much to the table. Brittany was the project manager; it was her idea to go with this whole sustainable ‘saving the planet’ route and I think that was what was more to blame than the spelling mistake with the name. People know escape reality when they're playing video games, not face reality. I think that was a big error. 

I was surprised by who left. I think the spelling of the brand was a big mistake and you can't have a brand name that's spelt wrong, it just doesn't work. I'm looking forward to next week when the contestants come to Wales (which is where I’m from)!

About the Author

Alana Spencer

Alana Spencer

Since securing a business partnership with Alan Sugar in The Apprentice 2016, Alana Spencer's cake company Ridiculously Rich has been doing ridiculously well. As a winner of the series, she's writing a weekly round-up detailing the performance of The Apprentice candidates exclusively for Elite Business.

Follow Alana Spencer on Twitter @alana_spencer_, Instagram @ridicrichbyalana and her Facebook page Ridiculously Rich by Alana.

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