20 Slides, 20 Seconds = Great Fun, Great Pitch

29 08 2007

If I said “Pecha Kucha”… you would say…? …… Gesundheit?

If you lived in Tokyo or maybe Europe and were a designer or web techie, chances are you and your friends know all about Pecha Kucha (Japanese for “chatter”)

What is it? Think rapid fire presentations meets “open mic” poetry readings.

PK is an event that started in Tokyo and has expanded worldwide.

It is all about people giving “lightning talks” via short presentations designed to be a fun, interesting and compact way for many ideas to be communicated in a short space of time. You have 20 slides and you must cycle through each in 20 seconds. So do the math ….. 400 seconds or 6 minutes 40 seconds.

The 20:20 format encourages highly focused, fast-moving presentations, and helps to keep audience attention riveted on each presentation, to keep things a bit unpredictable and surprising.

How it works

20:20 presentations work best when they have a creative and entertaining angle, rather than being strictly technical (or, heaven forbid, product pitches) – when they are kept casual, engaging, and fun while still getting a point across in a memorable way.

So put in some interesting images where appropriate and think about the transitions between each slides – dropping in some little surprises here and there.

I ran across this first at reboot 9.0 conference held in Denmark, but quickly learned PK has a global following all its own.

Here is a an example of a set of slides using Pecha Kucha approach.

Here is a link to a set of templates for ppt and keynote that has a 20 second delay built into them.

This might be fun to try at the next ASAE and the Center Annual…. Any takers?


ASAE Annual 2007 – Innovation through Sustainability, Inclusiveness, Customer Need

17 08 2007


Understanding the Strategic Social Responsibility Opportunity

Susan Sarfati is right when she says that Social Responsibility is potentially a major opportunity for associations as part of their long term strategy.

Unfortunately, people walked away from Chicago with a lack of clarity on the following important questions that could help people understand its potential:

  • What is the difference between the existing SR programs in which my association has invested and this thing called “strategic social responsibility” promoted by ASAE and the Center?
  • What is the business case for “strategic social responsibility?”
  • Who are the innovators leading the way in different industries or professions?
  • How does this impact our existing business model, strategies?
  • What are the resource costs?
  • Who can help me?
  • How can I measure results?

Monday afternoon, Robin Lokerman from MCI Group presented during the learning lab on strategic SR and how it will impact their business. You can download his slides here. It is worth your time, because it illustrates the difference in opportunity and effort required versus program-based social responsibility we have come to know. Lokerman’s fellow panelists from SDA and ADA represent the program variety – very worthy but not strategic in their impact across an organization.

In essence, what ASAE and the Center call “strategic social responsibility” is referred to in the mainstream business press and among business innovators as “sustainable business development.” Those who see the opportunity are rethinking their business models, core strategies, and the infrastructure needed to deliver and measure results so that they can deliver not only financial gain but also social and environmental gain.

In their view, traditional business “externalities” like regulatory costs in which many businesses must comply are examples of inefficiencies or waste that can be designed out of their businesses. In other words, it is a chance to redesign business to become even more profitable while making a positive measurable economic, social and environmental impact to Society.

ASAE and the Center ought to concentrate on highlighting the current market innovators like Herman Miller, Nike, Shaw Carpet, Interface Carpet and others who are pursuing this innovative path. We are talking huge opportunity for growth.

Here is the evidence:



If Monday’s general session didn’t explain it well enough for you. Listen to this Fortune 500 CEO of a $1.5 billion US company explain their business case.

Check out Interface Carpets’ sustainability website to learn more about their progress toward business sustainability.

Ungovernance – Become More Open, Inclusive & Participatory

Jeff De Cagna’s session was a breath of fresh air. We need more sessions like this willing to ask the tough questions that are likely to deconstruct old tried and true models that no longer work in favor of those which can foster innovation. His session was based on this month’s Association Now article.

It was great to start by having each table discuss what doesn’t work with the present governance models association use. Here is what I collected from the room when we debriefed:

  • Can’t change, always done it that way culture
  • Pushing personal agendas over real world data
  • Slow process, unresponsive, inability to execute
  • Board view not representative of membership POV
  • Desire to control
  • Lack of diversity of ideas
  • Myopic POV
  • Poor coordination
  • Misalignment to mission and strategy
  • Trust paradox (of the rank and file)
  • Poor leadership skills (e.g. strategic thinking)

De Cagna is right when he argues that we should be heading toward an ecology of stewardship that promotes openness.

Certainly the Decision to Join study suggests that the old “walled garden” strategy developed by volunteer leaders and staff in those ivory towers for the good of those outside the walls can not continue unless you wish further membership erosion.

Yesterday, I suggested that the D2J data suggests a fourth principle to add to the three proposed by De Cagna: associations exist to create value not to be governed, innovation is about creating new value, association stewards must focus on the business model.

The fourth might read like this:

The longer your association waits to implement governance and product development changes that are more “open and inclusive” to the rank and file member, the more likely you can expect to generate lower retention rates or product sales.

A last observation from our table discussion was that the strength of an association’s volunteer leadership development program plays a significant role (good or bad) in one’s ability to execute.

If you want to measure yours against a great model, consider the Project Management Institutes’s Leadership Program. They have mapped competencies including leadership and interpersonal development skills and incorporated them into their certification programs.

De Cagna views a more open governance model as having the following characteristics: simplicity of access and engagement, distributed responsibility to innovate (e.g. strategy, investment according to their ability and interest), and diversity of perspective and contributions.

For further thoughts on open innovation, business models, and product strategies:

Market Trends Are Less Important Than Customer Need

Hummer and Mini – Robyn Waters

Robyn Waters’ presentation was useful to help remind us that chasing trends especially now in an era of contradictory choices (Hummers versus MiniCooper owners) can be dangerous to your fiscal health.

Customers cant be fit into boxes anymore and labeled X or Y. More and more they pick products or services across customer segments. So Waters suggests that we focus on “what’s important to the customer and less on what’s next.”

Consider her old employer Target. It is upscale/retail (expect more but pay less). Provide high value but at less of a premium than Nordstrom.

This made me realize that sessions at ASAE ought to teach organizational strategy and how it should be aligned to product development. For instance, are you in the business of providing value to members as the low cost provider, the leading edge innovator or the one who knows you best and provides precisely what the customer wants?

Depending on how you answer, your organization strategy to align operations, product development and customer management would be different.

Waters also believes that in an era of overwhelming choices (an average dept store has over 30,000 skus), you need to focus on customizing products to customer need.

This argues for more open product development processes as described earlier. You cant do everything by traditional market research. You need to engage customers as part of the process of developing what you plan to sell them in real time.

Finally, if not to echo the important or growing importance of social responsibility, Waters believes the data shows that customers will make final product decisions by how socially responsible your business is. Ethical choice is driving consumer choice.

For further thoughts on customer-centric strategy:

ASAE Annual 2007 – Hiding in Plain Sight: Open Innovation + Product Development

16 08 2007

The recently concluded ASAE and the Center Annual Meeting in Chicago was a good meeting on many levels. Content value was good. Production value was excellent. Service value was strong generally. And Chicago demonstrates once again that they wrote the book on how to host a major convention (although my memory of Toronto 88 still ranks as tops).

The backdrop to this meeting features a world that is highly accelerated, fragmented, and contradictory requiring organizations to have systems, practices and people that are adaptive, customer-centric, collaborative, and most importantly, open as a culture to promote innovation.

My interests tend toward organizational and product strategy and new business models. So I went looking for sessions that would offer some new opinions and insight.

The good news is there seems to be movement toward redefining how the association sector should design, develop, disseminate, measure and report the value they offer their stakeholders. There were sessions building on the 7 Measures study and the latest Decision to Join results. A sampling (still too small in my view) of corporate best practices in social networking, trends analysis, and innovation management offered a taste of what could really help associations in their efforts to stem membership decline and grow.

For those of you who didn’t attend, here are some of the more compelling observations I heard from sessions I attended along with some further perspective on these topics.

Customer Experience Management Creates Ownership & Word of Mouth

Jackie Hubba “Creating Member Evangelists”

I recommend her two books on social marketing tactics as an initial exploration into how marketing and member relations management is changing. Her session covered some sections of her first book and she delivered them in an entertaining and engaging manner.

Her core take away was the need to develop membership engagement strategy with a primary goal of increasing the feeling of “ownership” a member can have in “their” organization. The more you design the member experience to achieve this aspiration the more likely you are to increase retention and create evangelists to inspire others to become members in your association.

So the old world of simply measuring retention and satisfaction doesn’t go far enough if you seek to expand word of mouth and brand strength.

How do you get there?

As we have discussed in previous posts, associations need to design and deliver “remarkable experiences” from the products and services they create. Without this, you can forget evangelizing. True believers who passionately consume a product or service can be converted into evangelists and ownership of a brand. Developing strategies to manage your evangelists can be helpful in helping you defend or support your efforts moving forward.

A great example she shared was the Barrack Obama private label YouTube channel that provides tools for evangelists to support the campaign to make it their own.

For more ideas on this topic, please consider:

Cancer Detection, A Missed Opportunity and the Decision to Join Study

I was particularly interested in sessions on the new “Decision to Join” study that surveyed 17000 people who were “current members, previous members, or who “never joined” from a group of eighteen associations. Two issues from this study that were assessed were value propositions and participation as a accelerator to membership growth and retention.

In my own experience in membership value proposition construction, the debate is often adversely skewed toward issues of “price value” versus “results value.” In other words, too often people tend to limit debate on value proposition as defined by what the
experience costs and less on what results people received from the experience

Sadly, the D2J study may have missed a golden opportunity to measure “results value” as a construct of crafting a value proposition. A singular focus on price value can create a dangerous over reliance to member dues or product sales price discount spirals that can depress revenues. This approach does nothing to help you learn how members or consumers feel about how you are able to deliver results from your product or service experiences.

Here is an example of what I mean.

D2J value proposition data seems to show that “benefits for the good of the order” (product or service offerings) are slightly more important than “personal benefits” (discount programs). But what about the underlying purpose for joining in the first place?

When you join or buy from an organization are you more concerned about discounts and the variety of products someone is selling or are you looking for solutions in the form of a product or service experience that fits your needs? What kind of needs do you have to be satisfied? If you can map your needs to a product or service then you make the calculation to join or buy based on how important it is to you, the product or service promise to deliver, the trustworthiness of the brand provider, and then how much it costs.

The D2J study seems to have missed this decision tree and to evaluate it to isolate “results value.”

I keep thinking back to the last song of Tuesday’s general session “It’s all about you”…. But we still don’t know what those 17000 people wanted from their membership experience.

Some good news!

We may have isolated the cancer that is hurting growth in associations today. A great observation stems from two data points in the study.

  • Greater affiliation and participation led to higher retention and joining. The more involved the more they promote you.
  • Volunteer leaders rank member benefits differently than rank and file members. For instance, advocacy, leadership and networking opportunities were more valued by members with higher levels of involvement. In other words, the rank and file members have more immediate and tangible needs (e.g a solution to a problem) to be satisfied than more nebulous benefits that appeal to volunteer leaders.

If you attended Jeff De Cagna’s Ungovernance session on Tuesday, these data points suggest a fourth principle to add to Jeff’s three to redesign the association governance model. The longer your association waits to implement governance and product development changes that are more “open and inclusive” to the rank and file member, the more likely you can expect to generate lower retention rates or product sales.

Closed ended models of governance and product development in an era of open innovation and product co-creation is THE CANCER in association management today.

A final comment on D2J

There may be a correlation between the quality of competency-based volunteer leadership development programs and the ability to think strategically, maintain focus on mission, make data-driven decisions, and execute efficiently. Maybe a future ASAE and Center analysis can isolate this to validate how rampant this is. Our discussion table during Jeff’s session suggests this is so.

For more ideas on this topic, please consider:

Get Back in the Box Douglas Rushkoff

If Woody Allen were a professor teaching at NYU, then think of Douglas Rushkoff. Normally I like irreverent looks at the status quo, but Rushkoff used too broad a brush to paint the corporate world as the last place to look for innovation.

I preface the following by admitting that I left after 40 minutes but his ranting and slow build up was too much for me.

Let me share what urged me to leave.

  • Mass Production, Mass Communications and Mass Marketing are last century’s innovations – While I agree that this has been the driver for many years and may be for some companies still, if Rushkoff is suppose to be identifying opportunities for innovation he is deluding his audience that market innovators are not already focused on the long tail, co-creation of products and services with customers, open innovation strategies and business models. The biggest problems of associations is their lack of innovation history and their inability to leverage their member relations assets to create vibrant communities.
  • Associations should leverage their connection and access to expertise and
    build ecology/economy specific to that community-
    Rushkoff seems to think
    companies can’t do that. Well consider Nike, Eli Llly, Lego (I could go on). If this is a key opportunity and latent strength associations have, then what keeps them from having leveraged it? Why aren’t there more AHIMA’s who have 40000+ members online in over 150+ online communities? The reason? Most associations are closed models while online community promote open collaboration, innovation and trust. In my view a good question to ask yourself is why don’t we trust our members to collaborate, design products with us, and create community?
  • Businesses are becoming brand shells which manage the finance and marketing of their outsourced supply chains – There is truth in this. But the focus should be on market innovators not market laggards. For every Sara Lee there is a Nike.

Of course the kicker for me was unlearning what I thought the Renaissance delivered to mankind.

Rushkoff posits that it was history’s first evidence of the use of outsourcing and the use of proprietary money supply to reduce competition. Hmmmm and I thought this period was more about individual achievement and innovation in art and science.

For more ideas on this topic, please consider:

Part Two on ASAE 2007 to come tomorrow.