I was at Mindcamp09 a few days ago. It's an unusual event in many ways. It really is a camp, for one thing -- it's held at a YMCA camp location in the countryside. Even though the urban sprawl is alarmingly close, you can stand in the main dining hall and look west to a fabulous vista of rolling hills and see only trees and sunsets in the distance.
My Pecha Kucha on TRIZ
I did a Pecha Kucha session this year, which was very interesting. Talk about a high-energy way to spend time after dinner at a conference! Fast-paced sessions 6:40 minutes in length, on a wide variety of topics.
I've been working on ways to modify the structured approach of TRIZ to the kinds of projects I usually work on -- things related to people, brands, customer experiences, employees, organization design, and so on. So this is what I presented. I posted my slides on Slideshare. [This presentation is downloadable, if you want to see the speaking notes. Please note the images are from iStockPhoto.]
Rethinking the value proposition: Consultant heal thyself
Mindcamp was a chance to clarify a few things I've been working on in the business -- kind of revisiting the value proposition. When you are at a conference devoted to creativity, you are naturally tapped into your inner voices in a lot of the sessions, so a lot of people find they gain new insights into their own problems or challenges.
The value proposition for any organization is never finished of course, and we all have to constantly work on our brands.
One of the trickiest things for an organization -- including my boutique firm -- is to decide how to handle things you are a) good at, and b) make money on but c) don't fit that well with the strategy or future direction. Because brand and value proposition are as much about what you leave out as they are about what you put in.
But you can't just drop things and leave people behind. We always need a transition strategy, no matter how large or small your business is. Example: I had once subcontracted some analysis to a freelancer, who called me mid-project to tell me he could only work on my stuff on the weekends because he had taken a full-time job. Clearly, no transition strategy.
One of my big Ah-ha's was the realization that I haven't done a very good job of informing my own customers (aka clients) what our value proposition is. Too funny right? It's a consultant heal thyself situation if I ever saw one. Like somehow our customers can figure this out without us telling them. D'oh.
Repersonalizing the blog
The other big realization was that I had let this blog become far too dry and depersonalized. It was starting to feel like corporate-speak to me, and was less fun to write as a result. I've given a lot of people advice about how to blog, and I always emphasize the importance of a personal voice. [Yup, we should all take our own advice.]
As blogging has become known as a business strategy, a lot of the fun has been sucked out of it. Many bloggers don't have a blogroll [no link love sharing]. Lots of blogs don't permit trackbacks, another way the conversation has been built.
My considered opinion is that it is not better for blogging, more interesting for readers, or even better for business to take those approaches.
The blogs I actually enjoy reading are the ones where there is real serious opinion (not what someone ate for lunch), but it feels like we are having a coffee talking, not like someone's brochure.
The human voice, the personal voice, is what the new information era is all about. It's Cluetrain Manifesto all over again. But it's easy to forget, even for someone [me] who should know better.
What do you think?
And this is a picture of Jim Ridge, who did a wonderful session on graphic facilitation that I thoroughly enjoyed.