Growth comes from sharing

November 11, 2010

Twice in one year I’ve camped out at Cadillac Ranch in downtown Nashville for two session presentations at PodCamp and BarCamp. These conferences are held in cities all over the nation and are coordinated and presented by locals covering trends in marketing and technology. Pod Camp was held back in July and more recently, BarCamp in October. You may remember an earlier post on crowdsourcing and how I was asked to be the Creative Director for 30 talented folks helping out a non-profit called YouthTurns. Well, Ian Rhett, from Civic Actions, presented the case study for the event at this year’s BarCamp and asked if I would join him in discussing our success.

It was a good turnout and as expected there were some questions as to how to successfully execute a crowdsourcing event, especially one lasting only 30 hours. Guests included a few of the 30 people who helped execute the function and in typical Ian Rhett fashion, he involved them in the conversation.

The best news came after the 30 minute session was over. Andy Dixon, the founder of YouthTurns, was approached by a representative for TED and asked if he would be interested in speaking at one of their conferences. I think that just put the icing on our case study.

You can read more about the crowdsourcing event in the Creative Director’s section of this website. It gives a complete breakdown of the hours and what the deliverables were – pretty powerful.

Oh, I have to note the brands that sponsored the BarCamp event, at least one of them anyway. Sprint did a good job engaging the attendees with a location van outside the event with product demos and giveaways. Here’s one such giveaway that I thought was pretty cool. A usb wristband – 1G even.


Feelin’ Campy

March 6, 2010

PodCamp Nashville – Cadillac Ranch, Music City

Today I presented at PodCamp Nashville, a local event inspired by the user generated national conference, BarCamp and is put on by the local community itself. It’s also free – in an “un-conference” style format. As always, I enjoyed running into friends in the biz and networking with others. The best parts of the event were the people and the content they presented. Here’s why:

PodCamp invites people within the community to present at the event, with content that is relevant to the needs of that market.

There is a certain trust between the presenter and the attendee as every member of the event is from that city and in general, from the same industry.

The event planners and volunteers who execute the event are also from that same community.

Myself and Brian VanderMey, founder of  The Collaboratory, a relatively new organization I am currently involved with, presented a session based on the challenges of collaboration and how to leverage social media.

The Collaboratory is a group of independent marketers, creatives and ad folk working together benefiting non-profits. Each of the members are involved in other activities – looking for their next creative opportunity or employment. The benefit and purpose to the member of this organization is to stay sharp and achieve personal and professional growth. After the group’s population grew to over 35 people, a new challenge arose – how to collaborate with each other remotely.

None of The Collaboratory’s members arrive at the same office each day to develop the projects they work on for these non-profits. Instead, they operate remotely only meeting physically when necessary or when client meetings dictate. Very quickly we realized that sharing information and attempts at collaborating became an issue: e-mail threads were long and confusing; conversations in groups were cumbersome and didn’t foster the real-time interaction needed for true collaboration; organization of projects, assigned talent and client content wasn’t efficient and cracks in the process were starting to show up.

A solution to this challenge was an innovative way to collaborate online – not by expensive organizational applications as these don’t allow for real-time conversation that fosters collaboration – instead by utilizing social apps currently available for free, a perk for this organization working with non-profits.

The following is a model we developed that aggregates a combination of popular social tools.  These harness the ability to communicate at a high level and promote the true fundamentals of collaboration to ensure great results.

This “map” of our collaborative process showcases each social app with a specific task. If you’ve used these tools before, it’s pretty self explanitory – with the exception of Twitter and its function.

Twitter is great for cultivating content and tapping into information for research. It is also a great tool for capturing content such as photos, drafts and videos that can be uploaded to social apps that store information that allow for sharing. Evernote is a good example of a content storing and sharing application. Finally, twitter can be easily used by mobile devices and it’s excellent for remote members who are mostly mobile.

Our exploration of a social app that helps in collaborative communication is Google Wave, a new product by Google that is still in beta testing. Wave allows for real-time conversations with multiple people and simultaneous interaction.

The beauty of this tool is its flexibility. Here’s a catchy video using Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp fiction as a theme and demonstrates the program’s agility.

It was fun to present our journey to solving online collaboration at PodCamp. It was a great event and I can’t wait until PCN11 next year. Check out some of the tweets from attendees that signed up for our session.