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.


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to those who need it desperately.

Networking with creative people is the best. How else would I have been able to connect with folks like those I met during the Southern Fried Designathon, self titled by the famous @JessicaRMurray? Three organizations: The Collaboratory; Geek for Good; and The Social Media Club joined forces and asked their members to spend 24 hours utilizing their talents for a worthy nonprofit, Youthturns, an organization that serves the families of prisoners to help mentor and educate youth so that they don’t take the same path to prison as their parents.

Having some success with these kinds of events (CreateAthon), I was asked to be the Creative Director for the shindig and I gladly accepted – staying up all night with a bunch of creative people doing branding…hell yeah!

After some pre-planning meetings the CoLab of Nashville graciously donated their space and off we went.


At 11am on a Saturday, we began with a compelling story by Andy Dixon, the founder of Youthturns. His journey and dedication to helping America’s youth break the cycle of generational incarceration is really why we organized this whole event. This allowed everyone who just showed up with their sleeping bags to get caught up with whom they were about to feverishly work so hard and understand their mission.

With teams of writers, marketers, videographers, photographers, designers, web developers and PR folks – over 30 people in all, we were a force to be reckoned with. Led by three coordinators: leaders of the Collaboratory; Geek for Good; The Social Media Club and myself, we marched through the night with a plan. Helped by team leads and plenty of donated caffeine, we accomplished executing a tremendous branding campaign that was delivered to the founders of Youthturns by 11am the following morning. Including a new logo, brochure, letterhead and business cards, marketing strategy, 5-minute Ignite presentation, video package, a handbook for prison families, social media connections and a new Website.


We even had a visit from the Nashville Fire Dept. and Police after a fire Alarm went off at 5am! It definitely woke us up and got us fired up to complete the event. –Pun intended.


Taking advantage of social media, we made sure we used all our existing twitter accounts and streamed the entire event live via ustream so that others could follow us. Not to mention that our promo video received over 72,000 views within the first 20 minutes on our website – all because of our dedication to using social connections online. You can visit our facebook page or our twitter account and or hash-tag – #designathon to catch all the antics that transpired through the night.





We were able to pull some media exposure from 3 different local news networks, These links will show the news video captured at the event. WTVF, WKRN, WSMV.

The cool thing is that we could do it again. With lessons learned, evolving leadership and creative recruiting, the power behind planned, focused crowdsourcing done within a short time frame can be very effective. After doing this kind of event three times now, choosing one non-profit is definitely the way to go. I’ve worked on 16 brands in one night before – you can’t give brands everything they need in that situation.

This experience was amazing. Helping people who can’t afford marketing and desperately need it to get funding to start their worthy cause makes you realize that maybe your talents are meant for something other than accolades. Creativity is meant to be shared – sometimes in a big way.