All posts in insights

NetSquared Wellington Unconference | Giving Is Receiving

Participatory learning.

Originally, I intended to be a simple paid-up attendee of the NetSquared Wellington Unconference last week (Fri 10 February 2017).

Soon after registering the organiser reached out to invite me to say a few ‘inspirational’ words at the beginning. With the theme of “networking technology for social change” definitely lighting my fire it was an easy yes, however, leading three social media sessions and one on creating videos on your mobile phones sessions later, being a simple attendee was somewhat scuppered.

As with all good unconferences, the agenda is never set with the participants defining the events content. Switching mindsets early on and being open to offer as much as to take from these community focussed affairs certainly increased my enjoyment, plus the conversations provoked by the sessions definitely added to my knowledge / understanding.

Huge thanks to the organisers and sponsors of the event. Volunteering, attending and supporting such initiatives is so important in building informed communities of practice from which good things always are born.


“When I asked DK to share some insights about what he’d learned from running TEDXWellington at our community unconference, his answer was a very quick yes. His opening words really set everyone up for the day in terms of creating an atmosphere where people were willing to freely share. The well chosen stories gave people confidence to take a leap into the unknown. From there, many participants, probably two thirds, took the opportunity to join a impromptu session DK ran. It was a delight to have DK involved in our day, something I hope we are able to do again.”
Stephen Blyth, Organiser, NetSquared Wellington

Top Ten Speaking Tips | Revisited And Revised

For those who present and deliver talks often.

Seven years ago I wrote a My Top Ten Speaking Tips piece on my old company blog and thought with the impending Speaking With Purpose conference, it would provide a good time to revisit and revise.

Was very surprised how little my ideas and tactics have changed, spruced them up a little though and here they are:

    1. Finish the presentation the night before—it stays fresher in your brain than if you completed it a few weeks previous. Gives you time to add in new industry and sector developments plus it also offers the opportunity to add in references from earlier talks (if it’s more than a one day event). Most importantly though it doesn’t give you a chance to practice (GASP)…

    2. Don’t practice—a great talk is like a conversation (and no conversation goes the way you planned, no matter how many times you practice it in your head). Sure, run through it once or twice to check the timings plus transitions etc but this is more an exercise of knowing what you want to convey rather than rehearsing exactly what to say verbatim. Remember, you can practise your talk but you can never practise speaking in front of a room of strangers / your colleagues / your board etc.

    3. Don’t do lecterns—it forms a physical barrier between you and your audience. Less is definitely more in this instance and before you say, “where do I put my script?”…

    4. Never use a script—if you know your stuff you don’t need it written down. This method means: head down, losing intonation / connection with your audience / professionalism. We don’t talk the same way we write and it just doesn’t work. If you’re an organiser of any events / conferences, ban podiums and scripts. It will scare a lot away but I guarantee you’ll be left with fantastic speakers who simply know their stuff.

    5. Let your client dictate the topic not the content—I once had a very needy client who heavily dictated the content of a presentation to the point of even signing it off weeks before. It’s the ONLY time the organisers didn’t think I delivered (even though three quarters of the audience thought I was good/very good). Coincidence maybe, but experience tells me otherwise.

    6. Move—the best speakers are passionate and passion means movement. Move around the stage / floor. Move your arms, your face, your eyebrows. Communicate with your body not just your words / slides.

    7. Look at your audience—don’t pick a spot at the back of the room / hall and drift off. Sometimes this is hard if you’re speaking on a lit stage but you can still make people out. After a while you can have some fun with this: I like to pick out those yet to be convinced (you’ll spot them through body language—the ones with their arms crossed and sitting back in their seat—once you have them coming forward and sitting on the edge of their chairs and nodding their heads you know you’re onto a winner).

    8. Bullets kill people attention—people can read faster in their heads than you can read it out loud. Break each point up into a slide and use one word titles for each to direct your talk. They act as cues for the topics or a point I want to convey. The figurative underline comes from the images/video plus the story weaved around it.

    9. Fool your nerves—those damn butterflies can turn into courage-eating moths which can eat you from the inside out. Trick them. The emotional and physiological response to fear is exactly the same as when you’re excited. Tell yourself it’s not nerves but positive anticipation and after a while you will create an ingrained learned response.

    10. Enjoy it—if you don’t have fun speaking then don’t do it. There are other ways to promote yourself or spread your message.

Hope the above helps…

Culture Hive Digital Marketing Academy | Everything Is Beta

abraham-lincoln-axe-quote

Mentoring is never linear.

For the past three years I’ve been honoured to be mentoring ‘fellows’ from the cultural sector via the the Arts Marketing Association, Digital Marketing Academy.

Fellows are invited to devise, test, develop and share digital marketing experiments with the help of a leading digital specialist as their Mentor. The experiments are developed on real audiences in order to trial and adopt good practice and achieve new ambitions and perspectives in digital marketing.

Every year, I’ve been working with three fellows and although many experiments have seen fruition, like using printed flyers to promote digital offers, connecting schools with arts and cultural organisations online and using online data to drive digital efforts, the most important learning is that everything is beta.

Ideas don’t follow a neat, linear pathway to actualisation, there are just too many factors which influence things, like resources, time, other projects, literacies, organisational culture etc. Developing pathways to action is sometimes more about understanding deeply the causalities of the hurdles and / or clearing the route rather than walking them.

The two most common challenges facing the fellows during my time as mentor is that of capacity and expectations. The first relates to simple the amount of ‘other’ in the professional portfolio the mentee is juggling. Space for reflection let alone experimentation is rare so even being part of this initiative is a fantastic opening of potential. The latter is obviously an internal, softer set of attitudes which the organisation manifests. Again, another ongoing, sometimes abrasive hinderance to the intent of the projects, which is specific and is tackled by rephrasing or positioning the efforts in a digestible and values / outcomes based manner.

Without at least attempting to address these factors then experiments rarely gain deeper traction.

Put another way, the axe needs sharpening first.

Big thanks to my mentees this year: Rachel and Ryan from the digital team at Barbican Centre plus Helga who’s heading up the marketing team at Pavilion Dance South West.

Minimalism: A Documentary | Challenge Consumerism, Live Intentionally

Love people, use things—the opposite never works.

On Saturday, 23 October 2010, I posted the first blog entry to my Declutter100 project, an attempt to take one hundred hours to explore minimalism.

Nearly two months later, a comment from a chap named ‘Josh (one half of the minimalists)’ started a conversation which transitioned into a friendship (including the other one as well).

The Minimalists have forged a movement and rallying cry towards a simpler and fuller life through their writings, talks and wonderful storytelling.

Last night I watched their documentary (finally, sorry guys) and was reminded again about how living intentionally, without forced consumption and expectations of ownership, increases the richness of the moment plus amplifies the essential experiences of human relationships:

How might your life be better with less? MINIMALISM: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less.

Watch the film although be prepared to have it question your habits, ideas of success and consumerist lifestyle.

Well done Ryan and Josh for this great achievement and thanks for doing what you do.

Speaking About Speaking | KiwiBank Internal Knowledge Cafe

HUGE thanks to Michelle and KiwiBank for filming and allowing me to share this presentation on ‘speaking with purpose.’

Twenty minutes, full of advice, sometimes contradictory and hopefully some useful.

It’s a concentration of learning from a decade of public speaking experience, what we do with our five/six week coaching course for TEDxWellington (which is where the presentation starts, after I showed the latest review video from the 2016 event) and some stuff borrowed (like an artist) from others.

What did I miss out? What do you agree / disagree with? What were the takeaways for you?

We were very privileged to have DK present to Kiwibank as part of our Knowledge Cafe series. His presentation highlighted tips and tricks for improving as a public speaker, and I was very impressed with both the presentation and his advice.

As someone that fears presenting, his tips provided easy yet elegant advice for how to overcome that fear.

I would unhesitatingly recommend DK for anyone that is looking for either a presenter, or a coach. His techniques are excellent and he is inspiring to work with.
Michelle Farrell, Knowledge Manager at KiwiBank


In the last six months I’ve been lucky enough to secure some paid coaching work around public speaking. The first was a three half day sessions for a major production studio in the capital, the second with a science communicator sharpening her delivery and confidence, plus the latest is a set of one-to-ones with senior executives and public sector officers for an important NZ-based government-led symposium early next year.

Think it may be time I updated my website to include this in my offer to the world.

HATCH 2016 | Curating People, Creating Space And Crafting Engagement

hatch-lone-peak-rilke-quote

#becauseofHATCH we find purpose.

I’ve just spent four days participating in HATCH.

Located this year at Moonlight Basin, deep in the Montana Rocky Mountains, a stunning setting with an elevation (7,000 feet) which matched the magnitude of experience.

It was a delicious cacophony of hugs, conversations, hugs, challenges, hugs, inspiration, hugs, provocations, hugs, presentations, hugs, performances, hugs, exploration, hugs.

As a third time attendee, I still find it hard to describe: it’s an event of sorts, a space where mentorship and personal/professional development is rife. A tribal, enriching, challenging, fulfilling, frustrating, expressive, dangerously optimistic place. Where it fails in fluidity it excels in impact, spurned on by the vast variety of the 150 curated souls.

There were diplomats, rappers, actors, app developers, inventors, sustainability champions, musicians, students, academics, makers, scientists, marketeers, film-makers, entrepreneurs, dancers etc all openly sharing, hungry for collaboration, being present.

The long and full days are littered with immensely powerful stories offered through presentations and unique performances, workshops driving deep questions like ‘what is your intent?’ coupled with sessions to truly play and create, accompanied with relaxed evening activities and an abundance of opportunities to simply converse and connect. These layers provide a richness which resonates beyond the traditional event format to create a community of shared experience that endures.

I’ve learned over my three visits that my favourite and most important thing to do at HATCH is to listen.

There is a copious amount of legacies being built for those who take notice and new pathways being treaded lightly or with barbaric servitude (a first time for many). These are extremely talented people who are shaping their future in the open, raw, honestly and with encouragement.

HATCH is a unique place which gives permission and provides the support to start/continue/stop (depending on where you are).

We were offered a fantastic lexicon to explore around ‘intent’ and ‘purpose’, whilst also being challenged to decipher our ‘ask’ and ‘offer’ to not only those in attendance, but also to the world.

It’s a new model for mentorship based on designing a space and time to cultivate relationships, which manifests trust through shared narratives (a forgotten element in creating deep and lasting change).

And as the event continues to mature and polish it’s rougher edges, the brilliance has always been in the people curation (as it’s invite only and deliberated through the lens that is Yarrow Kraner, founder / organiser who understands magnificently that if you bring a group of fantastic souls together, you can trust in their ability to add value to each other).


What I learned

Listening is an art.

Better questions really do exist.

Curation + purpose + space + time = impact.

Be bolder and don’t shy away from your voice.

Your worth is amplified when adding value to others.


Thanks

There are too many to mention although HUGE thanks to the organisers, facilitators, performers, sponsors, volunteers and all the HATCHlings who hugged me, shared their story and listened to mine.

Together, we’re hatching a new world:

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things
To dance and love and be apart
To hug and hold those around you
Fill your soul with the life of others
Embrace your place in life through your soul
Challenging more and more tomorrow.

hatch-poem

Deep thanks to BizDojo for contributing to the costs of this trip.

Past posts / HATCHs: HATCH 2014 and HATCH 2013

hatch-drone

Twitter Roundup #5 | Curating The Curated

tasty fruit

Mouth-watering selected offerings from my tweetmailing.

Here we go:

  1. INTERESTING: @PodcastMotor is a complete podcasting production, editing & publishing service http://buff.ly/1XGHLMX -> emerging industries / Tweetmail link
  2. LISTEN to cofounder of @stanforddschool @bernie_roth sharing insights on How to Design a Life http://buff.ly/1Rl4wSR with @GAllenTC / Tweetmail link
  3. READ Belgian court orders @Facebook to stop tracking non-members (which it’s been doing for 5 years) https://t.co/onzpTX1ACg / Tweetmail link
  4. WATCH @PhilipSheppard create a musical masterpiece out of nothing at this years @C2Montreal http://buff.ly/1LkXIPL / Tweetmail link
  5. LISTEN Remembering Oliver Sacks from @Radiolab http://buff.ly/1MWs3Fs “the generosity of his curiosity” / Tweetmail link
  6. WATCH This is how to store human knowledge for eternity http://buff.ly/1OnkAmk via @BBC_Future -> one for @JasonSilva to riff off ;-) / Tweetmail link
  7. WATCH @jerrycolonna’s ‘Disappearing into the Fire:Surviving the #Startup Life’ http://buff.ly/1Nju7hn / Tweetmail link
  8. WATCH the last talk at this years @TEDTalks event by BJ Miller from @zenhospice http://buff.ly/1LECWel / Tweetmail link
  9. WATCH people react to being called beautiful http://buff.ly/1SylA8o -> so lovely / Tweetmail link
  10. WATCH The Story of Buckminster Fuller & the Union Tank Car Dome http://buff.ly/1NyGQuT / Tweetmail link
  11. WATCH another great offering from @TheeNerdwriter -> deconstructing @neilhimself’s Sandman: What Dreams Cost http://buff.ly/1NTBypt / Tweetmail link
  12. / Tweetmail link
  13. FREE from @nypl (thanks) 180,000 out-of-copyright photos, maps, letters etc http://buff.ly/1PTgp2r -> get remixing / Tweetmail link
  14. USE @fulltextrssfeed for getting around those who truncate their feeds http://buff.ly/1W26Xwd -> tweeted before but deserves another / Tweetmail link
  15. WATCH this amazing video essay from @AdamWestbrook about the struggle for art in a world obsessed with popularity https://t.co/blXMQjVD4L / Tweetmail link
  16. READ about biowearables via tattoo circuits http://buff.ly/1OIJ8GU / Tweetmail link
  17. DOWNLOAD 40,000 Works of Asian & American Art for free from @Smithsonian http://buff.ly/1OQq8DH / Tweetmail link
  18. LISTEN to @Calnewport talking about his new book ‘Deep Work’ http://buff.ly/1ORkNfW -> “focus is the new IQ” / Tweetmail link
  19. WATCH / READ 1st driverless bus trial on public roads in Netherlands http://buff.ly/1nEgvSQ / Tweetmail link
  20. DOWNLOAD 48million artworks, artefacts, books, videos & sounds from across Europe http://buff.ly/1Q0GwCk / Tweetmail link
  21. DOWNLOAD Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums http://buff.ly/1R5yvAJ / Tweetmail link
  22. WATCH ‘X-Ray Audio: The Documentary’ about bootlegging music on X-rays in USSR http://buff.ly/1Q0SX1t / Tweetmail link
  23. WATCH The Boy Behind The Burqa http://buff.ly/1RMaZox @AsifaLahore UKs first out Muslim Drag Queen @TheLostLectures / Tweetmail link
  24. READ London pigeons with tweeting pollution backpacks http://buff.ly/1pmyEoD / Tweetmail link
  25. WATCH & be inspired by Bhutan’s Prime Minister @TsheringTobgay’s http://buff.ly/1psBVDs / Tweetmail link
  26. WATCH The Next Rembrandt http://buff.ly/1Spr1EQ & marvel how science & technology can produce art / Tweetmail link
  27. READ The Wood Wide Web – trees can exchange large amounts of carbon via the their roots http://buff.ly/1WAwsH0 / Tweetmail link
  28. DOWNLOAD 67,000 Historic Maps (in High Resolution) -> thank you @davidrumseymaps http://buff.ly/1YGLSbk / Tweetmail link

Haven’t done this since November last year due to things like TEDxWellington and my new role.


Why am I doing this? Well I tweet some good stuff I find during my RSS adventures and online digital breadcrumb following, thought it be a good exercise to curate them.

Read previous Twitter Roundups posts.

Just in case you want to follow me on Twitter (or better yet, follow your dreams instead).

Image credit | CC 2.0

TEDxWellington 2016 | Trusting In Trust

TEDx experiences should be special.

The above was special. It was scary. And hopeful.

To be part of the TEDxWellington team who volunteered and put this together will remain a creative and significant high point in my life.

We started with an idea of trust which soon became a real action to be taken as more and more people (as part of building an event on this scale) had to be bought into the ‘inner circle’. Not one person let us down.

It was a year we intentionally stepped beyond our comfort zone, and:

  • sold out in 2minutes
  • tripled the amount of speakers / performer applications
  • doubled the livestream count
  • tripled the amount of volunteer applications
  • nailed something which has never been tried before with a TEDx event

Read about the other things we did in the TEDxWellington 2016 Review | The Story Of Trust blog post.

Oh and just wait till you hear what we got planned next year.

ADDENDUM 18.3.16: our little event got covered on the TEDx Innovations blog on ted.com.

Twitter Roundup #4 | Curating The Curated

tasty pep flakes

Mouth-watering selected offerings from my tweetmailing.

Here we go:

  1. Introducing the Citizen Equality Act of 2017 by @lessig : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link
  2. The British Library put 1 million images for up ‘re-use’ : Flickr link / Tweetmail link
  3. Older people reacting to 3D printing : Youtube link / Tweetmail link
  4. From US Marine to Zen Monk : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link
  5. CH25 is a showcase of creators & innovators who are working to drive the world forward : Website link / Tweetmail link
  6. Mindfulness: From the monastery to the startup : Article link / Tweetmail link
  7. Why “follow your passion” is an astonishingly bad piece of advice : YouTube link / Tweetmail link
  8. NASA posts 8400 high-res Apollo mission pics in public domain : Flickr link / Tweetmail link
  9. A zine to spark imagination : Website link / Tweetmail link
  10. 100 images for visual brainstorming : Slideshare link / Tweetmail link
  11. ‘Unicorns’ & ‘decacorns’ and the potential looming dot com bubble : Article link / Tweetmail link
  12. The Story Of Light from Bell Labs : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link

Why am I doing this? Read previous Twitter Roundups posts.

Just in case you want to follow me on Twitter (or better yet, follow your dreams instead).

Image credit | CC 2.0

Inventing Worlds In A Changing One | Creativity, Faith And Curiousity

Wisdom and insights from heavyweight creatives.

What a combination: Sir Jony Ive and J.J. Abrams interviewed by Brian Grazer. So many pearls here to chew on, digest and adopt.

The openness of Ive remembering his boss as someone who was focused on simplifying things to be beautiful, functional and good whilst championing the idea of craft and care to create superior utility. Love his highlighting the designers quest for being desperate in that care so others will sense it. Other gems include the challenge to how, when you create, you should learn from the things you worked on and the things you learned from the act itself. And finally, his sharing of how Steve Jobs taught him focus by asking: how many times have you said no today.

jony ive discerning quote

We are capable of discerning far more than we are capable of articulating.
Jony Ive

J.J. Abrams unpacks the creative process as asking the right questions along with having ferocious curiousity (something Ive also agrees with—see above). Abrams also advocates the concept of following your gut and not starting from a place of deconstructing other peoples work, rather, find a story which should exist and do that.

jj abrams creativity quote

Any act of creation is a leap of faith.
J.J. Abrams


What did you take away?