As the world continues to hobble forward through it’s pandemic / environmental / corrupt leadership crisis, please do take the time to watch the incredible video essay above on what I’ve always held dear: humans are innately good.
Be fiercely kind because…
There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” ― Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Will be focused on the following:
Online production: have 20+ events already booked to MC plus producing podcasts for a couple of clients as well so building out the home studio to up the production values in these areas
Masterclasses, coaching and speaking: continuing to deliver in-person internal sessions on ‘purposeful storytelling’ whilst taking on 1-2-1 speaker coaching clients and also be open to speak on stage a few times as well (truly miss this)
Online course: putting together a virtual offering with the hope to launch mid 2021
TEDxWellington: my pro bono to bring the largest ever TEDx to the nations capital (going to be a 2,000 person live event) and shine a light on the incredible talent we have in the region then amplify them through the TED platform
Spent some time sprucing this website up a little using the new Twenty Twenty-One WordPress theme to really minimilise the design and visual clutter. Am still working out a few extra tweaks although on the whole nearly there and so much slicker.
So here’s a 2021 which elates, brings joy and softer changes.
So as the 20’s roll into view, am keen to develop more of the creative producing side and dial back the speaker coaching so there’s some parity in my analogue service offerings. Am also playing around with a new podcast series to further hone the craft of experience design.
Two days of ideas / insights into inspiring and managing the creative process / people which leads to innovation.
The event took about four and half months to organise and featured 6x keynotes, 5x different workshops, 4x idea-bombs, and 1x jazz trio (for the first day), plus 3x two-hour masterclasses which were repeated (for the second day).
In an attempt to learn out loud here are my takeaways:
As you can see from above we had a healthy gender representation of females. 15% of attendees were from outside of Wellington and overall there was representation from 70 cross-sector organisations (judging by email addresses):
Just like at Speaking with Purpose 2017 earlier this year, nearly every one of the speakers / facilitators got remunerated in some way (some wouldn’t / couldn’t take payment). Everyone also got a plus one for the event to gift on as they pleased.
Founder @ Making to Think. Lecturer @ MIT Sloan. Aithan builds leaders’ creative instincts using time- and science-tested techniques from the arts to expand perceptions and accelerate solutions.
Elysa Fenenbock Designer-in-residence at Google
At Google she facilitates human-centered design processes & spearheads social impact programs. In Creative Nomad Project, she leads global organizations to foster creativity in education & sustainable impact. Also lectures at Stanford d.school.
DK Producer / Speaker / Advisor
TEDxWellington licensee. Producer of many events. Speaker coach. Creative Welly founder. Arts Marketing Academy Mentor.
Nick Kapica Designer
Design Lead at Wellington City Council. Passionate about people, design and the urban environment. Looks after brand and pushes design deep into council.
Gareth Parry Designer
Gareth Parry is a partner in PwC’s Experience Centre. Gareth has experience in architecture, learning design, digital advertising, infography, human centered design, and event creation.
Ruth Keiry Designer
Ruth Keiry runs PwC’s Wellington Sandbox. She’s framed, designed, and facilitated dozens of collaborative spaces.
Mark Bradford BeWeDō® practitioner
Founder of BeWeDō® + Senior Lecturer at Massey University, School of Design. #BeWeDō is a unique motion-led creative leadership experience.
This was privately funded venture (even though many were approached for sponsorship / support) and delivered under the Creative Welly initiative.
Other support came from Wellington Chocolate Factory who offered some gift packs for the speakers / facilitators plus our wonderful venue hosts The Roxy Cinema for a little discount for returning and booking the whole place out for two days.
The event cost $55k to run although I achieved the goal of just about doubling the profit of the Speaking with Purpose 2017 event.
The ‘Creative Care Packs’ included: a printed brochure / agenda (with poster of creative leadership quotes on back), name badge, post-it notes, spare paper, Airline 210 medium black pen plus a bar of custom made chocolate for sustenance. These were given out to all attendees upon arrival and cost approx $3k.
There were items which wasn’t first budgeted for including fees for the jazz trio and the extra chairs to ensure preferred execution of the workshop experience, plus added material costs for the masterclasses / workshops.
Additional extras included nearly $2.5k on external lighting and sound / mics (to improve the experience) as well as paying my pal Emilie Fetscher for her MCing duties.
DIY (Kind Of) Rules
A few services were traded and registrations swapped against programme / brochure design plus the photos and main video on the top of this post.
Again, I didn’t use a ticketing service and invoiced everyone individually to both save on ticketing fees (as every ticketing provider holds on to the monies until after the event) whilst also creating the working capital needed for pay for venues and other costs.
The other things I personally undertook were:
design, content and copy for the website
all email newsletters and attendees communication
venue discussions, deliberations, decisions etc
all speaker and event curation
badge design (see below)
I also crafted extra content for promotion. These little ‘visual pearls’ were insights into what each speaker / facilitator will be bringing to the conference (example):
I tried to engage support in this area and spoke to half a dozen people in Wellington. Two didn’t respond, another three were busy and one agency priced themselves way above what was briefed.
Had some lovely support from several organisations in featuring the event and opportunity through their social channels.
One thing I did this time was spend time talking to gatekeepers within of organisations: business development, head of marketing, team leaders, CEOs etc. Those who are considering the larger impact of their brand plus who have direct access to monies.
From this I gained there’s not a lot of consideration given to leadership development and / or budgets set aside for professional development. Maybe something to remedy by highlighting the opportunity earlier in the year for future budgetary considerations.
Three big takeaways from this event are:
Variety is key—the mix of 20min keynotes interlaces with 5min ‘idea-bombs’ ensured the event had pace and diversity of subjects / voice. More choice was available through the workshops which were a mix of physical, hands-on plus in-depth and participatory. A strategy which paid off and which was reflected in the positive feedback received;
Sales support is needed—as a builder and curator I want to continue to craft incredible events. The deficit I have is in my interest in pursuing sales. The need to find a sales partner with ethical core values (get in touch if that’s you and can prove it) will be something to develop;
Sponsorship—additional funding would grow the conference and reach of participants (from outside the region). Some of this funding would go into the marketing plus fund the sales support and the rest into sharpening up other elements.
Encouraging and nurturing creative literacies plus leadership talent here in Wellington is part of the larger Creative Welly initiative, however, conversations are already starting with other regions in the country who have expressed an interest in hosting future events.
Connections are also already being made with potential sponsors for next years event as this is definitely something I’d like to replicate if the city and attendee base is willing.
In terms of gigs in 2015, the final total was 3 keynotes, 6 other talks, 2 workshops, 4 roundtables, 2 facilitations (totalling 6 days), 18 mentor sessions, 2 consults, and 2 MC gigs (R9 Accelerator and AnimFX).
Many of the above you can read about here and here—heartfelt thanks to all the clients for the opportunity to continue to learn and hone my craft.
There were some mammoth highlights professionally in terms of my own personal development and achievements, however, the challenge was always sustaining regular gigs from my base in Wellington, NZ.
As for my online efforts, a modest offering compared to previous years:
The last in the list is a post indicating where the majority of my days will now be focussed in 2016 (the rest of my time being split amongst TEDxWellington plus a personal pledge to recommit myself to punching again).
The new job takes me away from the specific social media sector and into a broader ‘smart cities’ and ecosystem development space. The long-term goal of which is threefold:
have the City Council (who provide the funds both for the role plus operational budget), widen it’s commitment beyond the three years;
for Wellington to start to attract global interest in terms of the work we’re doing, evidenced by web traffic, enquiries and invitations to share;
make people smile and / or think.
Obviously, all of the above relies on demonstrating a causal link between the activities of the Collider programme and the more connected and effective creative, digital and tech city ecosystem. An audacious challenge, but then again, if we aren’t being audacious then what’s the point in turning up‽