On July 20th, 2017, I presented [LaunchClearly] for the first time at Sheridan’s Brampton campus; I gave a second presentation on November 13th, 2017, at the Queensway Employment and Social Services in Toronto. It was interesting to have such a varied demographic spread, where the first presentation had various college-aged students largely with a digital intent while the Queensway presentation was predominantly a crowd of 30- to 50-year-olds where digital business was not the main focus. In both cases, the attendance was roughly in the 20-30 range, which was perfect for working with the boards in groups.
An interesting observation is how the demographics shaped the ease of concept conveyance. For the college crowd, positioning [LaunchClearly] as “Pre-Lean” had a certain resonance, while the same pitch had little impact on the older cohort. It appears to me that diving into the high-level descriptions only works well when the group has some pre-existing acquaintance with the family of concepts that one is working with. If no such context exists, the content should be presented sequentially from the ground up. This is a learning curve that I’ll have to work with, as I’m someone who much prefers to articulate the context before diving into the nuts and bolts. To use a painting metaphor, I’m someone who would detail the landscape before even considering the characters.
A commonality from both groups is that everything started to click when it came time to use the boards, along with the post-it notes. Nonetheless, the groups still needed me to show the initial positions for placing the post-its – this means I need to include more direct visuals in the slides. Evidently, I haven’t been following the designer’s creed of “show don’t tell.” The fact that this happened in both presentations means that I was overly verbose in trying to explain with words what should have been demonstrated through the board.
In light of the fact that the high-level descriptions had little effect at the Queensway presentation, a likely future direction for the presentation is to take a pure bottom-up approach, with the board as a central elucidating vehicle. Moreover, if done in this fashion, the context can be spread out over the course of the presentation rather than being compressed in the beginning. I truly feel that bundling too much context in the beginning of the presentation ended up causing a flavour of mental overload, saturating my audience’s minds before the praxis could be engaged in. It was as if I gave a lecture on the biomechanics of movement before allowing them to take their first step on their own.
All these flaws considered, one gem that I passively took note of is that the [LaunchClearly] methodology is genuinely industry agnostic – it was applicable in varied business contexts, especially at the Queensway venue. Whether it was a recording studio, an import/export business, a web development shop, or a sewing venture, the methodology was robustly workable in all situations. It is reassuring that the main obstacle now is determining how to best present the methodology rather than having to revise the methodology in its totality.