The Growth of Social Media: Believe it & Engage.

Amazing visual portrayal of stats related to social media usage on this video. I am a believer in the power of videos like this because it got one of my last hold out friends onto Facebook! Maybe this new video will get him on Twitter? We should devote more energy to finding better ways to engage with LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media sites. I know they have been tremendously valuable for me. I’ve developed a workshop to help others simply get started or dive deeper.

2011 National Leadership Symposium

The National Leadership Symposium is one of my favorite professional conferences. It is a smaller, deeper, and more personal learning experience. If you are a leadership educator in higher education you should try to attend one. Here is the info on the 2011 NLS from the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs.

About the Symposium

Advancing Leadership Education:
Connecting to High Impact Practices
July 7-10, 2011
University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

The National Leadership Symposium is a professional development experience designed for faculty members, student affairs professionals and other educators involved with promoting college student leadership education. The program is coordinated by the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) and the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs (NCLP).

Given the intense learning environment of the Symposium (included required reading prior to attending), it is advised that participants have significant professional experience in leadership education. Registration is limited to 50 people.

Symposium Theme

This year’s National Leadership Symposium will invite leadership educators to engage in rich dialogue and reflective discussion about what it means to be a leadership educator. Participants will enhance their own individual insight about their commitment to leadership education, and then explore larger questions related to the purpose of leadership education and how we best create space for gaining knowledge and fostering student learning. Evolving from why we do this work, to what is this work about, the symposium will turn toward what are we really ‘doing’ through leadership education. Research about high impact practices related to learning will be discussed. Scholar authors will provide theoretical frameworks and practical considerations for this exploration. Scholars and participants will engage in thoughtful discourse about what it means to educate or develop students and ourselves in leading and leadership. The overall goal of the 2011 National Leadership Symposium is to envision how the future of leadership education can promote increasingly complex ways of being, knowing, and doing.

Participants in the 2011 National Leadership Symposium will:

* Envision the future of leadership education to promote increasingly complex ways of being, knowing, and doing.
* Examine high impact practices for leadership development and their connection to enhanced learning and quality.
* Investigate the intersection of leadership education and human development.
* Unlock the potential of leadership educators through engagement in their own development.
* Create a network of practitioners, educators and scholars that explores and informs a current understanding of leadership education.

Symposium Scholars:

* Dr. Susan Albertine
Vice President for Engagement, Inclusion and Success, Association of American Colleges & Universities
* Dr. Lisa Boes
Allston Burr Resident Dean of Pforzheimer House, Lecturer on Social Studies, Harvard University
* Dr. Ron Riggio
Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology, Former Director of the Kravis Leadership Institute, Claremont McKenna College

Program Chairs:

* Dr. Marilyn Bugenhagen
Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, Marian University
* Dr. Julie Owen
Assistant Professor of Leadership & Integrative Studies, New Century College, George Mason University

To register, join NCLP, or renew your membership, please go to

How to create a visual keynote speech

I’m doing a pecha kucha keynote speech for an event called Showcase at the University of Wisconsin. This is my story of how I’m developing it. A pecha kucha is a structured framework for a presentation. It consists of 20 visual slides that advance after 20 seconds. It is only a 6:40 long speech! Some benefits of this are that the audience gets a lot of visuals and you have to get to the point quickly. It is a bit more challenging to present but could be a good model for you to use, especially if your presentations tend to look too “texty” or you don’t wrap up soon enough.
Let’s apply an innovation process to developing a keynote speech or presentation at a conference or other event. The key elements we can work with to do this are:
1. Create rapid prototypes of the speech
2. Use feedback from your target audience or clients
3. Iterate and redevelop your speech
Most of the work happens before the work. It is conversing and thinking. I exchanged emails, phone calls, and had a meeting with the organizers of the conference. I wanted to know what they wanted to achieve and why I had been recommended to them. Was there a particular content area I should include that they were expecting?
After working with them to nail down a title it was time to build the speech. Here is the innovation process I used:
The first thing I did was work just with the visuals. I narrowed down and laid out 20 images that I wanted to use. I then took it to the audio level and just talked over these images while they were on my computer screen. This mattered a great deal. By actually doing it I gained insight on how it could be better organized and how to tell the story. I found where I needed more time. This was the biggest challenge.
Next, we use the innovation tools, I built a rapid prototype to share. It went from being just a series of images or a slide deck to an actual video. The 20 second transitions were recorded as a powerpoint quicktime movie. I played this and then spoke over the slides transitioning and recorded the audio. I turned this into a YouTube video and shared with people who were organizing and attending the conference. The purpose was to show them what I had developed and to get feedback and insights from them on how to make it better. This is engaging your users & clients in co-creating the speech with you. This was the first prototype speech video I created.

I sent the video to a few key people and the feedback I received from them was excellent. I found out what was working well and also gained ideas for improvement. I received validation on what I thought I should change (slow down, allow more space and focus) and found out things that I couldn’t have found out on my own…namely that another speaker was focusing on collaboration in innovation and that they really wanted me to go deeper and show them an idea generation tool. I also heard that I should stick the “SAM V” point harder. While I was getting this feedback I was in Austin, TX and saw a really engaging exhibit as South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi). It was a circus theme series of Mashup art that was funny…concepts like a Spork (spoon + fork) & El Camino (car + truck). Seeing this exhibit gave me the idea of taking something from the tech world (Mashups) and creating an idea generating tool out of it. I could show some photos of the Circus Mashimus exhibit and use story to explain an ideation tool they could use…mashup or combining. To add new though I had to cut. I was spending the most time in my first speech iteration on a Mastadon hunting metaphor story to tell the tale of collaborating to innovate. As much as I loved this story I decided to cut it to focus on this new mashup story which also integrated the feedback I received (more depth on a tool, less collabation, more time focus). Cutting that story helped me integrate three key feedback insights. It is worth it.
It was time now for a new iteration of my presentation prototype. I winged a second version of the speech and turned it into a YouTube video:

As you can see developing a visual keynote speech is an iterative process that uses your own ideas at all stages and the ideas of your target users. Each iteration brings you closer to the bullseye but it takes going through this process to hit it. It is like taking a paper from a 1st draft to a 4th draft. There will definitely be at least 1-2 more iterations for me before going live with this speech at Showcase. I hope this story has helped you learn how to develop a speech or presentation using an innovation process. Above all else, like you’ve learned in the video, remember to communicate with SAM V: Stories, Analogies-Metaphors, & Visuals.

Do Not Create Alone: How to Develop a Title Using 2 Question Surveys

I am finishing a book based on my dissertation research of high quality leadership programs. The purpose of the book is to help people innovate their own leadership programs and teach leadership in a way that works with how people learn and develop as a leader. I spent a lot of time thinking about titles for the book. Then I decided to use an innovation process for this. I decided to co-create the title with my target audience, the people who would be buying and reading the book. It makes sense doesn’t it, let them develop the title they want with you. I created a two question surveymonkey survey and floated it to my network on Facebook through a status update.

I have a number of friends who are the target audience-leadership educators. I received a number of responses, great ideas, and direction validation from this super short survey. It also prompted me to do more research on what makes a great non-fiction book title. I developed more ideas based on this research and the insight I received from my target audience. Next, I did a second and a third short two question survey to help them co-develop, narrow in, and select the title.

Lesson I learned: Use innovation practices for anything that is important…like a book title. Quick practices like engaging your target audience in co-creation, co-development, and selection work and they motivate you to do important research, idea generation, and iteration to develop a better idea. You uncover the problems and opportunities that can make your creation more innovative through doing this! This is a valuable way to use free web tools like surveymonkey in conjunction with social network status updates on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Advice for Conference Speakers on their Presentations

This advice holds true for both the speaker and the conference organizer advising the speakers on their presentations. A killer presentation is like a killer product. It takes some time to develop and involves many prototypes and iterations. If the presenter is giving their speech or facilitating their program for the first time, it will probably not be as good as the speeches or programs they have done numerous times. You learn how to do it better and get ideas and valuable feedback from doing it. So if you want a great program, make sure it isn’t one that is being done for the first time. Ask for and give the most polished and practiced stuff. If it is imperative that you do a new presentation, find a small event in your area to first practice or prototype it. You get great feedback and ideas from that first run-through.

The general advice I give people for creating a first presentation is SAM V. (Stories, Analogies, Metaphors, and Visuals) Tell your personal Stories. Use Analogies and Metaphors to help people get what you are talking about. Show them Visuals.

Even if what you are doing is a speech or presentation don’t make it a one way lecture. Mix it up and build in a lot of activities for participants to interact with each other, within small groups, and internally with their thoughts. Lectures don’t work for learning & engagement as much as something personal and interactive for the participant.

It has taken me many years of speaking, program development, and facilitation to learn these things and practice them in ways that become intuitive. I’ve been intentional about this approach for the past few years and I’m doing the most speaking/facilitation events (10) around the country this month that I’ve ever done so I feel that this approach is paying off. The programs go better and that equates to getting invited back and expanding to other conferences/events/organizations. Highly interactive SAM V presentations is my tip.

The Jam Session: Facilitated Rapid Networking & Connection-Making

Speed Networking Workshop

Learn to communicate and network better by being guided through doing it. In this speed networking inspired event, you will be facilitated through quick, one-on-one conversations that could lead to new solutions, knowledge, resources, and collaborations. Share a new innovation you are fostering or a challenge you are working on, and get insight from fellow participants. This is an innovative, interactive approach to networking, designed to focus conversations and catalyze relationships.

Have you ever been to a bad networking session? Maybe there was no structure, it was a free-for-all at the beginning of a conference. Maybe it was a disguised as a happy hour at a bar. Maybe you didn’t get the chance to talk to anyone, or worse yet got stuck talking to someone for way too long. Maybe you just talked about the weather and didn’t get to talk about your idea or what you needed or provide any insight or assistance to anybody. This workshop will be nothing like the bad networking sessions you’ve done in the past.

Elevator Speech Workshop

I’ve been working on innovating the networking session. It is now more like a facilitated workshop. It is part thinking about important questions, part working on your “elevator speech,” part group introduction, and part one-on-one or one-on-two speed networking. In this jam session people leave with a more comfortable and activity filled experience. They get to share with the whole group, hear from everyone, and go deeper one on one with many new people. They actually get to connect and converse!

How to Network Workshop

This session can stand on it’s own to kick off a conference or be a part of any other workshop when helping participants to connect with each other is highly valued. This is an innovative, highly engaging, interactive approach to networking. This is connection-making learning, where you will make connections, get ideas for your own projects, and offer ideas to others that can help them make progress on their own initiative.

Program Innovation is a topic area where the workshops help people to innovate by doing it. Workshops are designed to facilitate groups and institutions through the idea development process by systematically tackling a challenge relevant to you. This is a relevant topic area for organizations and groups within institutions. It is designed to help people improve how they work and have a high-impact.

Click here to see all programs in the Program Innovation topic area.

How to use Free Social Media Tools & Web Apps to Market, Communicate & Innovate

Look around on this website. This is a blog that was easy to set up using free software that I installed with one-click. You will see buttons to connect on Facebook, Tweet this page, and even sign-up to download a self-innovation guide and be a deeper user of this site.
In this program designed for non-tech people I will showcase how I integrate, use and help people get started with simple, free, & important online tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Analytics, WordPress Blogs, Widgets, Bitly, SurveyMonkey, Skitch, MailChimp, SEO optimization, E-newsletters, Google keyword tool, smartphones, mobile apps, YouTube, etc. During this workshop I will help you to do what I’ve done…the most important time & cost effective strategies to connect, communicate, and create online. We will show you how to simply make new content, connections, and communications. You can build along and ask questions to learn how to do some of these important and fundamental things online.

Program Innovation is a topic area where the workshops help people to innovate by doing it. Workshops are designed to facilitate groups and institutions through the idea development process by systematically tackling a challenge relevant to you. This is a relevant topic area for organizations and groups within institutions. It is designed to help people improve how they work and have a high-impact.

Click here to see all programs in the Program Innovation topic area.

Communicate Like a Yoga Instructor

Do you ever find yourself needing to communicate an important new idea or concept so that it is understood quickly? Yoga instructors are the best at communicating complex ideas. They use all of the tools in the toolbox. You have to get it. If not, you might get hurt. Yoga instructors try to communicate a complex idea to you so that you take action on it right there and then. The concept they convey is a yoga pose that you need to situate your body into. You need to get it quick too, because you will be done with that pose and onto the next one in less than a minute.

Here are some things I’ve learned from yoga instructors on communicating your idea. Let’s say that the instructor wants you to hold a pose where you put your feet into the ground, stretch your gastrocnemius muscles, bend at the hips, straighten your back, separate your shoulders out, slightly bend your arms, plant your fingers into the floor, all while breathing deeply and focusing your mind just on the present moment of the pose. They know better than to just tell you to do that in the words I just used. This is too complicated. Many also know better than to ask you to do Adho Mukha Svanasana. That is a Sanskrit pronunciation. Do you know Sanskrit? I didn’t think so.

Here is where it gets good. The instructor has to help you get this complex idea within seconds. So, luckily these yoga poses were named well. They were named using the power of metaphor. Adho Mukha Svanasana means “downward-facing dog.” Even before I did my first yoga pose my mind conjured up an image of man’s best friend stretching out in the way they love best. I knew what this seemingly complex movement, Adho Mukha Svanasana, generally looked like because I had seen a downward facing dog stretching before! That image was in my mind…the word Adho Mukha Svanasana wasn’t. The yoga instructors use the power of metaphor to describe the pose to help you understand what it might look like. These poses were named well. Take a look at the names of some of the classic yoga poses, you will see they translate into metaphors…and you might guess how to do them.

Sanskrit Word—–>English Translation (Metaphor)
Adho Mukha Svanasana—–> Downward-Facing Dog
Ardha Chandrasana—–> Half Moon Posture
Bakasana—–> Crane Pose
Balasana—–> Child’s Pose
Bhujangasana—–> Cobra Pose
Chakrasana—–> Wheel Posture
Dhanurasana—–> Bow
Halasana—–> Plow
Padmasana—–> Lotus Pose
Utkatasana—–> Chair
Vriksha-Asana—–> Tree Pose

The metaphor may help the person doing yoga get the general idea. What is needed though is something to help them get the details. Here is how the yoga instructors help them do this. First, they show you. They will demonstrate the pose up front and talk you through it. You watch and do.

If showing you themselves isn’t enough the yoga instructor has constructed an environment in the studio to help you learn from others. You are in close proximity to them, sometimes only inches away. You do yoga with other people that know these poses. If you are still confused they encourage you to look at the person in front of you that knows what they are doing. They utilize the power of others as co-teachers. You watch others and learn.

If you still don’t get it the instructor will talk you through it. They give you specific feedback on what it is that you need to do that you aren’t doing. It is laser focused. They again use the power of metaphor by perhaps sharing an analogy to coach you through it and help you understand, such as “hinge at the hips” or “plant your hands into the mat” and “root down.”

Finally if you still don’t get the idea the instructor will use the greatest tool they have. The hands-on adjustment. They will come over to you and physically help move you to where it is you need to go. Sometimes we just don’t get it. This guarantees we will get it. There is so much to get.

Yoga instructors use the tools of metaphor, demonstration, letting you observe and learn from others, focused feedback, coaching with analogies, and hands-on adjustment to help you learn & do something complex like Adho Mukha Svanasana. The next time you have an important idea or concept to communicate to someone for the first time, think about how a yoga instructor might help that person learn and do.

What I’ve been reading: Outliers, The One Thing, The Power of Less & Predictably Irrational






The past month I’ve been catching up on reading while traveling. Flights make for a great time to catch up on reading and long drives allow the chance to listen to audio books. I try to catch up on many of the business/leadership books that are bestsellers and come highly recommended. I’ve read four good ones lately.

Outliers: The Story of Success

The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life

The One Thing You Need to Know: … About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Recommended Creative Thinking Books on Generating Ideas or “Thinking Tools”

During the past five years I have been immersed in creative thinking resources and reviewed many books on tools for generating ideas. I’ve synthesized and adapted some of the best practice tools that are out there and create some new ones as well. We have tried this system of ideation tools out with brainstormers and I’ve taught it in my Brainstorming Techniques Webinar Program. The recorded webinars facilitate you through the process. I enjoy most doing live webinars or workshops on this too. Here are some of the best books I recommend on using thinking tools for generating ideas.
Think Better: An Innovator’s Guide to Productive Thinking
Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques (2nd Edition)
Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas
Creative Whack Pack
KnowBrainer Accelerated Innovation & Creativity Tool by Solutionman v4.0 (Innovative & Creative Thinking Tool Kit)
How to Get Ideas

It is good to build a library of these ideation books to use in your work. Many of these books are all inexpensive and highly rated on Amazon.