“Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.” In the timeless conversation between Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield in the neo-classic Pulp Fiction, Vincent describes to Jules the suite of “little differences” he noticed on a recent trip the character had taken to Europe. And it was those little differences that cemented his memories, or so we are at least led to think that through the grand storytelling of Quentin Tarantino. The scene succeeds because we all have little moments, seemingly small memories of larger situations that allow us to replay life’s adventures in our minds. Recently, I had the pleasure of delivering a presentation to an audience of marketing and content executives – many hailing from Fortune 500 enterprises – on the topic of Sales and Marketing in the Era of Crowdsourcing. At the Revenue-Driven Marketing Leadership Summit – hosted by the Aberdeen Group, I was given the opportunity to share with this executive audience the opportunities that now exist for you and I, to tap specialized communities and crowds, to get exceptional work and innovation accomplished. I mentioned communities such as Tongal that produce exceptional web video content through a series of contests and content creation crowds such as Zerys, and of course, I described in some light detail, the digital creation capabilities of the TopCoder Community. The presentation was well received and then something surprising happened. During the active Q&A that followed I was briefly describing how I myself utilize open innovation and various communities and crowds to get things done in my role at TopCoder when I haphazardly pointed at the screen and said – paraphrasing here – “This presentation is an output from a contest I ran.”. I noticed a few heads tilt sideways when I said it, but didn’t think much of it until the social cocktail hour was underway. As I was enjoying a Sam Seasonal – I was in Boston after all – a small gaggle of attendees approached me, graciously thanked me for the presentation and then proceeded to ask in near chorus fashion; “Did you really crowdsource your presentation?”, which was then followed by their one word follow up… “Why?”. In about an hour and a half of networking and sipping autumnal flavored brew, I was asked this question four separate times. “Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.”. For this group of attendees, it was evident it was the little differences of how I was utilizing open innovation and crowdsourcing that piqued their interest. I thought about the 3 main reasons why I choose to utilize the TopCoder Community to help me create my Powerpoint marketing decks and I thought at least 2 of these answers might surprise you.
Reason #1: Time
Darius Rucker of “Hootie” fame said it best when he sang; “Time, you ain’t no friend of mine.” Your busy and I know I’m busy. I utilize crowdsourcing to get my Powerpoint decks created because it frees up my time. It is imperative to note, as we recently discussed, crowdsourcing is NOT magic and it takes a different kind of work where you are setting “things” in motion and then offering crucial and timely feedback on the projects you are crowdsourcing. So it does not mean by “simply” crowdsourcing my Powerpoint presentations, I gain back 100% of the time I would have put into the work. Instead, I would gauge it about 35% of effort from a pure time metric. Now, I really focus on the story I want my slides to convey and treat each slide as if it were its own “mini” design project. This approach not only saves me time, but the consequence of this effort leads us into point #2.
Reason #2: Better is Way Better
This section we can keep supremely brief and instead rely on some great visuals. I am NOT a designer. The slide designs I receive from the TopCoder Community are created by designers. My slides look amazing and all I had to do was set them in motion and concisely detail what type of look and feel I was after. Here are some great examples of slides from varying Powerpoint presentations I received as outputs.From the TopCoder Webinar: Why Atomization is the Key to Success in Open Innovation
From the TopCoder Webinar: Succeeding with TopCoder – the Engagement and Personnel Guide
Reason #3: The Beauty of Repurposing Content
When a TopCoder contest is complete, the entirety of the IP is transferred from the winning submitter(s) to the client. In the case of these contests, I am the client acting on the behalf of TopCoder. I often ask for – as part of a final submission requirement – the icons and designs that make up the slides to be delivered in a separate design file so our marketing team can decide whether or not to repurpose these graphics for other needs. Have we? Absolutely. We repurpose icons for internal and client presentations routinely and if you have ever seen our graphic-heavy EOI (Enterprise Open Innovation) page on TopCoder.com you will have recognized this image below.
Utilizing Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation to help me create my Powerpoint presentations frees up my time, delivers amazing, icon-heavy design outputs to my team and allows me to repurpose those creative designs any way I wish to going forward. It’s not just about faster. It’s the combination of creating assets faster, receiving better outputs, and working in a way that encourages smart repurposing. In other words, it’s a Royale with Cheese.
image credit: falcocanning.deviantart.com