Design Thinking

The Need for Storytelling

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What does ‘storytelling’ have to do with leveraging technology for improving Life Sciences processes? In today’s rapidly changing world of technology you owe it to yourself to learn about and practice the ‘art of storytelling.’ In this blog post I want to give you a summary of why it is a vital skill to learn and practice, some basic do’s and don’ts, and a great reference on this topic.

Why it’s vital to hone your ‘storytelling’ skill

Selling technology is more difficult these days because of the way your audience process information. You’ve got more competitors looking to compete for the same business. Companies continue to ‘innovate’ and how do you offer these new ideas to the market?

Throughout your career you’ve learned to become an ‘expert’ in a given technology. Ask yourself what distinguishes you from your competitor who happens to be in the same field? I’m in IT services where success does not always mean that you have the lowest rates/cost. I constantly receive feedback that while the competition has the best price they fail to deliver on improvements to the business. Can you tell a story around why your company can do a better job delivering the same IT service?

Basic do’s and don’ts

When we prepare for bid defense or engage with a net new client I’ve often discussed how many slides we should use in a typical presentation? Many of you have ‘off-shore’ resources that can do a wonderful job in applying graphic skills to improve the look of a presentation. So here are some basic things to look out for that will hopefully improve your delivery of your ‘story.’

Do’s

  • Go through a process of gathering ideas and developing a timeline for your pitch.
  • Know your audience – who are you selling to….
  • Manage the time to deliver your message.
  • Practice your timing. Your slides should be a reminder to the audience of your topic.
  • Finish early and look to engage in a Q&A.

Don’ts

  • Do not use your presentation as a document. I’ve seen off-shore resources offer lots of text on each slide (simply move this to your notes section).
  • Avoid the use of small fonts on your slides.
  • Resist the temptation to develop your story in PowerPoint. Use a drawing tool (Visio) or Word to outline your ideas. If you collaborate with your team make full use of posit notes to organize your presentation.
  • Avoid acronyms and abbreviations, and do not take for granted that your audience is ‘technically’ at your level.
  • Read the text from your slide. I know this is basic presentation training. Yet I’ve seen too many presentations where this continues to happen.

Recommended reading

A few weeks ago I posted on my LinkedIn Reading list a book entitled: resonate by Nancy Duarte. The author dissects ‘storytelling’ from content through delivery. What Distinguishes this book are the examples she uses to illustrate key points. I find myself referring to this book to prepare for various presentations.
I highly recommend this book.

Thanks,

Jim

Upgrading for 2010

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I’m not very good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. Yet what I intend to do this year is to align my interests with what I am currently doing. At present I am contracting with an IT service provide to ‘start-up’ a new Life Sciences practice. So in keeping with the title of my blog, how to ‘leverage IT for Life Sciences and Healthcare’ I hope to share what I’ve learned. I started blogging using Blogger and I hope you can see the change now that I have moved up to WordPress. This site has much more tools and allows for greater flexibility in terms of the ‘appearance’ of my blog. I would be interested in your comments on this……

In starting up a new business unit I’ve got to figure out how to be successful in a short period of time. I look forward to describing what I’ve learned through this blog. So the topics that I want to focus on are as follows:

  • “Design Thinking” – this is a new way to approach problem solving that combine both analytical and intuitive thinking. OK Jim, so how does this apply to IT and Life Sciences? Well if you consider that everyone seems to use some ERP package is there a way to make money in ‘improving’ IT processes? I think so and there are ways to promote ‘process innovation.’ What has been bothering me is how to go about this, in such a way as to develop a business around this……
  • How can IT improve areas such as Clinical Development? Unlike ERP where the business processes have been ‘integrated’ can the same be done in the area of R&D in Life Sciences? Is there a need to link Sales&Marketing applications back into R&D to help Life Sciences and clinical trials? I will talk about this under “Process Innovation.”
  • “Closing the loop” between the patient and Life Sciences companies. In the US, if we expect to achieve “Personalized Medicine” Life Sciences companies will need information from patients. The current ‘eco system’ in the industry prevents this from happening. So topics that I want to look into include: eHealth, Health 2.0, and ePatients.
  • We will also look into leveraging ‘cloud computing’ within Life Sciences.
  • The launch of this new business unit will let me try out new Social Media tools. This should be fun as there are new ways to ‘market’ new services and products. Yet choosing which tools to use is a challenge – especially given budget and scheduling constraints. Let’s face it – if I’m to be successful at launching this new business I’d better get the word out and create the attention needed in the market.

Word Press and the iPhone application – I like my Apple iPhone and so in the course of writing this I have had the chance to use the WordPress 2.0 application. Works great and saves me time when a new idea hits me. The application allows you to write-up a new idea and save it as a ‘draft.’ Make some tweaks and edits – chekc for grammar and spelling then hit the ‘publish’ button.