Blog Archive

Double Designs, Placebos, Corporate Narratives, and a Once-in-a-Million Scenario That Comes Around 500 Times a Day (Weekend Reading and Viewing for April 4, 2014)

Every week, we distribute an internal email about what we've been reading. As you'd expect, the topics are quite diverse but almost all of them have some connection to our work here. Here, we share it with you as well (with references to some secret projects edited out). 

Create Your Own Genius Cluster

Back in February, our Matt Saiia wrote a post about Three Ways to Make Your Company More Innovative. In it, he noted that you’re a lot more likely to see innovation when people and ideas have lots of chances to bump into one another.

Learn How to Give a Better Talk By Watching One About Suicidal Wasps, Zombie Roaches, and Other Parasites

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We're still decompressing from TED2014 here. We just noticed that one of our favorite talks from last week got posted today and we want to share. Ed Yong is a science writer and he offered a talk about parasites that was full of surprise, things that are not what they appear to be, and plenty of humor to support its story. In its way, it may be the strangest and most provocative talk we've ever seen about the limits of freedom. The funniest and the grossest, too.

Collective Next Scribes TED2014!

Last week TED had its first solid event in its new home in Vancouver, and we at Collective Next scribed many of the talks. Enjoy a bunch of our favorites:


Jennifer Senior, TED2014, scribed by Tricia Walker

Jennifer Senior, TED2014, scribed by Tricia Walker


Talks That Break the Rules

For all the attention we pay to getting clients' slides right for a talk, it's worth noting that many of the most memorable talks at TED this week (so far) have come from people who have either used no slides (Zak Ebrahim, Jim Holt) or the most rudimentary accompaniment (Edward Snowden showed up inside a telepresence robot but it was curator/interviewer Chris Anderson who produced the slides).

Four Ways to Tell a Better Story

Along with this week's TED in Vancouver, this week on the Collective Next blog we're covering aspects of giving a great talk. Yesterday we considered the broad question of How to Give the Talk of Your Life; Friday we'll focus on performance; today we look at some ways we've found to craft a story for a talk.

How to Give the Talk of Your Life

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Even those of us who love TED have a complicated relationship with it. Many have recounted the elitism of the main event and the rise of the TED Talk as a rigid form; others have parodied that form effectively. And there’s a small industry of consultants who say they can help you deliver a TED-quality talk. (Disclosure: This includes us.

Control, Collaboration, and March Madness (A New Collective Next "Transcribe")

Transcribes are weekly chats during which we share what we've learned recently and figure out what it means to us and our clients. 

During our most recent Transcribe, we discussed many issues of current interest, ranging from the Malaysian airplane mystery to March Madness, until we noticed what all the topics had in common: control. The missing plane upends our sense of control over the world; constructing March Madness brackets helps us feel we have some control over something we know we have no control over.

Don't Abandon Breakout Sessions -- Make Them Better

This week, Richard Moran published Is It the Death of Break-out Groups? His broadside has started a lively conversation and we’d like to weigh in. We spoke to two of our principals, Kathy Clemons and Geoff Amidei, who run and aim to perfect breakout groups regularly. In this brief post, we’ll take on two issues: Moran's argument itself and the way that argument was promoted.

Don't Wing It

I’m going to tell you the truth. We all know when you’re winging it. We know when you haven’t prepared. You may be quick on your feet, smart, improvisational, and creative. But we know when you didn’t do the work.

It’s obvious when you give a presentation that you haven’t rehearsed. Words sound different when you’ve had a chance to test them out, practice placing the emphasis here versus there, get a sense of how they hang together in the air instead of on the page.