Last week I attended an event called Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver. The idea is similar to TEDx, where a local organizer puts on a series of talks for a general audience. The twist with pecha kucha is that every presenter has 20 slides and only 20 seconds on each.
This particular night was Vancouver’s 16th pecha kucha night (pronounced correctly, I think, as peh-CHUK-cha) but my first time attending. It struck me at first as a series of what were essentially advertisements: a speaker would arrive to the stage and spend the next 6:40 talking about what they do (be it in fashion, art, design, whatever).
In and of themselves, these 7 minute product pitches would be fairly entertaining since they are from local business people doing things they love, and generally finding success. The truly great pecha kucha presentations, though, take their pitch and elevate it to a message. The one that brought down the house for me was by a designer named Carson Ting, and his talk resonated because he spoke about what we try to do when we practice social media, but in the context of making commercial art. His message was, to use his words (and pardon my French): “share your creative s***.”
Essentially he explained that as an artist, he uses social and multimedia online tools to not only produce his commercial artwork, but also to document and share the process of creating it. By sharing his creative process so that others can learn and benefit from it, his art becomes much more than just the final product.
This is such an important message in social media and healthcare. We are so often caught up in not only concerns about proprietary projects (because of funding competitions) but also concerns over privacy. Sometimes, we simply “forget” to be open, or we simply get caught up in doing things the “old way,” and we default to a mode of hiding everything until there is some “success” or “final draft” that can finally be shared with the outside world.
That way of doing things hides our true thunder. It keeps others from fully knowing what we do, how we learn and improve, and plays down the fact that we are truly passionate about and creating things that can improve other people’s lives. True success today, to my mind, is when someone is able to take what you’ve done, replicate it, and build upon it. Not sharing the process shows that we have at the core a personal motive, rather than a lofty goal: improving the health system.
I’m so glad to have been at this event because it allowed me to see engaged people outside of health care who grasp the importance of social media, and the significance of being able to share the process of their work. I hope I can be better about this myself, and I hope the people I work with in the future will be, too.