AEA Notes – Championing Ideas

Notes from Scott Berkun’s talk on how to champion ideas back at the office. Scott is the author of The Year Without Pants.

As much as we like to believe we have the power as developers and designers, the truth is the real designer is the person empowered to make decisions. If you’re not that person, here are five ways to champion your ideas.

To champion ideas:

  1. Stay connected. Build your network so you have more comparisons and resources to help champion your cause.
    • 5 non-slimy networking tricks
      • Ask people you like for business cards
      • Saying thank you starts a conversation
      • Posting your notes from sessions during events you attend attracts people to you
      • Be active on twitter to find outgoing people
      • If you use LinkedIn, write something personal when connecting
    • Speakers love people who ask them thoughtful questions about their presentation
    • Keep the fire burning – find ways to stay in touch and continue making new connections
    • Follow @aneventapart
  2. Events are abstractions, but your life is specific.
    • Do something that captures reflections TODAY.
    • Jot down five or so bullets per talk
    • Note links and references
    • Post a summary on your blog (tweet it)
    • Post it at work / share with your boss.
    • Later, come back to notes and look for lessons learned, problems your takeaways can solve or projects they can be applied to.
  3. How to champion without becoming a target.
    • Persuasion takes a lot of work.
    • Framing your message can make all the difference
    • Combine framing with charm
      • Asking how things are going, listen then after letting others share offer solutions
      • Charm depends on context. Share in appropriate context after you understand people’s problem or business objectives.
    • Match people’s needs with solutions you’re attempting to champion.
    • Use language people understand. i.e. “Here’s something that will save you money.”
  4. How to Convince Your Boss
    • Start with doing your best. Be awesome at your job.
    • Get support from an influential coworker when you don’t have as much influence.
    • Get advice from your network.
    • Plan a trial, including how to evaluate – Pick something you can win at.
    • Pitch your idea.
    • Do it awesomely.
    • Repeat

Check out an article by Scott on this subject.

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