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RSVP for Show-n-Tell #3, July 6, 4PM, With Bill Peduto, Kit Mueller, Kristin Hughes, Laurie Trok, and Jonny Goldstein

June 12th, 2012 · business, edtech, entrepreneurship, envizualize, government, graphic facilitation, graphic recording, large scale visual notes, partnerships, public speaking

Come join our amazing lineup of Show-n-Tellers on Friday, July 6, 4-5PM at CatapultPGH.

RSVP here.


Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto Slugs it out

Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh District 8 Councilman will talk about whatever is on his mind and field your questions.

Kit Mueller is one of the powerhouses behind Pittsburgh’s wildly successful Startup Weekend. Get ready for some epic Show-n-Tell from Kit!

Kristin Hughes, CMU Design Professor, will discuss the community garden/art park she is catalyzing in the Friendship neighborhood.

penumbrae construct 1.0 constructors
Laurie Trok, CatapultPGH’s own resident collage artist and jewelry designer will talk about her work.

Jonny Goldstein will emcee and will envizualize each Show-n-Tell speaker with large scale visual notes.

How it works: Each Show-n-Teller gets 12 minutes to show and talk about whatever they want. You get to ask questions.

Optional: Afterwards, interested folks will can continue the conversation at happy hour a few blocks down Penn Avenue at Verde.

Even more optional: Starting at 6PM the Unblurred art walk will get going on Penn avenue, so you should be plenty warmed up by then if you want to check out the vibrant scene on Penn Avenue.

When: Friday, 4-5PM, July 6.

Where: CatapultPGH, 5139 Penn Ave 15224

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RSVP here.

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How Zappos Delivers “Wow” Through Service—It’s the Culture

May 15th, 2012 · Uncategorized

E Source Utility Customer Experience : How Zappos Delivers "Wow"

I created this envizualization (large scale visual notes) From a talk by Elia Lata of Zappos at the E Source Utility Customer Experience 2012 Conference in Las Vegas. For a larger size version, click here..

When you think of utility companies, you probably don’t think of nimble, customer focused organizations. Utilities tend to be fairly large, and focused more on keeping the electricity (or gas, or water, etc) flowing then getting into the mind of their customers and providing a great experience. They also tend to be unchallenged in the market place, without competitors. But utility customer expectations are set by all kinds of companies, from FedEx to Zappos, who have to stand out in competitive markets, and thus work to create ever improving customer experiences. So that is creating pressure on utilities to consider customer experience more seriously.

As far as the bottom line goes, utilities need to impress regulatory boards and local governments as well in order to get approval of rate changes and to get other activities approved. And customer attitudes can make a big impression on regulators for good or for ill.

Improved focus on customers also can yield bigger profits—for example if a utility makes it easy to pay a bill via the web or mobile device, they are going to lower their costs. Payment by mail or phone is expensive and time consuming.

So hearing from a customer experience leader like Zappos was eye opening. Customers are rarely going to get as excited about something they take for granted—like electricity, as they would be about anticipating a fabulous pair of shoes from Zappos, but Utilities realize that thinking beyond the electricity meter to the actual customer makes a great deal of sense.

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Envizualizing the E Source Utility Customer Experience Conference

May 14th, 2012 · business, entrepreneurship, envizualize, graphic facilitation, graphic recording, information design, large scale visual notes, partnerships, presentation design, public speaking, storytelling, visual sensemaking

E Source Utility Customer Experience Conference
The photo above is from the E Source Utility Customer Experience Conference, which I just had the pleasure of joining in Las Vegas. E Source’s mission is “To advance the efficient and environmentally sound use and provision of energy.”

My friends know that I love the rush of public speaking—It’s even better when I can combine it with my visual summaries. So I was delighted that E Source asked me to give a talk synthesizing the ideas bouncing around the conference. I love creating visual notes all the more when I get to use them as a backdrop for a presentation.

At the conference, representatives of major utilities (mostly electricical, but a few other utilities participated as well) shared insights, successes, and challenges related to focusing on the utility customer experience. Utilities are in an interesting position where they are often operate without direct competitors. But they still have plenty of motivation to focus on the user experience it turns out. Since every household and organization in North America needs to interact with utilities, an improvement in their customer experience has a broad impact.

It was heartening to see the participants in the conference think about the big-picture reasons to value customer experience, as well as to explore case studies of how industries within and outside the utility industry are improving their customer experience.

(Our friendly Zappos tour guide and Customer Experience Magician, Rocco)

From outside the utility industry we heard from FedEx, Sprint, and Zappos. We even got a tour of Zappos, which maintains its office conveniently around the corner from our conference venue. The tour drove home the message the culture is bedrock of customer experience—Zappos is famed for both its creative and supportive culture and its focus on delivering a “Wow” customer experience.

I was wowed by the conference that E Source put together, they clearly care about the experience of their customer, and it showed.

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Show ‘n’ Tell Debut’s at CatpultPGH Coworking Space

May 4th, 2012 · Uncategorized

On May 4, 2012, folks from CatapultPGH coworking community and nearby organizations came together for our first monthly Shown-n-Tell event. We heard about the new Pittsburgh Tool Lending Library, the history and current activities of the Sprout Fund, the multiple services provided by the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, the new neighborhood centric app, Scenable, and the gluten detection kit distributor, Glutentox. Thanks for coming out, and stay tuned for the next Show-n-Tell Friday, noon, June 1, 2012!

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Show ‘n’ Tell at catapultPGH

May 1st, 2012 · business, entrepreneurship, envizualize, graphic facilitation, graphic recording, Information Visualization, large scale visual notes, npTech, partnerships, public speaking, visual sensemaking

Show 'n' Tell

The blocks between Children’s Hospital and Negley on Penn Avenue are crackling with character, invention, and reinvention. Every month I see formerly empty storefronts buzzing with new ventures. This is overlaid with businesses and institutions that have been around for decades. One of the newer entries on Penn Avenue is the Co-working Space, catapultPGH. CatapultPGH is a membership organization that provides shared office space, facilities, and most importantly a sense of community for independent workers. At catapultPGH, we want to foster connectivity not only among ourselves, but also between the people behind the businesses and organizations that make this stretch of Penn Avenue home.

When: Friday, May 4, Noon-1PM

Where: Catapult PGH, 5139 Penn Ave (Just down the block
from People’s Restaurant).

What: People from the Penn Avenue Arts District show ‘n’
tell their awesome projects and obsessions. Jonny Goldstein will visually capture the conversation on a whiteboard.

Who: This month: The Bloomfield Garfield Corp.
Scenable.com, GlutenTox, The Tool Lending Library,
and The Sprout Fund.

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Wall Street Journal Article: “Doodling For Dollars”

April 27th, 2012 · business, graphic facilitation, graphic recording, information design, Information Visualization, large scale visual notes, public speaking, storytelling

Nice article in the Wall Street Journal on how businesses are using what I call “Hands-on visual thinking,” and what they call “Doodling,” to work more effectively. Here’s the link.

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Innovation Illustrated 1: The Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop

April 18th, 2012 · business, entrepreneurship, envizualize, graphic facilitation, information design, Information Visualization, visual sensemaking

Innovation Illustrated 1: Build, Measure, Learn

I am really excited about the current energy around innovation in general and startups in particular. For me, one of the best ways to learn something is to attempt to distill it into a visual summary. I hope this will be useful for you too. One of the powerful things about creating a visual version of an idea is that it gives something tangible to discuss—“No that should connect to that,” “The sequence of that process is out of order,” “You’re missing X,” etc. So consider this a starting point, and feel free to chip in your ideas about how to best express whatever idea I am trying to distill.

This visual summary is based on my interpretation of the “Build, Measure, Learn” concept as expressed by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup. He defines a startup as a venture which is creating a product or service in an environment of extreme uncertainty. To maximize chances of success in such an environment, the lean startup needs to create learning process where it can learn what works and what does not as rapidly as possible, engaging in a “Build, Measure, Learn” cycle. To go deeper, check out Eric’s book The Lean Startup here. Stay tuned for more Innovation Illustrated installments based on books and concepts gleaned from a variety of innovation thinkers.

Love to hear feedback or thoughts on this or other installments of Innovation Illustrated.

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