A couple of days ago, one of my clients told me that part of the reason we won in an RFP competition against some bigger, well known companies is because our deliverables didn’t look like everyone else’s.  They aren’t cookie cutter, they are creatively designed for each unique situation.  Later that afternoon, Jim told me he was bored with our deliverables and wanted to try something new.  Part of me said, “Again?” and part of me thought, “and that’s why our deliverables keep getting better and better than everyone else’s!”

So, yesterday, we tried an experiment (by we, I mean Jim, with some help from Dan, I was just observing).  We had a meeting scheduled with a very senior executive at a very large company.  He’d had to reschedule a few times and was very short on time.  Our project was dependent on getting input from him on how to proceed, as we were stuck until we could have access to his very busy resources.

We could have built the standard PowerPoint project overview, analysis, recommendations and next steps.  Instead, Jim wanted to try something new.  His goal was to fit an executive summary on one page, viewable by an iPad.  Dan and Jim got some inspiration from Apple’s website and then combined pictures of application architectures and workflows with text that highlighted the conclusions and recommendations.

Honestly, I was a little skeptical going in.  I didn’t think it would go poorly, but I wasn’t sure the outcome of the meeting would be any better with this approach than our standard type of presentation.  After a 22 minute, very productive meeting,  I was intrigued.  The cool thing about the meeting is that the exec really quickly understood our conclusions and we were able to have a productive conversation about what our analysis really meant and what we needed to do about it.  It felt like a conversation with real communication.

I haven’t worked with this exec in other contexts, so maybe it would have been just as good using another medium, but it worked!

We are going to experiment some more.