The Beginnings. Challenges.


The challenges of the beginnings and a question

The last years of my twisted working itinerary brought me face to face with film and TV producers from both Romania (which is known as Rollywood among foreign filmmakers, by the way) and USA. With time we became friends as we kept choosing each other for various roles in various productions.

When I told them about my wish to highlight open innovation award winning solvers community and this futuristic realm through their eyes during a series of virtual meetings on set – in the beginning, as I don’t have budget for a more sophisticated type of filmed investigation, two reactions were released towards me at the same time:

  • Wow, what a cool community and what a great idea!
  • Are you crazy? 

What if they don’t show up? You don’t know each other, you’ve never met, you’ve never worked together, there is the whole world in between…do you realize what amount of mutual trust is needed for this to work out? Practically everything is out of your control. How would you manage that? And if shit happens, how will you explain the sponsors you lost the money?

Good points. What can I say?! The unknown is the main trait of this project.

Now, just because it is out of my control it doesn’t mean it is also out of control. Not knowing how the ends look like is not a strong enough reason or excuse to not start moving. 

Secondly, it is because it’s such a cool community it will also work out.

Thirdly, sponsors love the project and know the risks.

So this was the first challenge to overcome. To let it all go before starting.

Then all pieces started to fall together. Everyone showed up, each from his/her own corner of the world when the time came. With some of the solvers there was time to have a pre-interview, to know each other, with others there was not. I interacted for the first time on camera with Bas, Abshar, Mario and David, for example. 

The time was very short because we filmed it all among our other day to day projects, so the second challenge became me doubting my capacity to interview to 4-5 people, one after the other, during a single day, meaning 8-10 hours without a break, besides other video shots we needed to take separatelly. I never did something like that before (not even in my native language), so I had no idea how it will work out.

Each interview had a dedicated time of 2 hours and in most of the cases we used all the time talking, repeating some parts that went wrong due to technicalities, and so on. At my end of the internet wire, things were pretty intense.

After all virtual meetings ended, I was very happy because all my ‘unknown’ friends showed up, we covered all main questions for this opening series and the people hired to record and to edit told me we had all recordings in perfect shape. So I had all the reasons to go to sleep happy that night.

Well, the third and the biggest challenge came from an unexpected place: from the interior, from my contextual team. The technical coverage was under the quality marketed and that translated into delicate problems to solve. While trying to fix those issues, this is how I discovered there are not too many tech solutions and options out there on this market.

The good side of this story was that they had a very good attitude and tried as much as they could to fix things and do whatever necessary to deliver a good final draft. The bad side is they succeeded only partially. So I ended up in the position where I had to do myself the sound edit & image-sound synchronizing and the final video edits. I was ‘lucky’ enough because in 2012 I bought a licensed video edit software from Sony Vegas in order to learn and do my own video stuff, so I had a good enough tool at hand and some basic knowledge.

Overall, we ended up with a valuable material from content perspective and (only) decent from tech side at some of the interviews. And of course with more insights about how to do it better next time.

The forth challenge was the website. I only knew I want to interview winning solvers from open innovation, I’ve never thought about the system that I had to build around the content. I knew I had to do it, but the vision didn’t come to me until the moment I got to that phase.

As I am not a tech star, I used some open/sharing platforms available (thanks for that, guys!), I chose my elements and put it all together. It happens that I blog and copywrite for a few years now and my open innovation tech problem solving and open source expeditions turned out to be valuable practice in putting together a website alone now and to make video covers and other things like that. Cristina, my sister and partner in crime, took over the logo design. That’s her thing, though she is not a designer, but has very good and compatible visions and concepts. Strong enough to compensate decently not being a designer when we can’t afford one. 

And that was it. Conceptually, step by step all things found their place.

The whole thing shaped itself in about 2 months. Now that many things are ready, future rounds should take much less.

What’s next?

The promo (sometime very soon), more content management and digital marketing, short videos with key pieces from the interviews, loads of article writing, spreading the word, attracting more sponsors, and of course…more interviews. With a little bit of luck, maybe we reach also to the point of doing the original documentary. Who knows?

What can interviewed solvers do?

Well, to get involved even more by doing mainly two things when they are in the mood and have the time:

  • Meet me again on video-streaming platforms like Skype (maybe we find a better one) and record short talks on the topic in order to develop the site’s podcast dimension and strengthen our profiles in this domain;
  • Send their articles on the topic when they are in the mood to write about it for the same reasons

While working at this project a question unraveled into my mind from a consulting perspective based on a common trait we all have and an area where we complement each other:

As more and more companies consider integrating open innovation business units in their structure, why not considering also winning solvers community as potential consultancy provider? As players, we know a lot about the mechanism, existing platforms and the market. Not to mention that a few of us escalated the system more than once.