Top takeaways from masterclass “Creating and Telling Your Story”

By OEC team Comments

At the first residential session of the European Incubator for Innovation in Education, serial entrepreneur Aape Pohjavirta gave an energetic presentation chock full of useful ideas. The full 90 minute presentation was recorded and you can watch it on YouTube.

It's a long video and he covers a lot of material, so we have put together a summary of the key takeaways from his talk. You will also find links to many of the references he made to concepts, theories, and other speakers. 

Can you tell your story in five words?

The masterclass started off with an exercise in which the teams had a chance to tell their story in five minutes. Then, Aape challenged the teams to tell their story in five words.

Getting it down to five words may seem impossible, if you can do it, it means that you can clearly communicate the essence of your idea. He invoked the iconic example of Steve Jobs at the launch of the iPhone, where he summed it up with Apple reinvents the phone.

Finding your WHY

One of the recurring themes in the masterclass was the importance of asking “why?” Drawing on Simon Sinek’s fascinating TED Talk on How great leaders inspire action, Aape spoke about how our behaviour is more strongly influenced by our emotions rather than rational thought. Yet when we try to convince someone about a product, for example, we appeal to their reason, citing things like features, cost, etc. We focus on the “what” and “how” of the product. To get a strong reaction, we need to get at the WHY.

How do you figure out what your “why” is?

  • Define the problem (and validate it with your users)
  • Identify the cause of the problem
  • Come up with a solution to the problem (or co-create a solution with your users)

Throughout this process – what has changed? The change you aim to achieve, that is your “why,” and that is the most important part of your story.

The power of three

3... 2... 1... Go!

For some reason, sets of three seem to have a special impact. The Three Musketeers, gold-silver-bronze, the Holy Trinity... the examples are abundant. When explaining or pitching your idea, you can use the power of three to structure your statements before making your call to action. You want to make three statements or questions that your listener will likely agree with, and then end with your call to action. He suggested following the same pattern as the three questions you ask yourself to find out the “why” of your idea: (1) define the problem; (2) state the cause of the problem; (3) give your solution. Then make your call to action, i.e. try the product.  

Aape recommended watching Nancy Duarte's TED Talk on The secret structure of great talks where she compares several famously great speeches and analyses their common architecture. 

For even more entertaining advice on how to improve your presentations, here's one more resource for your perusal:

The Equation for Change

This chart shows the components that work together to create real change. If any one of the components is missing, it could lead to disappointing results.

Another invaluable component which is particularly relevant to social change is the first follower, as this hilarious and insightful video explains:

Lastly, some homework

There were several interesting concepts and theories sprinkled throughout the talk that deserve further research. Are you familiar with these ideas? If not, click on the image for more information. 

1. Technology Adoption Lifecycle

2. Technology Acceptance Model

3. The Golden Circle

Share this post