5. Going live
Choose a venue that can accommodate all team members at once for the first day. We chose to invite all 400 participants at Berghs School of Communications, that’s located in the center of Stockholm, and close by to most of the agencies. Since not all kids could attend the start up meeting, this is when most of the teams meets in full for the first time. Everyone is nervous and excited, so it’s important to be direct and clear in your approach and flow of information. We prepared the first day with these things:
- With the help of Stockholms Stad we sent out text messages to all kids with information about when and where to meet.
- Prepared goodie bags for the kids and posters for the agencies and student coaches.
- Invite media and politicians
- Hire a photographer to document
- Prepare a presentation and welcome speech
When everyone was gathered in the morning we opened the project with a welcome speech by the founders, while our project managers handed out goodie bags to the mentors. They later handed them out to their kids. To avoid total chaos, after the welcome speech we had a roll call so each team gathered one after one. This was a simple solution to make sure that not all 400 tried to leave the venue at the same time.
What we learned from the previous year is that it’s important to have a structure for the three weeks everyone is working with their brief. We decided that this order would be best for our briefs:
Week 1: Strategy
The first week is the most vulnerable one. It’s important that the student coach and the mentor is making sure that everyone in the team understands the brief. The first day is perfect for cracking up the start up kit that was being sent out earlier. The kit helps the coach and/or mentor to present the industry, explain certain lingo and answer questions from the kids. The teams work with research, surveys and strategy during rest of the week.
Week 2: Creation
It’s time to be creative! This weeks assignments are often more easy to understand than the previous week. It’s important though to help the group develop their ideas. It’s not uncommon for the teams to take the first idea that comes to mind.
Week 3: Production and presentation
The third and last week is all about preparing and producing a kickass presentation. As a mentor and student coach it’s important to be there to help them produce graphic elements, a coherent presentation and give them tips and trix in order to pitch their idea to the representatives from their district.
We learned that we could’ve given the teams more assignments, since many worked quite fast and did them quicker than we anticipated. We had some impromptu lectures with people associated to the assignments, but after the evaluation saw there were time for more lectures and/or study visits.
Try to visit all the work places and teams. It gives you an overview of how the project is going and gives you the chance to see what tweaks that needs to be done. And don’t forget to bring the camera with you. It’s the perfect opportunity to take some photographs which can be used for a summary of the project.
Keep your eyes and ears open for disruptions within the teams. Some mentors and coaches contacted us directly while other were discovered during our visits. It can be a challenge to work with young people, especially when there’s cultural differences. Which is why this project exists, to eliminate those differences. There were cases where we had to step in and help the mentors and/or coaches with their team because of different reasons. Projects of this size and force will always have some issues that needs to be sorted. But also be prepared to be surprised and thankful for all the amazing work everyone does to present an idea worthy of Cannes.
Since we didn’t have a structure for spreading information or dealing with ongoing questions from workers, mentor and coaches, we spent too much time doing admin job via email, instead of visiting all agencies. Making sure that everyone understood the project was one of our biggest challenges and something that could be done in a more efficient way.