Big Ideas, Bad Presentations and Everything In Between

Last night was the first graded presentation in my portfolio class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The students were a little nervous, the room was ridiculously hot, and a case of the stomach flu was running through the room. (No pun intended.)

But through it all some amazing ideas were presented. I was incredibly proud of the students. They did a great job.

Here are some standouts.

The best idea of the night belongs to a student who didn’t even want to present her idea to me last week. She didn’t think it was good enough. Or she thought it was too simple. Or she was concerned because the idea came to her in five minutes. But once I saw the idea I knew that – as Charlie Sheen would say – it was a ‘winner.’ The best part of the idea – was that she got all the key points of the strategy across in a very, very simple visual. Congratulations.

The next grouping of ideas were all really well done – but has small flaws. Things that can be fixed. Little components that, given more time, would make them really great ideas. I was especially proud of three students.

The first took a simple idea and wrote some really good copy. She is very unsure of her copywriting ability, so it was great to see her experimenting with words and come up with a great solution.

The second took an idea that was good and made it great. The execution was so much better that I expected. If it wasn’t for some small type issues, this could have been the #1 idea of the night.

My third favorite moment was a woman who hates to present. You remember her – the woman who used the word ‘like’ 22 times in one sentence. She has been working really, really, really hard to improve her presentations. And last night was the best presentation yet. Not only was her idea crisp and interesting, but also her presentation was excellent. And not one inappropriate usage of the word ‘like.’

Of course, there were also a few near hits, a few near misses and a few great ideas that were presented poorly. But for the most part, last night was a huge success. Since the work we created is spec work for really companies, I can’t post the winning concepts. I would probably get sued. But you’ll have to trust me, they’re really fun.

And for the guy who had to leave the room because of the flu – don’t worry – I’ll give you a chance to present next week. And thanks for trying.


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