OLT – Interesting, but not a pitch?

While I found the Michelle Lamberson interview fascinating¬†(we have very similar jobs, mine is just on a way smaller scale) it didn’t feel at all like a pitch…?


1 David Vogt { 09.09.08 at 8:39 am }

If you know Michelle’s kind of job, you know that she has to be a careful intrapreneur – having a strong vision and goal without necessarily attracting the wrong kinds of attention from the complexly-motivated and not-always-collaborative stakeholders related to her success. Part of that ‘art’ is often making a pitch seem less promotional than it would be in a pure business setting.

2 Mary Burgess { 09.09.08 at 9:35 am }

I guess you’re right, I am constantly having to tell people why I need more staff and money. It’s also a careful juggling act trying to address the needs of all our “clients” – faculty – some of whom are those early adopters and some of whom “just want it to work” as Michelle said.

As a “pitch” it was a lot more appealing to me because it wasn’t such a blantant “we want your money”. I wonder if more entreprenuers vs intrapreneurs took that approach if they would be more successful? Or do venture capitalists usually want the bottom line?

3 Katherine Lithgow { 09.09.08 at 2:02 pm }

I can relate to Michelle’s position as well. How do you support creativity and emerging technologies and at the same time provide support for those who just want things to work? I was impressed by how she was trying to work collaboratively with individuals, and faculty and involve innovators and students. She seemed to clearly recognize that her role included knowing who the right people were to work on innovative projects, at the same time as helping others who may not want to take such big risks.

What struck me most was that all the pitches, especially the UBC IT talked about the importance of having a vision– if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you get there. Was that recombo’s initial weakness- there were so broad they could have ended up anywhere?

4 Jarrod Bell { 09.09.08 at 4:36 pm }

The road less traveled sometimes have many different branches to choose from. Perhaps flexibility to change your direction when the opportunity arose is a key to Recombo’s success. I guess you could see it as an initial weakness as well or why the took a while to get going.

I can relate to Michelle’s position as well. It is difficult to support the diverse needs of faculty and students, encourage creativity, provide service, and stay on budget.

Three pillars that guide me are
1. Do good things for kids (lots of components to this!)
2. Provide a high level of service
3. Keep within the budget


5 Marc Kampschuur { 09.11.08 at 1:36 am }

The “interview” was interesting as it was not overtly a pitch until it was almost over when the issue arose whether the OLT will be around for a couple of years or receive the requisite funds to remain in operation.

Am curious whether Michelle was advised of the questions in advance and provided the opportunity to prepare responses.

Her responses contained various elements of a pitch:
Her title to provide credibility to her point of view;
Reference to the strategic process and vision that produced the OLT;
The organizational structure and its rationale;
How it understands it customers (innovators, faculty…)
The goals of efficiency and creativity;
How OLT differentiates itself from competitors (different user interface than PeopleSoft in its CMS);
The decision making process (servers – compatibility with IT);
How the organization endeavours to remain relevant (links to internal and external stake holders;
How the organization measures its success (consults students) and,
A willingness to adapt to environmental changes.

The interview format provided the opportunity to engage in a soft-sell and allow the Director to present in a comfortable manner to increase the credibility of the pitch.

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