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In Pitching Projects and Products to Executives, author Dane Howard interviews executives and product managers from renowned design firms and corporations like Google, Apple, and Adobe, who share their insider take on how to effectively move projects and product ideas forward. Video and multimedia producer Richard Koci Hernandez weaves the interviews together into a captivating visual narrative. The soft skills course shows the practical techniques, processes, and communication styles employed to sell to executives more effectively, and to bring ideas to life.
Dane Howard: Do you ever wonder how some of those creative projects get approved for development? Get built by teams? Or even produced for TV, film, or software development? I did. I am Dane Howard, a 17-year veteran designer and entrepreneur. For years I developed my craft to help create the great creative execution. One of the things I never learned in school was how to move that creative initiative forward. How do you give it a chance to succeed, whether a project was pitched to a client or inside a Fortune 100 company? How do you set up your creative projects for approval? How do you best prepare to get the funding, headcount, or even get the project off the ground? Well, I wanted to share key things that I have learned on the job from some of the smartest people I know: my colleagues, collaborators, and some of the very executives that have helped give me the skills and approval to move these projects forward.
Charles Warren: I think my whole thing with pitching is, no, there should never be a high-stakes pitch. If it's a high-stakes pitch where those 15 people in the room, there shouldn't be any surprises to you at that point, right? If there is a crucial stakeholder, you want to get them involved early and have it be very informal, and have a lot of options, right? So I think there's no news in the big pitch. Diana Williams: What I think is important, if you actually want to get buy-in on any project: you need to do your homework; you can't just go and wing it.
You need to understand what competitors are doing. You need any type of metrics or analytics. You need any additional insight that makes your idea believable. Charles: The big mistake that younger product managers and engineers make is they spend a whole lot of a time setting up what it is that they are going to talk about, when basically, you just want to show it, right? But they're so proud and nervous that they have to go through all these like "And then and this and this. Blah, blah, blah." So my thing is just put it out there as quickly as you can.
Michael Gough: Never make it your idea, and that might apply to absolutely everybody. Everything you're doing around building consensus for an idea, or building enthusiasm around the idea, is never reinforce the point that it was your idea. Albert Tan: One of the most important things of any designer is to realize that they don't exist in a bubble. One of the most important skills that I've learned is to socialize.
Michael: So I have a very strong belief that the higher fidelity, the better off you are. I'm kind of an anti-design strategy person-- at least I am accused to being anti- design strategy--in that making the thing, the closer you can get to actually making the thing, the closer you are to really apprehending all of the challenges. So the best work happens when there is no distinction between design and making. Charles: The taking something and putting it in, in an executive's hands, or the equivalent of that as quickly as possible, is so important.
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