In our series of introducing inspirational prezi authors and their works, we have a very interesting person for you to meet today. Michel Bauwens is founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives and works with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. He has been an analyst for the United States Information Agency, and knowledge manager for British Petroleum (where he created one of the first virtual information centers) as well. Michel used Prezi for his TEDxBrussels talk this Fall and kindly answered our questions after the conference. We wanted to know his points on how to create a good prezi, and what are the most important considerations when speaking in front of an audience.
First, thanks for choosing Prezi for your talk at TEDx Brussels! What motivated you to decide to use this tool instead of your old presentation software?
Having worked for business for two decades, I'm of course very familiar with ppt, but always thought it had negative side effects, in promoting linear thinking modes and bite sized communication, but there were really no alternatives that I knew of. When I saw Prezi, I immediately thought that this would be something qualitatively different. In my vision of it, it's a universal canvas in 3 dimensions, where I could throw a synthesis of the findings of our 10,000 page wiki at p2pfoundation.net, then create various paths for various audiences. The possibilities to create all kinds of non-linear visualizations is a real added value.
How do you think Prezi and mindmaps relate?
Mindmaps are fine, but they generally do not allow for sophisticated presentations for demanding audiences, and Prezi offers that.
You have kindly offered your prezi to our community for reuse. How do you think presentation remixing and knowledge sharing can affect the way we tell our stories?
In my case, what I would love is for people in the open, p2p and commons oriented communities to use the Open Everything mindmap, which is the essential part of the presentation, and to indeed consider it as a full universe; and another layer would then be the many different paths for different audiences. I see infinite possibilities. Because it is so easy to add video, audio and all kinds of graphics and visualizations, it's ideal for narrative approaches, and for more empathic communication.
How did Prezi help you explain your topic at TEDxBrussels?
My talk went well overall, but given the short time, 18 minutes, I regret that my path contained too much material for such a short term. Choosing is difficult, but a must.
What would you suggest to new Prezi authors--what are your key considerations when building a public talk?
For me the challenge is to keep the balance between the overall view, and the detailed approach, and to create a interaction between the whole and the parts. I still think that for non-techie guys like me, making a Prezi is still a challenge, but perhaps that's because I lacked any training.
Michel's prezi took just a few hours to create: it's based on his Open Everything mind map that we have imported in .pdf format. Then we built relations and created a storyline in Prezi with frames to zoom on, and a path to walk through.