Pecha Kucha for scientists? I’d love to participate

Pecha Kucha Night was invented four years ago by 2 architects, Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, in Tokyo. During the event each presenter is allowed 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds each giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. According to Wired journalist Daniel H. Pink: The result, in the hands of masters of the form, combines business meeting and poetry slam to transform corporate clich into surprisingly compelling beat-the-clock performance art.

Pecha Kucha (Japanese for “chatter”) is practiced by architects and designers but it is easily and naturally transferable to science. It is a usual homework for scientists to make presentations for conferences, Journal Clubs, angel investors or for the public. But the design element is usually not well developed, the information component is overwhelming and scientists have poorly or never been trained in the art of public speaking. Just like laboratory websites, science slideshows are good targets of further education.

Imagine an online Pecha Kucha event/competition for scientists where participants can clap their hands by voting for the performance, information, design, entertainment, humor factor of each presenter/slideshow. Fortunately we already have the services who are able to host these Pecha Kucha events: Bioscreencast, JoVE or SciVee just to mention the ones that first came into my mind.

Of course the real Pecha Kucha event is originally offline, and eventually scientists should prove themselves in front of a flesh and blood audience.

12 thoughts on “Pecha Kucha for scientists? I’d love to participate

  1. Having spoken at such an event, Ignite Seattle, where we get 15 seconds a slide, I’d like to add that the offline version is about the most fun event that I have had a chance to watch and participate in.

  2. 20 Slides, 15 seconds per slide and you don’t control the slides.

    Ignite Seattle was the first of the Ignites (it’s since spread) and started by Brady Forrest (whom you might have met at Scifoo) who writes for the O’Reilly Radar and organizes a bunch of conferences for O’Reilly and Bre Pettis who works at Make magazine (also an O’Reilly product). The event actually has two parts; a maker event organized by Bre and a series of Ask Later talks organized by Brady. From what I can gather, the Seattle version is still the best 🙂

  3. Ok, so Ignite is really the Pecha Kucha of tech savvy folks. My first impression was that Ignite is the variant of O’Reilly. One FOO at SciFoo, with whom I met earlier at the EUROSCON/Maker Faire in Brussels last year, asked me which place to suggest for Ignite in Central Europe, so they are expanding, which is good. I want such an event in New Orleans, too. 🙂

  4. It’s not just tech … a lot of the talks at Ignite are non-techy, although almost always geeky. At the last Ignite Seattle, talks included those on how not to get bored, how to hack chocolate, and previously talks on how to build a beehive at home and how to eat out. It’s simply a whole lot of fun.

    As for venue, don’t do it in a regular auditorium. While the CHAC here can get too hot and crowded, the intimacy goes a long way in inspiring the speakers. Being on a proper stage with the audience far away, not quite as much fun.

  5. Attila,

    I whole-heartedly agree with you that P-K would lend itself nicely to the sciences. My wife and I are both Evolutionary Biologists in NYC and are thinking about forming a Evolution P-K group here.

    It is such an easy format – try to start one and let everyone know how is turns out.

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