Pitch & Perfect

When planning the ‘Trialling of Online Collaborative Tools for BCE’ project our team discussed various methods for identifying and selecting the nine trials required to take part.  After much deliberation the team decided upon a model/method/framework (call it what you will) of ‘Pitch & Perfect’.  We must stress the pronunciation of perfect as ‘puh-fect‘.  The overall approach can be defined as follows:

  1. Call for expressions of interest (EoI) which consisted of 2 sides of A4.
  2. Follow up 12 EoI’s to further develop their idea and pitch to a panel of critical friends.  The pitch includes an opportunity for discussion to ensure a clear understanding of the proposed trial.
  3. Choose 9 trials to participate in the project and perfect a project initiation document (PID).

This isn’t necessarily rocket science but a very useful process.  The initial EoI reduces workload on those HEIs/FECs looking to participate in the project by simply asking for an overall outline of their idea.  If the HEI/FEC is unsuccessful they haven’t wasted a great deal of time and effort.  The project team use a pre-defined marking scheme to identify successful candidates to take part in a pitch to critical friends.

Those identified as potential trials are then asked to provide a more detailed project plan (the puh-fecting) and present their idea to a set of critical friends.  Documentation is required before the event takes place so that critical friends have a chance to familiarise themselves with the project.  The session itself, or pitch, comprises of the following:

  • Brief introduction from Project Manager (2min)
  • Trial pitches their idea (10min+/-2min)
  • Discussion (30min)
  • Critical friends thoughts on the project (approx. 20mins)

This particular project saw 11 potential trials over a 2 day period with one presenting on a separate date due to mitigating circumstances.  All of the potential trials were required to give face-to-face pitches.  The project team felt this necessary to get a feel for the potential partnerships, engendering trust and also to ensure a fair process.  We must stress that this is a very intensive process for the critical friends, not to be underestimated.

Once all of the potential trials had their chance to pitch, the critical friends made a final decision on those successful in their bid, in this case 9 outlined in the ‘project partners announced‘ post.  Again, a pre-defined marking scheme was used to finalise this decision.  Those successful in their pitch are then asked to finalise a PID including any conditions identified by the project team. The project team and potential trials are then ready to hit the ground running, kicking it all off with a start-up meeting.