“PechaKucha®” or “Ignite®”? Just Keep It Short!

The UK’s Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists has decided to offer a series of short presentations based on what is called the Ignite method. Basically it is a presentation format that gives a presenter 5 minutes to go through a set of 20 slides, each of which must automatically advance every 15 seconds.

To be accurate, and avoid the wrath of the trademark police, you may have noticed that in the title we inserted a registered trademark symbol after Ignite because it is, in fact, a propriatory thing. The format is an invention of two employees of O’Reilly Media Inc.,  a company that is a major producer and distributor of books and materials for the computer industry.

The Ignite logo


Here’s the official blurb for the “invention” taken directly from their Ignite website:

Ignite got its start in Seattle in December, 2006, as a personal project of O’Reilly’s Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis. They dreamed up an event where people could share their ideas over beer, and sent word out through their network. On December 7, two hundred Seattle geeks looking for “a fun night of geekery and networking” squeezed into a bar on Capitol Hill. They found beer, but so much more. First up, a friendly but intense competition to build the sturdiest popsicle-stick bridge. Then 25 intrepid locals took a turn on the stage for their five-minute Ignite talks. The consensus was that it was a blast. Word got out, and other communities wanted Ignite in their cities. Brady and Bre turned the event over to O’Reilly, and nearly 200 Ignites have been held, about half of them in the past year. As Ignite enters its fourth year, O’Reilly is launching Global Ignite Week to celebrate, amplify, and share the Ignite phenomenon.

Now, let’s go back a few years earlier to 2003 and few thousand miles east (or west) of Seattle, to Tokyo, Japan. Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture came up with an idea to promote their company by running what they called PechaKucha Nights. The word pechakucha /’pɛtɕaˌkutɕa/ means “chit chat” and the format is that a presenter shows 20 slides, each of which advances automatically every 20 seconds, which is 6 minutes and 40 seconds in all. Oh, and PechaKucha is also trademarked.

Sound familiar?

PechaKucha logo


Or how about Talk20, an organization whose first event popped up in Philadelphia in February 2006, and that gives presenters the chance to talk about any subject they like by using 20 slides, presented at the rate of 20 seconds per slide!

Tempting as it is for the Speech Dudes to invent the Dude Dialog – a presentation that requires 21 slides to be automatically advanced every 21 seconds – the underlying point of all these competing formats is that it is not always necessary to use the standard “25 minutes speech + 5 minutes questions” format to present ideas.  Sometimes, brevity is an asset.

Perhaps the 2012 ASHA Convention could introduce the Dude Dialog session one evening, where folks can present on any topic they like, provided they stick to the rules.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s