The Successful Publishing Fusion Workshop
The Publishing Fusion Workshop was run in early January by the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, supported by Creative Skillset. The Workshop took place in Oxford when the city was flooded, roads were closed and travelling times were twice what they should have been. Not an auspicious start to the three days! And yet the Workshop became a place of genuine excitement and creativity. The Workshop was focused on how publishing needs everyone to have creative, digital and entrepreneurial skills and that whilst many people going into the industry have one or two of these, few have all three. The idea was to develop delegates' skills in a way that would allow them to think about their work in new ways and take back practical ideas to their work place.
Inspiration and invention was the name of the game!
The success of the course was largely because of the highly motivational speakers many of whom showed how, by stepping out of the mould, they had been able to take their ideas to new levels.
Craig Taylor talked about the writer as entrepreneur and showed us some of the innovative born digital narratives already out there, encouraging delegates to be open to thinking about publishing texts they already have in new forms.
Emma Barnes, MD of Snowbooks, shared her experience of building a successful business with just two people, and stressed the importance of breaking down limitations to what is achievable. You don't know how to do it? Teach yourself?! Her mantra was that metadata is crucial to everything.
This was also emphasised by Eric Huang, Development Director of Made in Me, who gave an inspirational account of his career from the Disney Corporation, Penguin and Mind Candy, where he helped develop the international Moshi-Monsters brand.
Rebecca Smart, MD of Osprey Publishing Group fired up everyone by encouraging the group to take control and develop their careers by developing relationships with their managers so that their ideas are heard and taken seriously.
Graham Crossley, International Sales Director at Taylor & Francis talked about how to make in-roads in developing markets and why, if you want to succeed, it's so important to understand the context in which different markets operate.
The delegates were understandably nervous about the session on creative leadership run by Piers Ibbotson, because they knew it was going to involve drama! But under Piers's experienced guidance, we were all soon playing games and having such a good time, that even the most self-conscious delegates were clearly enjoying themselves and at the same time realising how so much of the communication of leadership is non-verbal.
The final session was a talk by John Mitchinson, co-founder of Unbound. His talk brought together many of the themes of the Workshop: knowing your audience, hearing what they say and understanding what they want, and being prepared to give it to them in new ways. After his session, John stayed on to be on the panel listening to the delegates' presentations of the born digital projects they had been asked to create at the outset of the Workshop. As the Workshop was residential, the delegates had been able to work on their projects in the two evenings, and what they produced was quite extraordinary. Divided into five separate groups, they each came up with ideas for new products - often apps - they were definitely commercial and viable. In fact, several of them have plans to try and implement the projects after the Workshop!
Feedback from the Workshop was excellent.
"I thought the course was fantastic - one of the best I've ever been on. Very inspirational and interesting. I can't rave enough about how great this course was. Far exceeded my expectations. I can't wait for the follow-up day. And please run it again, as soon as possible, because I want to send my entire team on it" wrote one delegate.
"The course really opened me up to new ways of thinking about my own commissioning" wrote another. "Very good and brilliantly inspiring" said a third, and "the project was excellent...very enjoyable".
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