Dear Lean Kanban Aficionado,
With any luck there’s a conference coming up later this year: Lean Kanban Australia/New Zealand, or LKANZ if you like, (pronounced el-cance, rimes with bell dance). It’s the southern hemisphere extension of the famous Lean Kanban conference series. This year the series consists of 10 conferences, well, 9 actually, and we want to make the 10th happen in Melbourne, Australia, on 12th-13th September – with crowdfunding. We need you for this, so please read on!
We, that is Ben Hogan, Jason Yip, Steve Godbold, and I. We’re all passionate about Kanban, and we all raised our hands when David Anderson, sponsor of the Lean Kanban conference series, asked who’d want to organise an Australien LK conference. We said “Yes!”, but soon discovered some blocker in our flow: no money and no people (here aka conference attendees).
This will be the first Lean Kanban conference on the Australian continent, and we have no idea if there are enough people attracted to it, so that we don’t end up with a huge debt. Sponsors are attracted only when you can assure them that their money will be spend effectively, i.e. they want the promise that there will be enough attendees. No idea about the number of attendees leads to no sponsors willing to give money, which could possibly lead to no conference at all.
Crowdfunding is a way to fund an idea, say, a new product, by a crowd of people before you actually start to realise that idea. If you know how many people are attracted to your product, you can make serious decisions: Should I go on with realising this product? How much should I invest in this product? What is it that the people like the most about the product? You’re a Lean Kanban aficionado, I should not need to tell you about the least responsible moment for decision, real options, early feedback and fail fast, balancing demand and capacity, build-measure-learn cycle, the pull principle, etc. (Or should I? Well, then you have to check out this conference, because there you’ll here everything about it there! – End of short commercial break -)
We try a crowdfunding approach with LKANZ, our new product. Have a look at our crowdfunding campaign on Pozible, the Australian crowdfunding platform. We designed an outline for the conference, including a funding goal. The funding goal is the minimum amount of money we need to make this thing happen. Then we asked people if they’d attend such a conference (that’s what you’ll read here in a second, hang on).
It works like this: if there were a conference like LKANZ coming up later this year, would you buy a ticket to attend? If so, you pledge to buy a ticket right now, but you only have to pay when we reach our funding goal with all the pledges combined. If we don’t reach that goal, no money will be transferred. That’s it, basically.
It’s a low risk approach for all stakeholder, that is …
- … for our customers, the potential attendees of the conference out there, and for our potential sponsors (yes, they can pledge to sponsor us, too!): they only have to pay for tickets or sponsorship packages (or other pledges) if the conference will take place.
- … for us, the organisers: we don’t invest a huge budget on a conference without knowing that there will be enough people out there who’ll enjoy it.
Worst thing that can happen here: we learn a lot with this approach.
Check out the LKANZ campaign on Pozible. This is what you could do:
- You can pledge to buy a very early-bird ticket (they are limited!), to attend the speaker dinner, and several other things (see the column on the left).
- You could help us to find more sponsors. They, too, can pledge to sponsor us directly on the website. Maybe it’s the organisation you’re working for who’d be interested to boost the Kanban market?
- You could spread the word: tweet about it, write on Facebook walls, email friends and colleagues, shout it out on the streets.
Whatever you do, I’d very much appreciate it!
Thanks heaps for your attention!