Introducing … PechaKucha Presentations!

The Innovation Fair is six weeks away! If you haven’t started building your prototype you need to start as soon as possible. In the meantime, this post will introduce a major piece of the Innovation Fair project.

You will need to create a PechaKucha Presentation for your project.

“A whatcha whocha presentation!” you say.

“A PechaKucha Presentation,” I reply.

A PechaKucha Presentation (pecha kucha means “chit-chat” in Japanese. Click here to hear the proper pronunciation.) is a special type of slide presentation where you will create a slideshow of 15  slides for individuals and 24 slides for groups, that will each be up for 20 seconds. Your slides will be pictures with no words…oh, okay, maybe a few words if you absolutely need them, but most of the information will come from your oral presentation. No words on your slides means that you will talk, and we will listen while looking at your pretty pictures without being distracted by having to read a bunch of stuff. Your whole presentation will be 5 minutes for individuals (15 slides X 20 seconds = 300 seconds = 5 minutes) and 8 minutes for groups (24 slides X 20 seconds = 480 seconds = 8 minutes = 2 minutes each).

How do you create one?

Develop your story 

Successful PechaKucha Presentations tell a story. The story you will be telling is the story of your innovation. You and/or your group and your projects are the stars of this presentation. Choosing a theme for the presentation will help you draw your audience into your story. Possible themes include:

You are trying to sell your innovation on a Home Shopping Network type show or infomercial.

Your innovation is going to save the world and you will explain how.

You are trying to teach your viewers how to recreate your innovation.

You could present the timeline of your project in the style of a 1940s-style newsreel.

…among other ideas.

Whether you choose to use a theme or not your story will need to inform your audience about your project. Think of the IDEO video. Here are some questions that you may want to answer in your story:

What problem does your innovation solve?

Why is your innovation important?

Were your client’s needs met?

What did your assembly process look like?

What were some challenges you faced in your innovation process?

How did you learn from your failures? What did you learn from the project in general?

Who will benefit from your innovation?

If you were to continue prototyping, what would you change with your next prototype?

What was the funniest thing that happened during the project?

What would you do differently next time?

Gather your images 

Once you have decided on your story you need to select your images. The majority of the images in your PechaKucha presentations, preferably all, need to be ones you’ve created. Most of them will be pictures you have taken, but they can also include drawings, or any other digital images you’ve made. The images should help you tell your story. They need to provide your viewer with visual information that supports what you are saying in the presentation.

Organize your PechaKucha on presentation software

You can use a variety of applications to organize and present your slideshow. These include Smart Notebook, PowerPoint, Google Docs Presentation, Keynote, Prezi, Empressr, and many, many more. Get your images up on that software and make sure the timer is set to show each slide for 20 seconds when in slideshow mode.

Practice, practice, practice! 

Practice your presentation. Now, do it again. And again. A couple more times. Almost there. At least one more time. Great! You are ready to present.

Examples, hooray! 

Finally, here is a link to a bunch of PechaKucha presentations at Here’s is one student’s presentation from two years ago. Take a look at a few to get the feel for this presentation style.

Presentation will be due on Monday, March 4th. We will randomly determine the order of the presentations and will start on that Monday.


Materials & Procedures Due

Hopefully your innovation fair project has began to come into fruition! Brainstorming and planning should be complete or in it’s final stages. It is now time to gather your materials and write a procedure for your innovation project. To help you stay on task, I’ve assigned a detailed list of materials, including prices, quantity, and location of materials to be due MONDAY 01.28.13 along with a detailed chronological procedure. This will help you continue to progress exponentially. Please mention the completion of your materials list and procedure in your first journal entry.

How to Write an I.F. Journal Entry

This post will show you how to write a journal entry for your Innovation Fair.

Each journal entry should be typed, printed off and signed by each member of a group. Remember to only sign off on journal entries if you concur with the writings your peer has created. If a student works as an individual, signing the entry is not required. Each entry should have the following headings written in bold. You may cut and paste the headings below for each entry.

Innovation Name:

Hours Worked/Date:

Witnessed by:



The Name of your innovation may change as your project changes. Be sure to update it.

The Hours Worked/Date will help you keep track of how much you have worked on the project.

The Witnessed by is necessary so that someone else is confirming your innovation process.

The Notes section will be the main section of each entry. Here you will describe what work you’ve done on your project. You can summarize the work you’ve done, list new questions that have come up, identify problems, or mention what your project plans are for the upcoming week. If you’re in a group you may also include what you have contributed to the group’s progress since your last entry and what you plan to contribute before your next entry. Your journal is your recording of the story of your innovation process, which includes your failures. Remember, “fail often in order to succeed sooner.”  Since you are typing your entry, you can also include links to resources, patents, pictures, or anything else that you’ve run across that has helped your innovation process.

The Drawing/Photos section is for you to post visual evidence of your progress. You can add screenshots of images you find on the web or pictures you’ve taken of your invention in various stages of completion. You can also take digital photos of any drawings and add those. Save these images because any images you collect will be useful for your presentations as well. If you do a thorough job on your journal entries, the slides for your presentation will be much easier to pull together later on.

See below for an example of a journal entry.

Example Entry:

Innovation Name: Stuffed Animal Wake-Up System

Hours Worked/Date: 1-3pm on January 18th and 7-9:30pm on January 24th

Witnessed by: Ms. Takes


I came up with the idea to innovate my alarm clock by combing a stuffed animal and an alarm clock so that I can sleep with my alarm and it would wake me up. First, I needed to do some research to see if it already existed. I found something similar. I went to Google Patent Search and found that a stuffed bear clock has already been designed, as well as a pillow with an alarm clock. These will give me a good idea on how to design my innovation.

Drawing of the Stuffed Animal Clock from its patent proposal.

Drawing of the Stuffed Animal Clock from its patent proposal.

The pillow with the alarm clock patent specifically mentions that it can be adapted to stuffed animals so I will have to change my idea in some way. I brainstormed a couple of new ideas like a stuffed animal alarm that doesn’t turn off until you hug it, or one that talks and tells you what you have scheduled for the day, or one that’s also your phone charger. I decided to change my idea to a stuffed animal alarm and phone charger. I google searched “stuffed animal phone charger” and found an Instructable that described how to make one. The procedure involves some electrical wiring and sewing so I will need to either teach myself how to do those things or find someone to help me. I think I will start by making a small prototype following these instructions and then see how I can improve or expand the design.


The stuffed animal I will use in my first prototype

The stuffed animal I will use in my first prototype.

I.F.: Final Proposal

The final proposal will describe the details of your innovation project. It should be a continuation of your initial proposal, filling in all details that were unknown previously, but are important to add now. Below is a sample final proposal. Please type your final proposal and add it to your innovation fair folder. The final proposals are DUE 01.23.13.

Innovation Fair 2013 Final Proposal

Title: Weather vane and anemometer mix: “”Ane-vane”

Purpose: To provide the NNMS garden with a weather instrument that will determine wind direction and wind speed.

Research: I searched Google patent to see if an “Ane-vane” or anemometer and weather vane mix had already been innovated. I couldn’t find any evidence that made me think my innovation was not original. Now I will research my idea to see how to build the Ane-vane and begin to gather a list of cost associated with the construction of the Ane-vane, including materials. Next, I will start designing the blueprints and then I will start building the physical prototypes.

Why I Chose this Innovation: I chose to innovate something for the garden because I wanted to leave something that NNMS could use for a long time. Additionally, I would like each level of the school to have an instrument in the garden that will let them know the wind speed and velocity outside. Weather vanes and anemometers are important because they can help us determine weather patterns within our microclimate.