As a nervous and insecure first time intern at NBC Universal, I remember too clearly the horror and fear I felt the day my supervisor told me that every member of our Business Development team would need to develop and present an original business idea once every two weeks for the rest of the summer.
Despite hours of preparation, I stumbled through the first presentation and in hindsight, both my powerpoint and idea were amateur. As I sat through the other presentations, I realized that my idea seemed juvenile in comparison because every other presentation was business oriented down to the last detail, complete with complicated financial data. Although my power-points began to look better in time and I became slightly more comfortable with the verbal presentation, my ideas were more often along the lines of “wouldn’t it be great if this is possible” than business practical. In spite of my self doubt, my supervisor reassured me that my ideas were fresh and “out of the box”.
Fast forward two years and my biggest professional struggle now is fighting to stay relevant and updated on industry news while attending school in upstate New York – a far cry from when I lived and worked in the heart of New York City. Although I regularly use social media, I know little about changing industry trends and news when away at school. When I received an email from my school describing an opportunity to be a contributor on Ketchum PR Agency’s crowdsourcing forum, Mindfire, it seemed like the perfect solution to my problem. On one hand, I could refresh my business idea development skills and on the other, I could stay relevant by reading about how college students from all over the world would approach public relations and marketing challenges.
My experience with Mindfire has been even more rewarding than anticipated. Aside from identifying some of the current challenges in the industry, Ketchum encourages participation in the forum through a points system. Every idea or comment posted, in addition to the promoting or demoting of other participants’ ideas earn a user points. After the accumulation of a certain amount of points, participants could be rewarded with career training and advice. In addition to professional development and learning to apply creativity to practical problems, my favorite part of the program is being able to work off of the ideas and comments of other students, most of whom think so differently from myself.
As an extra incentive, the student who came up with the winning idea wins a money prize. Thus far, I have been fortunate enough to win twice. The Mindfire team often says that our brainstorming and ideas help keep the Mindfire burning bright. For me, however, Mindfire reignited my creative fire that had long been out since my days in the Business Development department.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about the public relations and marketing industry or just thinking of fresh ideas should definitely take advantage of everything that Mindfire has to offer. As my teachers often like to say “no idea is too dumb to share,” right?
To learn more about Ketchum Mindfire: http://newsroom.ketchum.com/news-releases/ketchum-expands-its-global-creative-firepower
Celeste Ho is a junior majoring in Communications at Cornell University with a focus in Media Studies and a minor in Business Management. She was born in Hong Kong and currently resides in Queens, New York.