Pitch Perfect: Readying for #DEFAUS19

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You’ve seen the #DEFAUS19 DEFGRAM, read the manual and seen some of the past pitches. You’re thinking about attending as a participant, or as a pitcher. It seems daunting at first, but there’s that wicked problem frustrating you at work, and your peers have talked about it enough that somebody should just hack it.  #DEFAUS19 is the perfect arena to solve that problem: you have the attention of senior leaders, get to bypass the red tape and make a transformational, maybe disruptive, change to the way Defence does business, operations and training.

#DEFAUS19 runs from 30 September to 01 October, and although pitch proposals are due on the 02 September, there is some flexibility. 

This article is all about getting pitchers to the start line: to email their first thoughts and get them linked in with a mentor. Part II, due mid-September, will help pitchers refine their pitch and deliver a narrative for rehearsals.

The key to pitching well, however, lies in two of the most important tasks pitchers will face: defining the problem well, and then working a feasible solution that Defence will want to buy into. At this stage, don’t worry about being able to present well to the crowd yet – you just have to know the problem well, understand its complexity and the work that Defence might already be doing in that area, and who’s doing it.

If you’re a junior leader who is daunted by this, I understand – I was in your place last year. It took a simple email with the pitch overview to the committee to start the ball rolling: about a hundred words on how to radically solve a battlefield logistics problem. The #DEFAUS committee engaged quickly, and I had a Pitch Overview to share with the online community.

Meanwhile, the #DEFAUS team links you in with a mentor who is familiar with the problem you’re trying to solve. Within the fortnight before the Forum, your Pitch Overview is posted on Grounded Curiosity for feedback from the public and Defence members. This wider network and your mentor ensures you have a deep pool of talent and experience to draw from. Your pitch will evolve with the help of experts and advocates, who might also be able to help you network with industry and academia as well. 

You’ll find that you can quickly gain traction when a good idea meets a great team.Your #DEFAUS mentor(s) will help you brainstorm, craft a narrative and give honest feedback before you start rehearsals. 

If you’ve seen the #DEFAUS notices and think you have an idea to pitch – write that email to defaustralia@gmail.com and register as a pitcher here. Request to attend the Forum on 30 September – 01 October through your supervisor, and ask your unit to either send some junior leaders to support you, or host a live-streaming event: #DEFAUS is made for junior leaders, because the future Australian Defence Force will be lead by us.

By Jacob Choi @choisheungkay