Help us pitch the Culture Squad to cities - feedback needed!

A bit of context: at LOTE in Brussels earlier this year we were advised by key people who like us to develop a brochure style presentation of the team based on what distinguishes our work from other organisations’. The documentation from that session is here.

So we decided to attempt to go for verticalization in Edgeryders -explain why and how we are really good at something - in this case mobilizing collective intelligence for change in cities.

We are working here on the pitch.

What do you think of it? Content wise: is our work clear? what to drop/ add? Any suggestions or new ideas? Feel free to comment straight in the doc or here below.

The next step is to polish the English and beautify. Ideally it should be accompanied by a human explaining the work - so this is a support rather than a document supposed to do the pitching itself.

I would be curious what you think


Overall quite good

Definitely a clearer progression thatn the first draft I saw.  As you note, there are some specific word choices to be changed (“polish English”), so I won’t offer suggestions for that (unless you want me to).  But in the final slide, this sentence, “typically brilliant misfits whom your average human resources derpartments would never ever hire” does convey a big part of what makes ER work, but I would word it to include those misfits and HR departments, but in a way that is less limiting.  As written, I think it puts ER too much into a box.

So I would instead say it something like this, “typically brilliant individuals, often working independently, whom your average Human Resources Department would not find.”


Good point

I concur with @johncoate here.


Hey @johncoate thanks for making the time, very much appreciated. I actually tested that with a friend and got a similar response. It sounds a bit too daring too, so will definitely re-phrase!

How to assess what works…

I moved it around a bit. I think you should cut out the last two slides. Keep it simple. They want to know you can help them win. Introducing new terminology draws focuys away from that.The methodology is only relevant once people are interested and you can build an offer around tat so that there is some skin in the game from the get go: sure we can do a one hour talk about the methodology…for a fee. It works as a good filter too, if people are serious enough to commit some resources then its worthwhile engaging. If not, lower priority.

1 Like

Thanks for re-ordering slides, works for me.

“if people are serious enough to commit some resources then its worthwhile engaging”

For me this is a chicken egg problem - you have to be very convincing so that in return they will commit some resources. But perhaps in practice if someone likes you it doesn’t matter so much that they also get you. So they invest in order to understand the how…

Thanks @Nadia!

The Golden Circle

Hi all!

I’d focus on very, very clearly defining the W’s (Who, Why, What and How).

Pretty much all the information is already there, but it doesn’t completely fit yet, I feel. With “Meet the Culture Squad” you’re making a first suggestion towards who you are, but the only information provided there is concerned with the things you have. You are providing more insight into what EdgeRyders is later in the presentation; maybe provide a one-sentence definition of who you are here already. It makes for a clearer introduction. For instance, look at: (also click on the “what” page) (Oh, and the similarity in names is completely incidental).

I think everything that needs to be said comes together on the third sheet. Here, you’ve basically ordered things already based on the Golden Circle: Why > How > What. Make sure to give each of these points enough space to properly come across to the reader, and emphasize the reasoning, or why it is important. For example:

Why [something along the lines of]: At EdgeRyders, we see that many established institutions and cultural providers do not naturally think in networks. Our philosophy (backed by evidence) is that the collective intelligence of any community is more powerful than its individuals alone. When an administration opens the door, creativity and innovation come in. 

How: EdgeRyders brings together citizens of Europe that are not afraid to look big problems in the eye [insert proper definition here].

What: We call this Edge Thinking. With Edge Thinking we rally citizens to build networks across borders. By tapping into the expertise of many more of the smart, wildly creative people in your community than those already on your radar, the network/community can achieve a shared goal.

We do this in two ways: by teaching people collaboration and effective use of open technologies, and by building a culture and workflow based on openness.

Note: I think “You can do it too” sounds like EdgeRyders is not needed to put this into practice. Say “We can help you achieve this” or something in that direction.

Then, I would go straight to the examples, they make the statements “teaching people collaboration and effective use of open technologies” and “building a culture and workflow based on openness.” a lot more concrete! Maybe even spend a bit more space on explaining what these two statements mean/what they look like.

After slide 9 (“Make culture with people, not just for people”) I would put the offer. Only then the reader has a clear image of what The Culture Squad/Edge Thinking actually is.

Slide 10 (“EdgeRyders is”) looks quite similar to slide 9, which creates some noise. Maybe use the space to define the difference between The Culture Squad and EdgeRyders. The title is quite a hard one to understand, maybe simplify that by simply stating what the sheet is about: “About EdgeRyders”.

On a final note: have a look at this pitch of Duch platform City Challenges. It’s mostly in Dutch, but it provides a framework and outline that I’m sure you can understand.


Super useful feedback.

Coming from a comms expert it means a lot! Edge Amsterdam’s “elite sourcing” is compelling,  but they have more or less standard services eg advertising. This is what took ER years to explore and where we still struggle to put into such short snippets of texts. But if you agree that the case studies speak for themselves,  then we’re improving.

One thing,  although I think with Alex we have enough already to build it up a notch: The pitch positioned at the end (which some ppl think goes better towards the beginning) would need to change to be less generic - my feeling right now is that it gives a potential client too little to say “I want x from edgeryders”.  Of course,  there’s a lot more to making the sale than a slide show :slight_smile:  but I think we can raise the bar with a crazy ambitious exciting offer. Let’s see.  Thanks again <3

With pleasure!

It’s always fun to be a second pair of eyes. This is great :slight_smile:

I agree with your comment; the very first suggestion of an offer is “We do this in two ways: by teaching people collaboration and effective use of open technologies, and by building a culture and workflow based on openness.” < This is what you’re selling, and it’s not clear enough yet! Even as someone who kind of understands EdgeRyders, this is difficult to see in front of me. That’s why the cases work so well: they make it concrete.

Edge Amsterdam is standing out because they’re selling their reasoning (‘we believe in communities’), not per se their services. You can decide to put to offer in the beginning and make for a quick and snappy opening, or start with your why. Since your services are edgy (and therefore possibly not easy to understand immediately) I would watch out with this. In the end, either is fine, as long as you take the reader by the hand and answer each question that might arise.

Heads up: latest version of the pitch

Thanks to @Alex_Levene we have a new version and gathering final feedback notes! I saw two different approaches in the feedback - a preference for a shorter material and strict to the point, and another which seems to emphasize explanation and context giving. I think we went with the former, but still scrapped methodological stuff altogether as per Nadia’s advice.