I came across this idea as it was used as part of a recent conference (my emphasis in bold):
PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.
It’s a way to get people to focus on the key aspects of their work/ideas as well as allowing a large number of speakers/viewpoints. It’s all over in 400 seconds, so no problem if one or a few of them are dull or irrelevant!
Obviously presentations need to be reasonably visual as well as textual (the original idea was aimed at creatives). I’m still amazed at the number of people that write lots of text on slides – so annoying – I guess they’re just too scared to write less.
It might be interesting to combine this type of event with a conversation cafe or similar to amplify any new ideas. Interestingly, it draws its name from the Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit chat”).
There’s a good explanation of the origin of the idea and how it’s used on the PechaKucha FAQs. Here are some extracts:
Was PechaKucha the first format like this?
That’s a good question. We have all heard of elevator pitches, a presentation so short you could pitch it to someone in an elevator. 20 seconds x 20 images is a bit longer than that, but the idea is the same: short, concise presentations. As far as we know, PechaKucha was the first to put a limit on the number of images and number of seconds — and the all important auto-forward. There’s no “next slide” or “go back one, please” at PechaKucha Nights
Is PechaKucha Night like TED?
Many people have said “oh, so you’re like a local TED!” A very nice complement, but not quite right. TED is brilliant, but very different to PechaKucha. TED is top down, PechaKucha is bottom up! Deanne the hooper, Astrid’s daughter, or Mark’s mum could not present at TED, but they had awesome stories to share at PechaKucha Nights.
Is PechaKucha Night a social network?
We believe there is nothing social about online social networks, so get out from behind your screen and get to a live event, with real people, real communication, real beer, and real creative fun. So in a sense, we are in fact a “real” social network.
Ignite (where people are given 5 minutes and 20 slides that auto-advance) is very similar. The main point is that there’s a strict time constraint.