Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lessons for Association Management from South Park Creators

I know I've been posting a lot lately but my brain has been on fire with all of the cool stuff I've been running across.

Today I ran across a story about Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park and other most excellent entertainment pieces, where they ambushed a class on opening day at NYU to talk about the process of writing.

Here's what hit me.  In it they discuss their creative process and how when they are designing a story they try to ensure that each piece can stand on it's own and the narrative between the pieces is not "and then," but instead it's "therefore" or "but."  Think about that.  Boring narratives have "and then, and then, and then," but exciting narratives have "this, therefore this, therefore this but that..."

What could we do with this pattern if we put it into our association culture?

How about a conference?  What would change in our narrative about conference if we shifted from Continental Breakfast "and then" Breakouts "and then" Lunch "and then" Breakfast "therefore" ??? "therefore" ??? "but" ??? "therefore" ????...

How about our vision and strategic environment?  What if it wasn't vision "and then" membership "and then" programs" and then "newsletter" but was vision "therefore" ???? "therefore" ??? "but" ???

How about the narrative surrounding our careers and those resumes we've been brushing up?  I got this job "and then" I moved to here "and then" I ended up there versus I got this job "therefore" I ??? "therefore" ??? "but" ???.

Just some food for thought peeps. Scramble up your language and see what happens.  Let me know what you come up with.....


  1. So interesting to listen to of them. What they describe is certainly what I associate with The Book of Mormon. I often think about how to manage/facilitate the "in between" in learning experiences, be it a conference or an individual workshop. I think how we frame, describe, and attend to that connective tissue is what distinguishes OK experiences from ones that are more robust.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Shelly. It is such a simple but powerful device for building intention into what your association does. I read this blog post, THEREFORE I will approach planning the education at our next conference using this technique. It's working already!

  3. You guys are so great!

    Thanks for the comments....intention is such a huge part of it...:D

    I appreciate the readership....


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