Most Friday mornings in London social media types gather at The Tuttle Club. It isn’t so much a place as a style of doing things, and a moving cloud of conversations gently crafted and convened by Lloyd Davis.
Tuttle started in a room over the Coach and Horses in Soho – as you can see here, together with an explanation of how the Club was named after Harry Tuttle from the film Brazil. Tuttle then moved to the ICA, and for the last couple of weeks has been on the roof of Inn the (St James) Park. Last Friday was a chance to ask Lloyd for an update and test out video on my new iPhone 3gs …. in particular whether I could get better sound by plugging in the headset and waving the mic in Lloyd’s direction.
As you’ll see in the video, Tuttle has been going very well, and has now spawned The Tuttle Team. This is an innovative consulting approach to discover and understand client needs using a process of refinement through three forms:
Crowd: 10-15 of our members meet with a similar number of your people in a relaxed space for free conversation. People are briefed beforehand on the issues facing the client, but the conversation is allowed to wander in the same way that it does at the Tuttle Club itself. It’s an opportunity for blue-sky thinking.
Tribe: 7-10 more specialist contributors are identified to drill down further into issues raised in the Crowd session. These people meet again with a similar number of representatives from the client in a series of short facilitated conversations. The main output is a document detailing what we’ve learned so far, a strategic approach to untangling some of the problems and a few immediately realisable benefits and projects.
Team: 3-5 people come together with specific skills to deliver the projects identified by the Tribe. That is, to do a specific piece of agreed work — writing a document, creating a website, making a movie, working with staff in a mentoring or coaching capacity.
I was in on the first round of a session recently with a client, and I think it worked really, really well. Client feedback was good too. I’ve been in too many consulting situations where we start with the wrong brief because it isn’t until you actually get going that you all understand the situation and what might be possible. The Tuttle approach allows a lot of re-framing, and re-thinking of what skills are needed, on all sides.
Harry Tuttle was a freelance repair man, played in the film by Robert de Niro. The defining Tuttle Team consulting quote is: Sam Lowry: Can you fix it? Harry Tuttle: No, I can’t. But, I can bypass it.
If you are interested in getting help from the team, contact Lloyd, or better still come along and say hello in person on Friday. All welcome. Next week’s Tuttle is going to be rather special. As you can see here it is at Channel 4 with Manuel Castells author of The Rise of the Network Society – who, as Lloyd says, has been influencing thinking about the social dynamics of the web for as long as we’ve had a web. Demand is likely to be high, so there’ll probably be a signup linked from the club event site.
Meanwhile, I’m suggesting over here that the RSA might try some Tuttling for its London City Network meetings. We had something rather Tuttle-ish for a meeting of candidates for the Fellowship Council last Thursday at Royal Festival Hall, and staff are investigating whether there might be some flexible spaces at the House in John Adam Street. I think Harry would be impressed.