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Configurative Montage

Presentations with the brakes off

Presenting at your audience is never a great approach. But PowerPoint, for all its power, isn't really equipped to adapt to a two-way conversation. Sure, you can use key strokes and mouse clicks to jump from one place to another, but what about when you want to discuss figures, capture responses or even simulate your drop-dead software system?

My Configurative system was born out of a need described by a client back in the nineties. Sunterra International ran sales operations in coutries all over the world. Their sales proposition was essentially an enhanced form of timeshare, a concept which they fully understood was tainted by the industry's poor image. As a high-profile, ethical company, they were determined to change this perception.

They were currently using PowerPoint to make their pitches, but as a result had no control over what was actually presented to prospects.

Here's the set of challenges they set for me:

  • It must be possible for the local representatives to tailor the system to their audience
  • This tailoring must be limited to ensure that prospects were given the full story, including commitments like management charges etc
  • It should be possible to monitor individual presenters' paths through the presentation, including time spent on each topic
  • The system must be remotely updateable to ensure prices and resort details were accurate
Books by Jem Shaw

If you're looking for books and short stories by Jem Shaw, then you'll find them in their own sub-site by clicking below.

Pitch Perfect?
guitar tuner

Are you pitching the right proposition? If the rest of the world is anything to go by, then probably not...


Clearly, PowerPoint wasn't going to do the job! So I set about writing something new.

I'd become proficient at producing interactive products for the likes of Marshall Cavendish and BBC Worldwide. These used Macromedia's (later Adobe's) brilliant Director development platform. I saw that this could provide a base for the tools I needed and set about creating the system that would become Configurative.

It worked. The customer-facing product featured over two hours of superb quality video, professionally voiced and with a specially written music soundtrack (composed by my son Adam - talented sod). Behind the slick frontage was a sophisticated, remotely updated management system that gave detailed, hands-on control of exactly what was happening at the remote sites.

Sunterra management screens

Probably the most complete implementation of the Configurative system is the presentation suite we developed for TNT Fashion Group. You can see it in action by clicking here.

Now that PowerPoint's animations have become slick and smooth enough to become actually usable I find that the Microsoft option is usually the right one to go for, but whenever there's a need for something off-map, Configurative is the tool that delivers the goods.

Configurative at Work

Interactive Panel

This is an interactive piece, designed using my Configurative system for touch screen use by museum visitors. I took a high resolution photograph of the Classic Air...


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Demo Inside a Presentation

This example uses my Configurative system to embed a fully-featured software simulation inside a sales presentation. I produced it for Global Payments so that they...


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Steam Power

This is a Configurative application developed for a well-known railway museum. It simulates the operation of a locomotive's compound cylinder. The slider on the...


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The Sky's the Limit

Here's another Configurative system born out of the dangers of two creative bods being allowed to work together. Steve Purser at D&G needed to present a tricky...


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Powering Up TNT

The TNT Presentation Hub was a great development environment for Configurative. It was the first iteration of the system at its full potential, allowing TNT Fashion...


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Little Jem at ebay

Steve Purser at Domestic & General is almost certainly the most creative and daring presenter I've worked with. Steve completely gets the concept of grabbing...


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