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Be Here Now: Mindfulness + Creativity

Every day we move through dozens of spaces and places. We participate in lots of inter-personal interactions, conversations and (god help us) meetings. And we spend bursts of time working alone. But how much awareness do we bring to the spaces and places we inhabit while we're in them? How much intentionality do we bring to our inter-personal exchanges? How much creativity do we foster in our own solo working situations?

Often, not nearly enough. Focus is limited, attention is split, and opportunities are lost. This session will explore purpose-driven approaches to the places, people and situations we encounter every day. With an emphasis on how to be truly engaged in where we are, mindful of what we're doing and focused on helping creativity flourish.

Attendees will come away with ways to be better observers, practitioners, facilitators, managers and leaders. Whether commuting to the office, in a conference room full of colleagues, meeting with clients, or alone at a scree


  1. How can I become a better observer? When you're aware of your surroundings, the world around you becomes a behavioral research lab. Strangers using their smart-phones on the subway or in the grocery store become sources of insight and ideas. And paying close attention to your own mental state over the course of a day can lead to more productive and fulfilling days and relationships. The session will provide examples of observational techniques and the benefits of using them.
  2. How can I become a better practitioner? Focus on the needs of your audience / collaborators as you begin to work. As a UX guy, I see every task I perform as a collaboration with folks in other disciplines. Partner with a content strategist to define information architecture, with a designer to define wireframes, with a developer to define interactions. The session will highlight the intersections of various creative disciplines and the benefits of planning our collaborations deliberately.
  3. How can I become a better facilitator? First, understand that every inter-personal interaction, conversation, meeting and workshop requires a faciltator. If you or your colleagues aren't stepping-up to play that role in the workplace, it's likely going unfulfilled. The session will focus on three types of exchanges — Explore, Decide, Review — and how to go about leading a discussion of each type. (See the video associated with this proposal for an excerpt.)
  4. How can I become a better manager? Great managers are countervailing forces. If an employee is exceedingly tactical, it's up to the manager to help him see the bigger picture. If an employee is too focused on getting every detail perfect, it's the manager's job to help her manage the necessary trade-offs. The session will identify the personality-types and approaches a manager must identify and counter-balance to create a happy and effective working group.
  5. How can I become a better leader? Leadership requires acting in the absence of all the facts. By understanding how to conduct a thoughtful analysis of incomplete information, leaders can often reach confident decisions. By focusing on the details of of what you do know and being mindful of the facts you don't (yet) know, it's possible to move forward with confidence. The session will drive home the importance of drawing a line in the sand. And acknowledging that it's just sand.



Patrick DiMichele, Director of User Experience, Manifest Digitial

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