HOW Design 2012 in review: Part four

Monday, June 25, 2012

This is a continuation of HOW Design 2012 in review: Part three.

HOW Design Conference 2012 I am attending the HOW Design Conference 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Below are my notes from the sessions I attended on Monday.

9:45 am-11:00 am – 36. Matters of WonderJustin Ahrens
All good art possesses a bit of wonder—a touch of mystery, beauty or uncertainty that draws the viewer in a little closer to the artist’s angst. Graphic design, on the other hand, is often approached as an “output,” telling the viewer what to think, rather than inviting them in to an encounter with wonder. In this session, Justin Ahrens will explore the art of wonder through film, story and design, examining the ideas and projects that cause you to look at things with a refreshed perspective. You’ll get suggestions on how to bring a little wonder, mystery and story into both your life and work, and learn how that one little change can shift the way you view each day.

  • Session hashtag: #HOWwonder
  • Blog group he’s part of: (“Wonder” backwards)
  • Go through your old boxes from childhood and find your wonder.
  • “Think and wonder. Wonder and think.” – Dr. Seuss
  • This American Life with Ira Glass
  • The Force: The VW Passat Darth Vader commercial
  • Why wonder?
  • It matters how you show up. (Your approach to situations in daily life.)
  • Authenticity cultivates wonder. Be authentic and real.
  • Revisit the wonder you pursued as a kid.
  • Johnny Cash as the father of authenticity: “Hurt” video (see June’s look at him from the stairs)
  • Authenticity cultivates wonder; Wonder is all around you; Are you willing?
  • It matters how you create.
  • You can find wonder in the absurd. Example: Pixar’s Toy Story (the toys have their own lives and conflicts) and Monsters, Inc. (the monsters are more scared of us)
  • Create space for wonder in your life. Example: A Renaissance fair opened space for his creative exploration about other absurd things (like the inner life of an orange LEGO Storm Trooper)
  • Narnia’s wardrobe and monsters in the closet: you don’t know that they’re not really there. Entertain the absurd.
  • Wonder may (and only) appear when there is space for it.
  • It matters how you live.
  • “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein
  • Photographer Vivian Maier: daily portraits
  • Elevate the beauty in the everyday. (A photo a day? What can you do for you?)
  • It matters how you see.
  • “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • Sudan trip with Life in Abundance: part of it was taking and distributing photos to people who had never seen themselves, and watching wonder emerge.
  • You can’t manufacture/manifest joy; it just needs to happen.
  • Be authentic, be absurd, see the beauty in the everyday, live in a way that welcomes wonder, and see through others’ eyes.

11:15 am-12:30 pm – Closing Keynote – 38. Release Your BrillianceSimon T. Bailey, Brilliance Institute, Inc.
Brilliance might seem like an unattainable goal – it’s something you’re born with, right? Not necessarily. In this attitude-changing Closing Keynote, Simon Bailey will explain the core principles of creating personal and professional brilliance. You’ll learn how to define, develop and sustain brilliance within yourself, discover the three key elements that should be driving your productivity and see how you can effectively remove the barriers to high performance.

  • Session hashtag: #HOWbrill
  • A job is what you’re paid to do. Release your brilliance is what you’re made to do.
  • Build your life around who will be crying at your funeral.
  • Three questions to discover your brilliance:
    1. What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?
    2. What would I do if no one paid me to do it?
    3. What makes me come alive?
  • “You’re weren’t born to fit in. You were born to be brilliant.”
  • Brilliance is your insight, your potential, your genius. It’s when you’re operating in flow. It’s about what you’re becoming. It’s when you’re aligned, when you’re operating in emotional congruence. (Your soul is not split.)
  • Brilliance is released in an environment where you are celebrated rather than tolerated.
  • How to be brilliant, in four parts.
  • 1. Be a storyteller
    • When do you know it’s time to release your brilliance? When you come to place where you’re uncomfortable being comfortable. Get out of your comfort zone.
    • You exist right now to be here and be different and make a difference.
    • What can I do to make a difference?
    • At work, what does my leader and team honestly value about me? If you don’t know, find out. That’s your brilliance.
    • At Disney, he was once a boss with an agenda instead of a leader with a vision. Prioritized checking projects off his list instead of building a creative, engaged team who loved their work enough to be brilliant.
    • What’s right about you?
  • 2. Be intentional
    • The different between being effective and busy. Effective people are always asking questions. They want to know how to best focus and engage their creativity.
    • The secret to brilliance and living brilliantly is hidden in your daily routine. For example, take 15 minutes every morning to: meditate (5 minutes), read something that inspires you (5 minutes), stretch/align your body (5 minutes), and be ready for the day.
    • Life is too sweet to work for jerk people who don’t get you.
    • When you love what you do, you don’t work, you play. And when you play, you release your brilliance.
    • When I choose to be intentional, I release the need to be right. Listen, with your heart. And follow your gut. 80% of your nervous system is in your gut; it’s your intuitive intelligence.
    • What you want wants you. (On a quantum or even spiritual level. The universe responds positively to your intentions.)
    • Failure is not final, it’s feedback.
    • What do I want? Why do I want it? What am I willing to do or give up to get it?
    • Who in my life stretches and challenges me to be the best that I can be?
    • Transformation is one inch from you. What I say out of my mouth meets me in the future.
    • Be intentional about creating the future, or it will be created for you.
  • 3. Be sticky
    • How do we take what everyone else is also doing and make it special/sticky?
    • Who talks about and promotes you (your brand) when you’re not around? A good brand means you created a positive experience for them, and the story stuck.
    • Companies create Director of Employee Engagement positions because they realize that if employees don’t feel the love, they will have a “whatever” attitude.
    • What’s your stickiness? Why you? Why now? What do you need to let go of so you can let it come?
  • 4. Be a brilliandeer
    • Original meaning of brilliandeer: a jeweler who cuts small facets on diamonds to make them sparkle from the inside out
    • Genius/brilliance gets buried by society, as social constructs and responsibilities are forced upon us. He cites the same 98%/2% longitudinal creative genius study that Sam Harrison referenced in the opening keynote. Almost all children are creative geniuses, but few adults are.
    • Brilliandeers become gamechangers: Change doesn’t happen to you. Change moves through you.
    • How do I own what I do?
    • Stop apologizing for your brilliance. Don’t play small.
    • What are you paid to do? What are you made to do?
  • His new book: The Vuja dé Moment: Shift from Average to Brilliant
  • What are you going to do to turn and face what you might be running from?
  • In closing: “I love you, I believe in you, and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it.”

Thanks, Boston. On to New York City.

Hopefully I will be back at HOW next year in San Francisco.

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