2013 Sessions

As with every Planning-ness, we’ve asked people from a wide range of fields to teach some of us what they know. And to help this feel even less like your typical advertising conference, we’ve organized the sessions into workshops, not speeches. Each session will consist of:

  • 30-45 minutes of teaching
  • 45 minutes to 1 hour of you putting that into practice
  • 20-30 minutes of evaluation and discussion

Please choose your sessions using the form below. If you do not choose sessions, you might not be able to get in to the session of your choice as space is limited.

There are some details of the sessions further down the page.



How to be Fabulous

Amit Gurnani / Sheila Dubaii

For Sheila Dubaii, being fabulous means putting together a glamorous look and entertaining an audience. For you, it (very likely) means something else. Fabulous is your state of mind when submerged wholly and unapologetically in something you love. This session will show you how to embrace that part of yourself, transform what you touch into unexpected insight, and make ‘being fabulous’ the sparkliest new item in your planner toolbox.

How to Create Better Connections by Understanding the Brain
Dr. Carl Marci

Take a tour of how the brain manages connections and relationships with one another and with brands with Dr. Marci, social neuroscientist and chief research officer at Innerscope Research.  Dr. Marci will give an overview of how human empathy networks mediate connections between us and how those same networks allow us to engage with media and marketing messages.  Examples from academia and from Innerscope will be used to illustrate important points.  The goal is to learn how to use a new knowledge of how the brain works to build stronger brands.

How to Turn Data Into Design
Erik Brown and Michelle LeClerc

Humans have always found comfort and gained knowledge from storytelling. From cave drawings to fairy tales, stories help humans process and understand the world. Data is no different. In this session you’ll learn how to bring data to life in clear, compelling ways through the information design process, from research to analysis to layout. Key takeaways will include topic identification, wireframing, and graphic design.

How to Stay Connected Through Improvisation

Harold O’Neal

In life, there are many paths of discipline and insight. Regardless of the vehicle, the internal process is the same. Come join us on this journey as we learn more about ourselves and others through improvisation.

How to design a city with a city
Dan Pitera and Krista Wilson

There has been a consistently unresolved debate on whether grand citywide urban visions and the ideas of an individual citizen can coexist. We often hear that civic engagement means we have to abandon the tools of our discipline and accept mediocre products. This workshop will work through another position where robust civic participation in the design process does not mean that we have to abandon the tools of our disciplines. But to do this we need to look beyond large community meetings, focus groups and pubic hearings—to move beyond merely asking questions. We will discuss how to design a process of design that can naturally include diverse people in the decision-making process without compromising the outcomes. Part of this discussion will occur through identifying two sets of tactics: 1. Tactics to enter into a dialogue; -and- 2. Tactics to celebrate the dialogue once you are in it. This workshop will ask the participants to consider how civic participation can be a catalyst for urban innovation—How people can be key operators in inspiring and creating a new ecological and equitable urban revitalization.

How to reinvent invention

Heidi Dengelmaier

Years ago scientist and designer Heidi Dangelmaier realized that there was a strong disconnect between what she was being encouraged to produce in the tech world, and what she felt was growth producing and socially sustainable. Following that intuition, she spent years doing research with young Post88 girls, a generation that has demonstrated untraditional responses to mass media and culture.  To her great surprise, her intuitions of a missing link had very little to do with girls but were indicative of a thinking disorder that helt back innovation at large.  This work resulted in her pioneering an advanced science of invention and design based on activating the hidden and untapped feminine dimensions.

In this talk, we will teach you that thinking like a girl not only secures your clients the future female market, but also leads to products that generate explosive business growth as well as advance social wellbeing



How to fight a war
Casey Haskins

How come we’re so good at solving some problems (planning a conference, for example), but so bad at others (figuring out whether a speaker will be any good or just a waste of time)? How is it that we can do all the right things and do them well—just like a case study in business school—and still get mediocre results, yet someone else can stumble around and still hit it big?

That’s what happened to the Army in Iraq, and it took a while to figure it out. Eventually we discovered that we’d been looking at the problems the wrong way, and that what worked for solving one kind of problem didn’t work at all for another kind—it actually made things worse. This session will be an attempt to distill that lesson. I’ll teach participants how to distinguish between the two most common types of problems (complicated and complex), and give them the very basics of how to think about them. Participants will then practice applying what they’ve learned.

How to turn data into design
Erik Brown and Michele Leclerc

Humans have always found comfort and gained knowledge from storytelling. From cave drawings to fairy tales, stories help humans process and understand the world. Data is no different. In this session you’ll learn how to bring data to life in clear, compelling ways through the information design process, from research to analysis to layout. Key takeaways will include topic identification, wireframing, and graphic design.

How to create computer-free digital experiences
Vladimir Pick

The worlds of hardware and software are colliding: from art to intelligent robots, our interactions with the digital world are moving beyond the computer screen. The digital layer around us is ever-present and ubiquitous, and our interactions increasingly happen through a network of connected sensors and haptic devices. Learn why this matters for your job and how to design digital experiences that bridge the physical and digital.

How to Get People Talking About Your Stuff
Johah Berger

Word of mouth is 10 times more effective than advertising.  And much cheaper.  All you have to do is get people talking.  This session will show you how.  Based on the New York Times Bestselling book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, you’ll learn the 6 key STEPPS to driving word of mouth and how to use them to get your product or idea to catch on.

How does content really spread
Sam Ford

The most revolutionary change in the media landscape today isn’t that any of us can be a publisher; it’s that a good portion of us are now directly involved in the circulation of media content. Even when that content is still produced by media professionals and marketers, the distribution of that content–and the context in which it is received–is increasingly outside the control of the companies that produced the material. The predominant metaphors we’ve used to understand digital content–from metrics of stickiness, to concepts like “memes” and “going viral,” to the myth of elite “influencers” who the rest of a community follows like sheep–have sought to help the media and marketing industries retain that control, but they do little to truly understand how things spread. This session will explore these distinctions and look at what really drives content to spread. Participants will then take a case study (TBD, depending on what’s topical) and–using their wifi-enabled devices–break into teams to research the origins of how/why a piece of content spread–relying on looking at the context of how people passed it along, and not just the final numbers. We’ll then come back together to discuss our research and what can be gained from understanding how people actually chose to spread content, not just that it was spread.

How to design for children
Ben Durrell and Megan Dickerson

The world is in big trouble. Is it possible that only Captain Underpants can save it? Dickerson and Durrell will present their thinking on how adults can find their places in approaching kid’s play (and making stuff for it). This is less about a magic formula– if there is one, we don’t have it. This is more about finding a disposition that allows us to provide the conditions in which children create their own experiences. As Brian Sutton-Smith writes, “The adult public transcript is to make children progress, the adult private transcript is to deny their sexual and aggressive impulses; the child public transcript is to be successful as family members and schoolchildren, and their private or hidden transcript is their play life, in which they can express both their special identity and their resentments at being a captive population.”

How to apply Predictive Analytics to Marketing Challenges
Doug Levin

Today there are numerous challenges facing marketing departments in businesses. One of the most significant for marketers of all sizes is the need to gain “actionable” insights from the ocean of data that includes social media, real-time and mobile and an enterprise’s legacy systems. This is one the significant challenges and promises of “Big Data”.

Predictive Analytics is regarded as one of most important ways marketing departments can derive and put into practice mission critical insights derived from Big Data. The goal is to ultimately become a catalyst for creating a new “data centric” business culture. This “Planning-ness” session will provide a survey – using a non-technical approach – of how predictive analytics can be put into daily practice in marketing organizations of all sizes – from large enterprise to a modest small business.

A hypothetical case study based on the firm “Lucy Couture”, an eRetailer, will be used to illustrate just how predictive analytics can be easily and almost effortlessly used to help the CMO achieve their goals for increased revenue and improved profitability. It is a very exciting journey that is happening today. Come join us!

How to Make Good Decisions
Francesca Gino

Simple and seemingly irrelevant factors have profound consequences on our decisions and behavior, diverting us from our original plans. Most of us care a good deal about being consistent—we care about following through on our goals and wishes. And we also aim to behave in ways that are consistent with our self-image as capable, competent, and honest individuals. But often, without our knowledge, subtle influences—often unexpected—steer us away from what we initially planned or wanted. As a result, our decisions fail to align with our best intentions. The goal of this sessions is to learn about the main forces that derail our decisions and a few simple principles who can help us stay on track when applied systematically.

How to create a leaderless revolution
Carne Ross

In the last 18 months the world has seen a dramatically different kind of popular movement shake governemnts all over the world. Carne Ross, a former British diplomat, executive director of  Independent Diplomat and author of :”The Leaderless Revolution: how ordinary people will take power and change politics in the 21st century”, will discuss  the fundamentally different nature of the world in the 21st century, and how it demands new forms of political action and collaboration. Then Carne will take participants into an exercise that explores how groups collaborate, and why face-to-face interaction retains its unparalleled power as a form of influence and cooperation.  Change can now reach further than ever, but we have to learn how.

Social TV: How to Create Connected Media Experiences.
Henry Holtzmann

Television is not changing: television has changed. In the last few years “television” went from a living-room staple to portable mobile devices, from a controlled distribution system to an over the Internet offering, and from a single stream to an increasingly connected and social experience. What is next?

In this workshop, Henry Holtzman will get the brainstorming going by presenting a mix of projects from the Media Lab’s Information Ecology research group as well as his social TV project-based class, and share thoughts on the future of TV. This work spans the fields of next-generation social TV experiences to how we interact with smart, connected devices and how they connect with each other.

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