2014 Sessions

Use the form below to choose your sessions for Planning-ness 2014.You can find a description of each session at the bottom of the page.

How to hack electronics

Robert Gallup

Prototyping is central to any design process. From study sketches for paintings, to architectural models, to thumbnails and design comps. Prototypes allow us to see, touch, feel and refine an idea before committing to it. This is no less the case in the expanding world of ubiquitous computing, Internet of Things, and tangible interaction. Only the tools differ. Starting from zero, through hands-on activities with a microcontroller and electronic components, this workshop explores the basics of tangible digital prototyping. You’ll learn how to connect LEDs, buttons, and knobs, then program the microcontroller to define behavior. This knowledge can help you better understand the tools and process of designing and developing tangible products.

How to maximize flow (and be happier, more creative, and have way less brain chatter)

James Brown

When we’re in a state of flow we perform at our peak, and enjoy ourselves immensely. These are the best, most creative experiences of life. But for most people these flow states are rare and fleeting. Why? Because too often our minds are spinning out of control. A recent study from Harvard showed that most of us spend almost half of our lives trapped in a non-stop stream of brain chatter. Sound familiar? Please join creative-director-turned-meditation-teacher James Brown for a workshop in which you’ll discover the factors that prevent us from being present, and get a taste of a simple, effortless meditation technique that uses your mind’s natural ability to settle (yes, even your mind), so that you can reduce stress, focus better, and cultivate your ability to flow with life.

How to Manage Office Politics

Bill Gentry

Are the politics in your organization wearing you down? Do you have a challenge at work that you are struggling with because of the inter-office politics? In order to be successful in workplaces that are inherently political, you will need to develop political savvy to effectively influence others and obtain your goals. My research has shown that developing and enhancing political savvy can be instrumental in increased job performance, promotability, and the likelihood that people will not derail in their career. In this session, you will gain clarity around what politics really is in organizations (it’s not necessarily bad), what it means to be politically savvy (it can actually be a good thing to be known for), and how you can use your political savvy to more effectively navigate challenges at work and facilitate your own career success.

How to Understand Creativity

Lisa Azziz Zadeh

In this session we will discuss some neuroscience studies that reveal how the brain works during creative problem solving. We will then translate these into actions that could be taken to promote creative thinking. Finally we will break into groups and apply what we have learned to generate creative solutions to a problem.

How to be courageous

Jeff George

How many times have you had an idea that you could imagine being great, but then let it sit dormant in your mind rather than bringing it to life? Ideas are all around us, but only a few of them ever see the light of day. Why is it that some people pull the trigger or “take the leap,” while most of us find excuses, leaving our potentially winning ideas hidden. In this session, we’ll explore the psychology and sociology of courage, and examine some of the barriers and gateways to courageous behavior. Using lessons from entrepreneurs, athletes, and others, we’ll learn how to be courageous – as entrepreneurs, as planners, and as people.

How to do low fidelity data mining

Ian Fitzpatrick

It’s never been easier to solicit and aggregate troves of data, but mining them for meaning that informs customer insights and great brand experiences requires that you build a homegrown toolkit for processing information quickly and at minimal cost. In this session, we’ll talk through a framework for building your own data toolkit, the means by which you can extend it to suit your own particular curiosities and perspectives, and the platforms and tools that will be integral to making this toolkit useful on an ongoing basis. Working knowledge of HTML, PHP and SQL certainly not required, but a broad understanding of coding basics will come in handy. All software, example code and documentation will be available for download following the session.

How to Launch a Crowdfunded Product

Jess Seilheimer

Crowdfunding is more than just “merchandising” a cool idea– it’s a new way of using the community to commercializing a product. To break through all the noise and vaporware, it takes a well defined strategy and marketing/pr efforts to achieve a desired level of awareness at launch, that converts to campaign backers who financially support your product (so you can manufacture it).

How to Find the Ordinary Extraordinary

Megan Averell

Ordinary is defined as “not unusual, different, or special”—essentially, a synonym for boring. To call someone or something ordinary is perceived as an insult. But why is it that we are so quick to put negative connotations around this word? The majority of our lives are made up of ordinary things that might seem small, but can be some of the most meaningful parts of our days. In fact, our Facebook feeds are riddled with little moments someone was compelled to post, and someone found worthy enough to comment on. Despite this, advertising tends to value the extraordinary, reaching for something greater or more improbable in executions, in an effort to create engagement. But what if engagement (extraordinary) requires a trade-off with the relevance (ordinary) the ad industry also seeks? This session will look at how to strip back our fascination with the extraordinary, and get in touch with ordinariness. And we’ll discuss what we, as planners, can do to bring the ordinary back from discredit, and with it, bring back some relevance.

How to Raise Venture Capital

Jamie Davidson

The first major barrier to launching your own business is funding, but this session will help demystify the process of raising venture capital. Jamie will cover everything from theory and best practices to common mistakes and how to avoid them. After a review of the fundamentals, we’ll break into small groups and put these new learnings into practice to pitch a new venture.

How not to see

Alexandra Horowitz

In this talk I’ll apply lesson learned from studying dog behavior to changing what you can see when you step out of your own home and go for a walk. We will hit on the art and science of attention; perception; and every person’s Umwelt. At its end, we will know how not to see — and how to see what we have missed all along.

How to get the most of mobile marketing technology (so you can build a better relationship with customers)?

Hugh Reynolds

Digital marketing isn’t just about creating digital ads. Today there is a whole new raft of technology driving that can improve the interactions brands have their users, especially with regard to personalization and particularly in mobile. But with a huge number of acronyms and vendors the space is confusing. In addition, its easy to be cynical about the ability of these technologies to do more than “interruption marketing”. In this session we’ll give an overview of the tech landscape (with a particular focus on mobile) , discuss how to build a good marketing technology stack and (importantly) how to ensure you are getting the most out of this most  pervasive  of digital relationships

How to Hack Your Brain and Apply the Science of Learning and Memory To Your Life

Andrew Smith Lewis

Does “brain training” actually work? What research-based methods can you tap into to optimize your own performance? How can you bring these practices into both your personal and professional life? In this workshop we will discuss current research on learning and memory and what we can actually do to improve cognitive function.

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