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Proximate Causes, Transformers & Tokenizing #MiamiTech

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August 14, 2018

What If We Were Transformers?

What do Transformers, Underworld, an American Werewolf in Paris, and Interview with the Vampire have in common?

(other than a typical Saturday night line up on FX or SyFy channels).  The common denominator is that each explores the very human inclination transform.  Change is a natural condition, stagnancy is not.

Think back to your most vivid transformative experience. Perhaps as a closet musician, it was the first time you heard the song that changed your life.  Maybe it was that one book or movie which reshaped your thinking.  Or, even the trip of a lifetime with late nights or missed flights that left an indelible mark on your view of the world.  Whatever the precipitating factor, at this stage in life we’ve all encountered meaningful transformation.

This begs the question: if we are indeed the sum of our life experiences, then why do we settle for creating products, services or other things that are less than transformative for our users?

There’s no perfect recipe, but at VCM we firmly believe transformation is a product of design. So this week, we’re exploring how.

It was hard to pass grade school science class without enduring the frog dissection rite of passage.  If you completed the task correctly, you never looked at a frog the same way. Whether business or personal, the problems we seek to solve require a similar approach.  You’ve got to get up close and personal!

Though psychologists would advocate that an objective, emotional detachment is healthy, consider the relationship between proximity and problem-solving.  Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, suggests “when you get proximate to the problem you have a greater understanding.”

In an era of increasing polarization, the degree of empathy for our end user or beneficiary of the solution we seek to deploy is all relative to our distance from the people, situations, or problem that challenge us.

Similarly, transformative experiences are so often about being at the right place, at the right time, with the right people.  But, we can also engineer these serendipitous opportunities.  The key ingredient is being intentional about our proximity to others.

In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker reminds us that, “when we don’t examine the deeper assumptions behind why we gather… we forgo the possibility of creating something memorable, even transformative“

So the next time you’re looking for a cool place to network, please skip out on the #ThursdayGathering.  But, if you want to make meaningful connections— the kind that has the potential to transform your current state of affairs— we’ll see you soon.


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