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  • Purnima Thakre

Curiouser And Curiouser: Insights From our October 2018 Innovation Showcase

At refine+focus, we believe that connecting different perspectives helps drive innovation, growth, and insight. At our October 2018 Curiouser & Curiouser innovation showcase, we turned these beliefs into action. Over good food and even better conversation, we gathered individuals from across industries to spark an evening of idea sharing.

The event

Each Curiouser event is about building connections – between people, ideas, and experiences. We invite people who span industries, generations, and global perspectives. We gather with the simple purpose of sharing ideas. Along the way, attendees often swap stories, personal passions, and lessons from personal experiences.

How it works

Curiouser is all about building a space where everyone can feel brave enough and safe enough to share the ideas that matter to them. Each attendee arrives armed with an idea. From these ideas grow conversations, questions, and a wealth of inspiration for each attendee to return home with. We promise that each attendee will meet at least one (though often many!) people who interest them throughout the evening and won’t leave the event without one or two new ideas that excite them.

What we discovered

The October Curiouser event had no predefined theme, yet many natural connections cropped up between the ideas that attendees shared. We discussed storytelling and art, strategies of personal improvement, and how we each choose to help and serve our communities. Each idea was rich with meaning and opportunities for further exploration.

Eduardo Pujol – How do we value nostalgia? Though companies are constantly focused on innovating to create the next big thing, they are perhaps overlooking consumers’ desires to tap into nostalgic preferences, like the simple pleasure of a vintage record, an old-school Nokia cell phone, game console, or even memorable childhood TV cartoons.

Chaya Pomeranz – Coaching can catalyze both professional and personal growth. Yet, it’s also often lonely and inaccessible. The Coaching Fellowship is working to change that. By providing free coaching to young women as well a community of people who want to help young women succeed, TCF helps invigorate women to fulfill their potential as global leaders.

Christopher Haylett – As automation continues to replace jobs, could Universal Basic Income (UBI) be a more effective social safety net than existing social welfare programs?

Pankaj Jethwani – In India, 43% of children are malnourished, yet the needs of India’s vulnerable children are often disregarded. The Breakfast Revolution is working to help solve this issue. It runs holistic programs to help educate communities about malnutrition and provide tasty and affordable nutritional meals for communities in need.

Katie Martensen – Gratitude is not only a feeling – it can be a practice as well. By keeping a daily or weekly list of things that you’re grateful for, you can learn to live more presently, less anxious, and increase your happiness. That’s because you can’t physically hold gratitude and anxiety in your brain at the same time – Psychology researchers have proven that human beings can prevent stress and unhappiness by listing three things that they are grateful for each day.

Amanda Lewis – The traditional Japanese art form of Kintsugi embodies the beauty that exists in the broken. By repairing broken pottery with a paste made of gold, silver, or platinum, Kintsugi artists turn broken pieces into a more-beautiful whole. This philosophy teaches us to value the breakages in our own lives, and then put care into piecing them back together.

Purnima Thakre – So you think you can’t dance? Don’t worry, Artificial Intelligence has solved your problem. Engineers at UC Berkeley have created an AI program that can turn a few photos of you into a complete dance video.

Greg Harris – The Alexander Technique is the attempt to increase our consciousness of these small movements – our hunching, our clenching, and our personal ticks. By becoming aware of these movements, we can become the agents of our own bodily comfort.

Ornella Boti – How is art evolving? In a recent exhibition in Paris’ first digital art museum, visitors walk through art by using projections and music. As a result, art is not only something that one can look at – it’s a fully immersive experience.

Michael Cucurullo – While travel photography can capture a specific moment of a trip, sketches can encapsulate a trip’s character. That’s what the bike tour catalogue, Ciclismo, is attempting to do for bike trips. Rather than simply map out the route, the sketches in Ciclismo capture the underlying vibe of the places that cyclists can ride through.

Zach Braiker – For one tiny restaurant in Maine, eager diners can only make reservations by postcard. It’s called The Lost Kitchen, and each summer, the restaurant is completely booked up. By breaking from restaurant reservation norm, this restaurant paved its own brand of success.

AK Ikwuakor – Modern technologies like phones and laptops seem standard today, yet were inconceivable mere decades ago. What further technological development is human innovation capable of achieving?

Nicholas Abruzzo – Our phone cameras allow us to constantly document the world around us. Yet, their ubiquity can also strip the meaning from their photographs. By using polaroid photographs to capture portraits, we can create a more authentic representation of who a person is.

Rebecca Redelmeier – ProPublica’s recent foray into community-driven reporting demonstrates how journalists and content creators can build connections through social media that are more powerful than a simple like or share.

Ellen Krause-Grosman – Empowerment self-defense for women aims to equip women with the tools to disrupt violence in real time, be comfortable standing up for themselves, and assert themselves in multiple different environments. By equipping women with the self-defense skills that help them feel safe, we can intentionally build communities that are inclusive of women’s’ needs.

Glenn Morgan – Through having empathy for all living beings – even for those who have committed crimes and done us wrong – we can empower our own healing and help to strengthen our communities.

An invitation

Did any of these ideas resonate with you? Are you interested in developing authentic personal connections while sharing great ideas and engaging in thoughtful discussion? Check out our Curiouser page to stay in the loop about future events. We can’t wait to hear what ideas you have to share.

Cover image by AAron Lee Kuan Leng

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