São Paulo, Brazil / October 5-8
Hotel Tivoli

Scene & Heard

by Meg Kinney & Hal Phillips, BadBabysitters


Many Lenses


Many lenses + varied perspectives = a prism for understanding. Sensemaking. Different ways to bend the light toward clarity. Thinking slow and fast. Converting research depth into business value. Framing problems as social phenomena. Changing a corporate mindset from identifying barriers to uncovering needs.

Turning fear on its head and making it work for you. A thoughtfully re-framed question about the marketplace can be the difference between obsolescence and possibility. Finding strategy in an era of discontinuity.

Outside In


Developing empathy for users on the outside as well as stakeholders on the inside. Building innovation culture by filling structural holes—the empty spaces between two people or divisions within a company with complementary information to share. Invoking Flint McGlaughlin: “The separation between strategy and strategist has created a gap between planning and execution.”

Making insights more relatable, sharable, and social. From cheeky illustrations to the currency of a few good slides. Strategy is not declared, it is lived into. Helping clients put the insights to work.

Amplified & Intimate


Conversations both amplified and intimate. Thoughtful silence alongside enthusiastic eruption. Old friends and new members. Purebreds and pound puppies. Everyone coming together in kindred spirit and open mind.

Seeking ideas for how we can go beyond delivering information to delivering inspiration. Human-centered ways to communicate and share. Not merely training our clients but engaging them. Creating community.


North Star

Have a North Star. Be it the general and/or the particular. What’s perennial and what’s annual? A reminder to stay reflective and reflexive; and to keep your soul fed. Think about how to make things that last. Create an atmosphere; a place where people want and need to breathe.

As we study and ponder new and enduring socio-emotional relationships with our devices, don’t forget to ask, “what is polite?” Statistics are meant to open conversations, not shut them down. Humans need privacy, safety, and security. These are not the same things. Small acts and big contexts. What are you doing, everyday, to make change for good?



Along the path of data collection, don’t forget about the story you want, and need, to tell. The Good Fairies who portend an imagined world of better access to health. The hockey teens who have played 900 games in 17 years. The yearning for connection that compels hacking a digital platform to find anonymous expression of love. The symbolism and human exchange of values through a postage stamp.

Don’t let the process trump the cultural contribution you are trying to make. Insert timeless emoticon <here>.

Lost & Found

That moment when you realize EPIC people are your people. A place where your radical ideas of empathy, inclusion, and human consideration find a home – regardless of how inarticulate you might be on that particular day you are trying to convey the sincerity of your intent. A place where your untethered concepts can go and be certain they can find a home until they are ready to be released into the world.


Power of Love


From loving what you do to figuring out how to love yourself. The more experiences you are exposed to, the more subtleties you are able to detect and enjoy from each next future experience. The power of a frame, of Punk, of a sportscaster, and a taxi to change how we see the world. Feminist knitters and rickshaw riders. Small units of people who get stuff done. Follow your bliss.

Keep Participating


Have a “Co-Do” attitude. A participatory spirit. Open the aperture, open the process, and open your arms to invite others in. Enroll makers. Have patience. Be willing to make a sacrifice if it serves the human side of the equation.

Ethnography helps you live longer. Ethnography makes the world a better place. Ethnography makes you taste life more intensely.

Divorce Nothing!

Embrace new ways to tell a story that mobilizes. Continually re-think the deliverable. Return back to the fundamentals: observation, the body, unstructured activity. Keep pushing. Keep disagreeing. Remember those on the lower tiers of the organization. Be polygamous. We’re not just a conference, we’re a community now.


It Takes a Village


What is empathy? Two thirds of the world’s population lives with less than $8 USD per day. What happens when data is used to describe a culture? It fixes it in time and we risk stopping to really think about it. What happens when management is so far away economically from the people hired to sell the goods? Re-think what constitutes the field. The object circulation of a small chapel. Deep hanging out with an algorithm. Giving journalists a more nuanced understanding of whom they imagine they are writing the stories for. We all play our small part and the sum of it is the world being a better place.

Love is the Killer App


New relationships. Between tangible and intangible assets. Between brothers and sisters. Myriad interpretations of what the words “life balance” mean. They can be loaded words and throwaway words. Don’t be afraid of the tedious tasks because something beautiful may lie within. The world’s problems, especially poverty, are multidimensional. The #1 challenge for global inclusion is scaling. How do you extract meaning, insight, and ideas and transfer them to scale? Love scales.

New Friends, New Routes


Feel. Think. Do. Go forth. Choose your route. Use the learning. Find ways to create value for all. Inclusive business. Start the conversations. Broaden concepts of innovation. #globalgoals. Link value in your community. Local. Global. Find your way. Ask for help. Don’t be a stranger. Save the date! Minneapolis, MN, USA 2016.