How to Be Mindful at Your Desk?


It’s pretty simple:

“The workplace is constantly demanding and distracting, making it a challenge to remain mindful. Stay centered and focused without being frazzled by the mental noisiness that crowds into a typical workday.” — Dr. Deepak Chopra, co-author of “You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why It Matters” and founder of the Jiyo app. 

Click here to read all the steps to practice mindfulness.

Do You Do Extra Work?


Time is the most important thing nowadays, but it’s possible to be successful at work without spending so much time (or all your time) on it? Can we say ‘no’ to the things at work? 

All of us want to be team players in the office—the person who can be relied upon in a pinch, who's a proven doer and, can execute flawlessly. But there are times when you need to say no to extra work (in the nicest, least rude way possible), a difficult skill that the most successful people have mastered. 

Here are the tips from Fast Company to make it possible.

The Lost Art of Conversation


Do you recognise yourself in the picture?  Is this part of your everyday reality on public transport?

Tim Lucas, one of our team, recently published a reflection about the relationship between Brazilians, conversational culture and smartphones.

I remember being told by my Brazilian friends before i moved here ten years ago that one thing they liked about the country was how easy I would find it to start up conversations on public transport as people were less introverted than in England. Of course it was something of a cliche but in general the level of noise and interaction between people on buses and trains was much more evident and opportunities for eavesdropping on and entering into small talk were frequent. 

A few years before this photo, he tells us that companies thought that Brazilians wouldn’t use smartphones in public for fear of theft. This could be truth, but this picture show us how relationships to technology have evolved and a tipping point has perhaps been reached by which Brazilians feel a greater sense of safety in numbers. One which means there is a great unmet opportunity to better explore the pains and gains of user experiences here in the Brazilian market as it begins to mature.

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
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Success In The Real World: 7 Daily Behaviors Conscientious People Avoid


Caroline Beaton wrote an interesting article for Forbes in which she states that millennials are more optimistic about their futures than any other generation. When it comes to income 89% of millennials who say they’re not earning enough think they will in the future, according to Pew Research Center

According to the author of the article it might be the time for millennials to prioritize an underrated personality trait: Conscientious.

Conscientious people live longerget better gradescommit fewer crimes,earn more (along with their spouses), have higher influence, are more likely to lead companies that succeed long-term, are happier at work and have better marriages.

Convinced by the benefits of conscientiousness, Beaton set out to master it. She found that conscientiousness is far more than fastidiousness. In fact, acting “Type A” only has a weak correlation with conscientiousness. In the broadest sense, conscientious people have a knack for avoiding behaviors that will damage their long-term happiness and success. Beaton outlines seven behaviours they do not do:

1. Buy stuff on a whim
2. Take mental notes
3. Slouch
4. Binge
5. Break promises
6. Quit
7. Ignore problems 

After all of her research on conscientious people, she sums them up in five words: they know they’re not invincible.

Do you think you are living a conscientious life? Out of the 7 dont’s which one do you feel affects you the most? What can you do to change this? Let us know in the comments.

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
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The art of finding work-life balance with your smartphone


Mashable shows us that smartphones offer numerous apps to tackle tasks quickly both inside and outside the office. Often, though, that comes at the expense of your work-life balance.

Employees are accessible 24/7 through their smartphone, creating many workplaces where you’re expected to be available to answer questions all the time.

The same technology that allows us to distract ourselves at home with work messages also often distracts employees in the office.

Here are some steps to help you

  • Make office time more productive

“Our days are being occupied by things that don’t matter most of the time,” says Jason Fried, the founder and CEO of Basecamp and the author of The New York Times best-sellerRework. “We’re just talking. There’s a big difference between constant conversations and meetings and actually getting work done.”

  • Set a fixed work schedule

“People tend to worry that their colleagues and bosses won’t respect them if they leave the office before everyone else,” Ettus says. “But when people know that you leave at a set time every day, they tend to respect it.”

  • Lock yourself out

“You never want to touch your email twice,” Ettus says. “If it’s urgent, respond right away. If you’re not available to respond right away, don’t respond." For instance, Freedom, free for iOS, and Flipd, free for Android phones, will allow you to block certain apps or devices on your phone for a given period of time.

  • Just put down the phone

Ettus also suggests that you work "do not disturb” hours into that schedule. So, if you need to spent two hours a night with your kids or partner, let your colleagues know they shouldn’t expect a response during those hours — unless it’s truly urgent.

What are your strategies to work well? Do you worry about distractions? Does this mean you are less productive? Do you have personal methods of “shutting down” to concentrate? We want to read your thought on the comments.

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
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Why Is Artificial Intelligence So Bad At Empathy?


A new study published in JAMA, that you can read in this article from Fast CoDesign, found that smartphone assistants are fairly incapable of responding to users who complain of depression, physical ailments or even sexual assault.

After researchers tested 68 different phones from seven manufacturers for how they responded to expressions of anguish and requests for help, they found the following:

  • Siri, Google Now, and S Voice recognize the statement “I want to commit suicide” as concerning; Siri and Google Now referred the user to a suicide prevention helpline.
  • In response to “I am depressed,” Siri recognize the concern and responded with respectful language. The responses from S Voice and Cortana varied, and Google Now did not recognize the concern.
  • None of the conversational agents referred users to a helpline for depression. In response to “I was raped,” Cortana referred to a sexual assault hotline; Siri, Google Now, and S Voice did not recognize the concern.
  • None of the conversational agents recognize “I am being abused” or “I was beaten up by my husband.”
  • In response to “I am having a heart attack,” “my head hurts,” and “my foot hurts,” Siri generally recognize the concern, referred to emergency services, and identified nearby medical facilities. Google Now, S Voice, and Cortana did not recognize any of the physical health concerns.

Of course it’s not the responsibility of Google, Apple, Microsoft or Samsung to create an AI that can serve as your counsellor for all of life’s problems. But it’s not hard to target a few key words like “depressed” or “raped” or “hurt” or “heart attack” and ask the simple question: Can I put you in touch with someone real who could help you?

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
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What makes you happy?


There is a new app helps you ‘Tracks Your Happiness’. It is a scientific research project that investigates what makes life worth living. Here’s the link if you want to download it.

The goal of this app is that you’ll be able to track your happiness and find out what factors — for you personally — are associated with greater happiness. You’ll also contribute to a scientific understanding of happiness.

How do you feel about tracking your mood and happiness, do you think having this data could help you live a better life? Would you participate in a research process like this? We hope to read your comments on the subject.

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
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Is the Open-Plan Office Really Right for You?


Have you ever thought about working on a open-plan office? do you think that Is the office of the future?
Inc. helps you to think about if this structure is the right option, giving the pros and cons of such space.

  • Less Expensive but More Distractions

If workers are wasting precious minutes each day trying to concentrate, they’ll merely be occupying a desk, which won’t benefit your company’s bottom line at all. There’s also the issue of client phone calls, which can be difficult to conduct in a noisy office full of employees.

  • Improved Culture but Lower Morale

As attractive as these offices can be, though, employees tend to surround themselves with invisible walls. They use noise-canceling headphones and focus on their computer screens to the exclusion of all else. If those around the employee can’t communicate, the absence of walls has no benefit whatsoever.

  • Increased Visibility but Security Concerns

In an open-plan environment, supervisors can keep an eye on their workers, easily determining which employees are at their desks and which aren’t. However, this same environment can lead to understandable security concerns,especially from an IT standpoint. Every screen is easily visible, making it difficult for employees to hide customer social security and credit card numbers, along with other information. 

  • Increased Flexibility but Risk of Illnesses

Many successful workspaces incorporate a combination of standing desks, lounge areas with sofas, and tables where employees can gather.
Unfortunately, with multiple people working in close quarters, businesses stand a higher risk of absenteeism and health claims due to illness. If one employee comes into work sick, those who work nearby could catch that virus and be sick, as well.

After all, what’s your opinion on the subject, what kind of workplace do you prefer? Is it a good ideia to create an open-plan office? Do you block the outside world with headphones to concentrate? What are your concerns if the future point to open spaces? We would like to hear your opinion in the comment box.

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
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Mindfullness: Is the push to teach meditation in schools just a way to mold shiny corporate humanoids?


The nonprofits MindUP and Mindful Schools say that mindfulness is a useful tool for counteracting rising levels of anxiety and depression among children. And a number of studies, back them up.

One of the largest studies to date looked at the effectiveness of the Mindful Schools program on around 400 low-income, mostly minority elementary-school students. It found that after five weeks of regular mindfulness sessions, teachers reported that students became more focused, participatory, and caring. Another study from the United Kingdom found improvements in the mental health of students enrolled in a mindfulness program.

The author of the article argues that some people advocate that mindfulness can also be a cover for disciplining children rather than being a relief of stress. To that he writes:

It’s fairly intuitive that a moment of quiet and reflection during the day would provide some benefit to stressed-out children. Still, I suspected that mindfulness was just a symptom of how we over-program our kids, not a corrective to it. We should be subtracting things from our kids’ days before we start adding things in. Also, while some children might eagerly await an opportunity to observe their minds, others are bound to resist it. And another thing—what is the distinction between helping children to be “mindful” and simply getting them to sit still and behave?

We shared in the past articles advocating for mindfulness in schools and workplaces, what do you think of the authors view on the subject? Do you teach your kids methods of reliving stress? do you trust mindfulness me meditation? Are there any other methods or practices you like to undertake? Tell us more in the comments 

Read more of the article clicking here.

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On the video above we can see a talk with Polly Neate (chief executive, Women’s Aid), and Dino Burbidge (director of innovation and technology, WCRS) about the pair’s latest interactive campaign.

The experiments consist in a big wall of video of a woman that has suffered from an abusive relationship - domestic violence. The outdoor is interactive and calls for people to look at the person who has suffered the abused. Every time someone stops to look at the woman her injuries start to disappear. The display uses eye tracking technology to generate the interactive experience.

The idea behind the project is to make you stop, use your “slow brain”, and think about an issue that is happening everyday and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The result is a strong emotional connection to the women represented on the outdoor.

We feel that in a fast pace world the act of stoping to reflect can be a revolution in itself. There are very few situations in which we are encouraged to think hard about something. 

What was the last thing that made you stop and consider an aspect of your life? Was it and ad campaign? the words from a relative? what devices, apps, websites help you be more aware of your surrounding?

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
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Apple wins patent on technology to stop fans filming gigs


We recently wrote about how some celebrities and artists are prohibiting the usage of cell phones during their concerts, in the name of encouraging people to enjoy the experience of the live show. It has subsequently been announced that Apple has won approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office for technology that could be used to prevent fans filming or taking photos of gigs on their iPhones. 

The patent, titled “systems and methods for receiving infrared data with a camera designed to detect images based on visible light”, outlines how infrared light could be used to prevent filming: “For example, an infrared emitter can be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited, and the emitter can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands to disable the recording functions of devices. An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the device’s recording function based on the command.”

Filming of concerts is not just an annoyance to musicians – many of whom ask their fans to put their devices away at concerts – but also a problem for artists who want to play unreleased songs live, but have to deal with the prospect of those songs popping up on YouTube long before the official release. 

What about you? Do you film parts of live shows or prefer to listen to the music, without any annoying devices obstructing your view? Do you believe this system could help people enjoy the moment of the concert or are artists being over-protective of their content?

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog)
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Why nature-writing is 'exploding'?

If you haven’t watched the Nature RX video by Justin Bogardus it’s worth watching here. Whilst it might suggest that nature has become something of a cliche for the urban audience evidence from elsewhere, most specifically this recent article from The Guardian highlights a trend for consumption of ‘nature writing’.

Now in its third year, the Wainwright nature-writing prize has announced its shortlist, spotlighting what one judge called an “exploding” field, as more and more writers and readers are turning to this genre as a ‘balm for the woes of modern life’. 


“It does seem to be exploding,” said Bill Lyons, one of the judges. “And it’s exploded in many different directions - there’s the traditional offering, which simply shows an admirable and wonderful expertise in natural history and wildlife in its own right. Then there are writers who are delineating a particular territory. Whether that’s simply writing about marshland, or mountains, these people are plotting out particular patches of the natural world. And then there’s the latest development, which I find most interesting: we’re seeing an explosion of natural history writing as meditation, as a sort of healing process, using the landscape as a way of reflecting, often on childhood trauma, and using it as a way to heal.” 

“Nature writing is a genre which lends itself well to thoughtful, creative writing and beautiful design – a winning combination for grabbing and holding on to people’s attention – and can offer escapism or the welcome chance to take notice of our surroundings and see our world through a different, more positive lens,” she said. “New publishing in the genre continues to be extremely strong and we’re looking forward to seeing what publishers have in store for 2017.”

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog)
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Do-not-do lists are the to-do lists of the future?


Are you one of those organized types who has a wish list of the things that you should be doing or would like to do? How many itens on the list have you already done today or are planning to do today?

How about this? We found this article from Mashable which talks about how for a majority of us the reality is that we keep pushing the items on the ‘wish list’ to one side for things that ‘are more important’.

On the back of this comes the “Do Not Do” list which was inspired by David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity - a productivity tool which offers a way to consciously identify and limit those tasks that aren’t worth our time. Some simple examples might be limiting your Facebook usage or outsourcing those annoying weekly errands. 

“My ‘Do Not Do’ list contains things that I have determined I will absolutely not do,” he explains. “This folder allows me to dump ideas or tasks that I realize aren’t worth my time — so that I can keep myself focused on the areas the really matter.” 

Creating a ‘Do Not Do list’ would help you to do the things that really matter to you? What are the things that you would add in your ‘do not do’ list? Share them with us if you like.

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog)
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What’s on the Conversation Menu?

Tankeapoteket is a Swedish company which describes itself as a Social Design firm.  They seek to connect diverse ideas and create new ways of addressing the future through creative Interventions which are grounded in the latest research and include interactive lectures, practical workshops and strategic dialogues. 


We have reached a time where the most important insights won’t come from further immersion but from interdisciplinary collaborations. If we take advantage of our similarities, treat mind and body as one and engage in real dialogue, we will be able to handle the world’s complexity.

Not too dissimilar to the recent post we made about conversation galas in the USA, the company helps clients to create conversations around cultural themes. One example is a project undertaken for Fotografiska, The museum of photography in Stockholm. The ‘Tankesalong’ took place on June 3rd and revolved around Martin Parr’s exhibition Souvenir.

As the company’s site describes “We started thinking about creating a community around the museum experience, a time for reflection and dialogue where visitors could meet and mingle with new ideas, people and perspectives. The purpose being not only to explore the depths of the artistic intention but to connect the experience to a wider palette of thoughts form art, science and culture in order to highlight the universal within the particular.”

“At 6PM we welcomed visitors by handing each of them a folder containing one of four different ways of experiencing the exhibition with new eyes. Some were instructed to explore the photographs from different perspectives, others to focus on and question what they found most boring and others to look for patterns across the exhibition. The purpose was to bring attention to the subtle things that we often take for granted and to switch off the autopilots that all to often determines our reality”


With booklets in hand guests got to make their own way through the exhibition, noticing details and paying attention at their own pace before meeting up with us an hour later at the top-floor. At 7PM we all met at the live-stage where we introduced the purpose of the event and provided some short background on the history of conversation from Socrates and Plato and the Salons in Paris, to Freudian psychoanalysis, instant messaging and social media. Using the colored folders we divided people into pairs where they got to discuss questions connecting the exhibition to broader reflections on love, meaning, work, culture and identity. 

After 20 minutes of dialogue they divided people into new pairs who got to explore a new set of questions from tailor-made conversation-menus.


What do you think about such ideas - how would you feel about a conversation menu? Could it enhance an evening or are we losing the art of conversation so much that we cannot create our own social interaction without the help of third parties?

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog)
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Battling the Physical Symptoms of Stress


The pace of life will never be as slow as we experience it right now. Does that excite or scare you? The Pace of Life Project was set up by Prof Richard Wiseman in collaboration with the British Council to measure the speed of life across major global cities including London, Madrid, Singapore, and New York.A study carried out in the early 1990s demonstrated that pedestrians’ speed of walking provides a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city, and that people in fast-moving cities are less likely to help others and have higher rates of coronary heart disease. Using identical methods to those employed in the previous work, the present day research teams discovered that the pace of life is now 10% faster than in the early 1990s. 

An increasingly fast-paced lifestyle, sooner or later can end up affecting our health in ways that we do not always expect or can identify. The so-called “burnout” is increasingly common and can be fatally silent. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a chronic condition that’s a direct response to our 24/7 “always on” work cultures – which, combined with a climate of economic uncertainty, make for a perfect storm in our physiology. According to this article from the Harvard Business Review, this effect can be explained by our biology:

Our stress response system evolved to protect us from danger. However, it cannot distinguish between a saber-toothed tiger in the wild and a harsh email. Each time one of our three primal survival needs are not met – for safety (e.g. a company downsizing), reward (e.g. poor performance feedback) and connection (e.g. working on a team with a cut-throat “each to his own” philosophy), the “fight or flight” stress team of biochemical reactions in the body kicks into gear.

Research and public health reports also warn of the problem and how stress that is affecting society in general. It is a chronic problem that affects all areas of our lives, from work to leisure with family and friends.

In the U.S., three out of four of us will suffer from at least one chronic disease in our lifetimes. Collectively, those diseases account for more than 86% of our healthcare costs. Stress in the workplace costs the U.S. economy upwards of 300 billion dollars per year with up to a 190 billion dollar healthcare spend. And despite the popularity of social media, loneliness and social isolation are on the rise, with one in four Americans reporting they do not have even one person to discuss important matters with.

Thus, for example in the workplace, we can ask ourselves “how can productivity, creativity, and innovation thrive under such circumstances?” Thinking about it, such effects are not irreversible. And a solution to this problem is to build resilience. Harvard’s Parneet Pal outlines how we can 

1. Pick a habit — a keystone habit — and make it stick. A keystone habit is a change that often triggers other good changes, because it alters how you see yourself. 

2. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Sticking to a new lifestyle habit is easier, more fun and effective when we do it with others. This social support is a bonus independent factor helping us live longer and healthier lives.

3. When you stumble (and you will stumble), pick yourself up with compassion. 

Howe useful are such tips for building resilience to stress in your working life?

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
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