Should I Go To A Better World by Design 2014?

headerlogoEarly bird registration closes soon for one of my favorite conferences, A Better World by Design (ABWxD). To me, it tops even MIT Technology Review’s heady (swanky, even) EmTech experience of being within meters of tech revolutionaries at MIT’s Media Lab. Because ABWxD is an extremely engaging, active experience with interactive, well-facilitated problem-solving workshops and charismatic keynote speakers who have spoken passionately about the role of effective design in a variety of fields ranging from sustainability and health to urban development and education. It’s not just invigorating but also empowering. But do I really want to go once again to drink the design thinking Kool-Aid?

The first part of Decisive‘s WRAP framework is Widen Your Options, so the question shouldn’t be “whether or not to attend A Better World by Design”; to escape narrow framing, consider what am I or should I be comparing this amazing conference experience to? Well, for the $165 early bird registration cost for 3 days of ABWxD excitement, I could…

– get a Remee lucid dreaming sleep mask and up my commitment to my decades long interest in lucid dreaming;

–  get a third of an iPad mini (but easily a whole iPad mini and then some after considering transportation and lodging costs);

– take a day or overnight trip to the White Mountains;

– attend about 3 General Assembly classes/workshops;

– 2.75 Blue Apron boxes, each with fresh ingredients for three meals for two people.

But really, none of these come close to having the energy of ABWxD, the proximity and contact with established and up-and-coming leaders in various fields, the exuberance of ideas. So I have no comparable, competing option here. Guess I’m going to ABWxD 2014 then—or need to come up with a truly compelling alternative.

What about you—think this conference could be worthwhile for your interests and pursuits?

Aside: Dan Ariely along with Dan and Chip Heath suggest that—loosely paraphrasing here—given the choice between a thing that leads to regular experiences (e.g. a really comfy sofa) and a unique, one-time experience (e.g. a trip to ), go for the latter. We habituate what we regularly encounter. Most of the options I’ve considered above are fairly unique experiences (I’ve never taken the same General Assembly class twice or prepared the same Blue Apron meal twice, though that I wouldn’t mind as the meals have been delicious so far, and I wouldn’t mid repetition if it’s well spaced out, far enough apart to preempt habituation).decisive ball

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