Jessica Lowry - Getting Unstuck Retreat, June 15th - June 18th 2018, Austin, TX
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How are you? Feeling a bit stuck?
Getting Unstuck is a reframing method that can help you explore any type of problem with fresh eyes.
You are invited to join an intimate group of twelve participants in Old West Austin to explore your own design practice and learn creative techniques that can help unhinge you from unhelpful thinking. Tap into your ability to identify automatic thoughts and approach your choices with curiousity and compassion. Find clarity on your values and be willing to challenge yourself to identify when you are not living up to your guiding principles. At the end of the weekend, you'll have learned design thinking methodologies you can apply to your life, relationships and career. You'll know more about how to tap into core values and put them into action. You'll know how to generate lots of creative ideas that are feasible and realistic.
What does it mean to be "stuck"?
Feeling “stuck” can be very obvious. A major life change is in front of you and you’re having a hard time figuring out your next move. Or you’ve been working on an idea for a long time and no matter what you try the idea isn’t manifesting into the thing it’s supposed to be. Maybe you have someone in your life who takes too much of your time and energy, and you can’t quite figure out how to establish the right set of boundaries. These situations are typically apparent and easy to identify - although the solution might bewilder you the fact that there’s a situation that needs attention is clear as day.
Other times we aren’t aware that we’re stuck. This can be for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’re the type of person who avoids feelings? Maybe you overeat? Drink a little more than you should? Over or under exercise? Avoiding is one of the primary coping behaviors to stress. A lot of people throw themselves into their work to avoid having to face something that feels uncomfortable. Getting unstuck for these folks can be the act of acknowledging that there is something that needs attention. And it’s anything but simple to do.
Join Jess Lowry, Host and Facilitator June 15-18, 2018 in Old West Austin
Jess has facilitated creative working sessions with groups for over a decade at some of the largest organizations and brands in the world; such as: Bloomberg Philanthropies iTeams, TX Medicaid, Sundial, FEMA, National Australia Bank, Target Australia, EPA Victoria, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - just to name a few.
As a UX Researcher and Designer she has practiced Design Thinking to innovate solutions and transform organizations.
“Jess has not only delivered us an IA - she has transformed our organization. We now have a tool that enables us to be more collaborative.”
- Daniel McLeod, (Former) Online Services Manager at EPA Victoria
Back in 2012, during her engagement with the EPA in Victoria Australia, Jess came to realize the power of facilitating groups of diverse thinkers through co-creation activities. By participating as equal contributors they were able to uncover insights that had been overlooked, ignored or misunderstood. Jess saw that her role as a facilitator wasn’t to direct or lead participants to a predetermined solution - it was to empower participants to discover a deeper understanding of the problem space in order to ideate innovative solutions. As a consultant, Jess would be engaged for a limited amount of time which meant that the people within the organization had to be able to continue the work after Jess was no longer at their disposal.
This realization that solutions not only have to make sense to the people who use the solution, but also with the people who operate the solution was a major turning point in Jess’s career.
Over the years Jess has expanded her practice to include herself, friends, family and colleagues. As a Co-Active Coach, Jess works with individuals and groups to practice design thinking on themselves. The principles of innovation apply to people as well as things like products, services and corporate culture. When we are able to co-create we establish connections and shared values which lead to the support we need for positive change to be sustained over time.
In addition to being a seasoned facilitator and coach - Jess is also a certified Barre instructor and practices daily mindful movement. The benefits of connecting our mind and our body is an ability to access our intuition, understand our emotional intelligence and biological hardwiring - all of which makes us dynamically unique. So much can be achieved when you really get who you are and how you think and behave.
"Jessica is a fantastic leader, team member, mentor and inspiration. She brings great value to everyone who has a chance to work with her. Her positive attitude and ability to get great things done is amazing." - Tammy Butow, Principal Site Reliability Engineer @ Gremlin
What to Expect
During the two-day retreat you’ll have the option of staying at the AirBnB retreat house or staying at an alternative location (locals can stay at home, rent a nearby AirBnbB, hotel room or hostel). If you live in Austin, it might seem strange not to stay at home, but it can be helpful to get out of your regular routine for a few days. (Pricing reflects your choice to pay for a room at the retreat house or opt to stay elsewhere. Learn more about accomodation options in the Where to Stay section below.)
All your meals and supplies are provided. Any food allergies or preferences will be easy to manage because we'll be eating family style and making the food ourselves. Unlike other workshops or professional conferences preparing and making food to consume is a group activity. Every part of the retreat is an opportunity to design with mindful intention and co-create.
Each day you'll have the option to participate in a gentle morning exercise or swim, co-create meals with your fellow participants, pause and reflect, meditate and be led through design thinking activities created to enable you to observe, understand and cultivate fresh ideas. Often what gets us stuck is the idea that there is only one solution. By practicing design thinking methodologies it's possible to generate lots of ideas and unhinge yourself from limited thinking.
A seasoned facilitator is there as your coach, but you are your own guide. You decide what serves you in each moment. There will always be alternative activities, modifications and an ability to step away into your own space. The day will close with candlelight yoga (if that's your thing). A massage therapist will be available each day for those who want to partake.
Friday, June 15th 4-7pm
Meet your fellow explorers and facilitator for happy hour and guest check-in. This is a fun, laid-back time to be social and familiarize yourself with the people who will be supporting you over the next two days.
Day 1: Saturday, June 16th
Morning no-barre barre class. We'll start the day with easy movement just to get the blood flowing and the mind working at it's most optimal. You won't be pushed hard in our opening exercises. All you need to bring is an open mind and comfortable clothing. This is an optional experience that's offered to all explorers. You're invited to greet the day through gentle stretching, core strengthening pilates, yoga flows and graceful movement designed to wake you up and prep your mind and body for the day.
Day One Overview: On day one we'll discuss automatic thoughts and unhelpful thinking. We'll explore our own biases and their sources. We'll group our thoughts and emotions in order to understand what is cluttering our minds and taking up our time and energy. We'll practice mindful breathing as a tool for quieting our thoughts.
Learn more about the types of activities we'll do and subjects we'll cover by checking out the Getting Unstuck Toolkit
After 4pm you're free to explore Austin or stay to swim and relax at the house. The house kitchen will be fully stocked with everything you need to make family meals and BBQ with your fellow explorers. Making food together is one of the best ways to get to know new people and share stories.
Day 2: Sunday, June 17th
Day two will also start with the option of light excercise and we will take regular breaks throughout the day for movement. (See day one morning exercise description for details.)
Day Two Overview: We'll continue practicing breathing with intention and fueling ourselves with food that fuels our creative thinking. We'll continue with the work we started on day one by exploring reframing and practicing techniques to help us expand our limited thinking. Tapping into our creative mind will enable us to ideate new ways of thinking that can help us live our best lives. We explore alternative points of view and how to use empathy as a tool for change.
Unstuck Celebration, Sunday June 17th 4-8pm
Invite your friends and loved ones to celebrate your hard work and share your insights. Our ability to lead change in our lives is intermingled with our ability to lean on others and allow them to lean on us. Let your authentic self shine and have some fun.
Monday, June 18th 10am Check-out for those who are staying in the house.
Want to know more? Listen to Jess Lowry chat about what you can expect at the retreat on the Garage a Trois Podcast.
- Snacks and Meals
- Notebook, Pen, Markers, Post-its, Worksheets
- Yoga & Mindful Breathing Instruction
- Daily No-Barre Barre Workouts
- Workshop Facilitation & Personalized Support
- Adult Beverages
- On-site Massage
What to bring:
All your supplies, food and drinks will be provided; however, if you have special dietary needs or allergies - please contact us so we can try to accomodate you to the best of our ability. We ask that you leave your devices at home, in your car or turned off in your bag while attending the two day session. The point of this is to keep distractions at a minimum. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a bathing suit to swim in the pool.
Where to stay:
If you're visiting Austin from out of town - there are lots of great options for places to stay. First of all, you can opt for accomodation in addition to your Explorer Ticket ($525 provides access to the retreat, $1,215 includes accomodation at the retreat house). Rooms are limited. Feel free to message us if you have any questions.
About the Exploration x Design Retreat House
Relax in the elegance and sophistication of this stylish, contemporary chateau, which features its own pool. This modern home boasts luxurious furnishings and appliances, with high ceilings and an incredible sense of space throughout. It's stunning!
6 bedrooms, 7 beds, 3 baths
Images of the Exploration x Design Retreat House
More photos and information can be found on the Airbnb listing: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/select/17286465
Alternative accomodation recommendations:
Here's a few of our favorite AirBnB's in Austin:
Learn More About Your Host & Facilitator
Jess Lowry has worked as a UX Designer and Researcher for over 12 years. Her career has taken her from her hometown of Toronto, Canada to the UK, Australia and the US. Brands she's worked with include: National Australia Bank, EPA Australia, Bureau of Meterology of Australia, Target Australia, Sundial, FEMA, TX Medicaid, YouScience, Bloomberg Innovation Teams. She is a certified Barre Instructor, Co-Active Coach, Seasoned Design Thinking Facilitator and Founder of Exploration x Design.
She was the recipient of the 2013 "Made in Banff" Artist in Residence Prize for delivering a winning pitch at SXSW Interactive. During her residency at the Banff Centre in Canada, Jess designed a prototype called Key to the Street, a collaboration platform enabling citizens to co-design public space with an emphasis on improving walkability. Key to the Street was a finalist at the 2013 SXSW Eco Place by Design Contest and featured in Fast Company's online blog.
Back in 2014, Jess founded and organized SheHacksATX and SheDesignsATX which paired female coders and designers with women entrepreneurs for a weekend of hacking solutions. These events led to the creation of a 6-part zines series called Velma Magazine.
"I worked with Jessica as part of the user experience and customer experience work at National Australia Bank. Jessica is highly customer centric in the way she thinks, and is deeply interested in how design supports the customer in creating experiences that are efficient, effective and delightful. She was always hungry for new information and detail, and absorbs both skills and new capability quickly." - Harriet Wakelam, Director Human Centred Design at IAG
Jess lives in Austin TX with her three year old daughter.
"My job as a human-centered designer is to design for other people - not myself. When it comes to designing meaningful solutions we have to get better at reaching beyond our own limited points of view. Too often we stay on the surface and rarely dig deeper to uncover meaningful insights. We do this for a variety of reasons - often we’re dealing with constraints of time and budget, other times; we fear what we might uncover because it might reveal something about ourselves that we’d rather not address (or maybe a business flaw no one knows how to change)."
Design Thinking is a process to help people work collaboratively and reach below the surface to uncover deep insights. The best solutions are designed by teams who allow themselves to think beyond limited points of view. When teams are equipped with self awareness and acceptance they can perform at an optimal level. Creative exploration is a practice of vulernability and requires you to maintain a beginner’s mindset.
As a design coach, I’m interested to explore what design means to you. Creativity is a way of thinking - not a job function or title. I want to help people explore design as a practice, in order to; cultivate deeper levels of empathy for themselves and others.
You can only understand others by understanding yourself. Empathy is the hallmark of design thinking. Cultivating empathy requires an ability to be vulnerable; which is isn’t typically a comfortable state of being. But it's during our most challenging moments that we truly learn who we are. Feeling challenged is uncomfortable so we typically try to avoid it. This is why practice is so important.
Connect with Jess on Twitter @jeslowry