Tag Archives: presence

Back to BE-ing @Work

BE-ing in ThoughtI keep coming back to be-ing. Our upbringing was seeped in the value system of Self Reliance for many generations.   I was raised with the resonating lines penned by my ancestor, Emerson. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” “Our chief want in life, is someone who shall make us do what we can. This is the service of a friend. With him we are easily great.”

With this foundation, there is little wonder what led me to this juncture. It is a point in which I seek to understand the ways in which I/we can best accomplish be-ing at work. To be our best selves while bringing out the best in others in whatever we do requires a deep understanding of self. Technological advances have changed the conditions and tools in which we engage with others and our work. In order to build and maintain mutually beneficial and effective relationships today, presence of be-ing must evolve in concert with the advances of technology.  The advances both augment and challenge our ability to be true to that self. Starting with presence, we have greater potential for the ability to thrive and succeed.

The last several years, I have engrossed myself in a doctoral journey in Human and Organizational Systems that has both provided answers and triggered many more questions. I emerge having explored wearable technologies as potential intervention for hindrances to presence, an element of the ability to BE one’s best. The journey is far from over, despite acceptance as a scholar. I return to practice with a renewed curiosity and desire to explore both the barriers to presence and actions/tools used to enhance presence.

The dissertation is done, soon to be shared after the proofreaders have at it.  Now, with room to breath and energy to exhale, I look to what’s next.  I am collecting more stories to make the book version of my dissertation more accessible to a wider audience.  If you have stories to share please contact me directly at heidi (at) forbesoste.com.  More specifically, I am looking at what people identify as challenges to BE-ing their best selves and bringing out the best in others and how the overcome those challenges through actions and tools.

bridge-buildingA brief note to people who have worked with me over the last ten plus years in various iterations of 2BalanceU.  From building the tools to share wisdom, to teaching and speaking about the application of social tools in organizations, to building bridges between tech and people, to researching the behavioral science of presence and technology it all remarkably returns to 2BalanceU and 2BU. The path through social strategy and connecting people and ideas for their greatest potential remains one that I shall travel, albeit creating my own route.  Expect no change in name, but rather the approach to achieving the path to BE-ing one’s best and bringing out the best in others.

More to come very soon.

Bridge image credit to Kevin Kenny

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10 Gifts for Geek Girls with Style

I give in. Everyone is asking me for recommendations on wearables and presence gifts for presents. Tis the season. So here they are, some of my favorites holiday shopping tips for the geek girl who wants to stay connected without losing her head.  Oh yes, and all of them can be ordered online so you can avoid the holiday craziness and keep your holiday spirit alive.

Elizabeth-Ann-Purse-In-Boots-European1. Purse in Boots

Purse in Boots is such a brilliant idea, I am so glad someone finally acted on it, and with style. I haven’t gotten mine yet, but I am hoping Santa will deliver. I gave up on the “one for you, one for me” holiday shopping. So I guess I will have to wait.  They come in several different styles. Looks like they are selling out quickly.  So if your girl needs her phone on hand and hates pockets, I would order them soon.

tile-don't lose it2. Tile

Tile, a tracking device to attach to all the things you don’t want to lose.  Ok, so this may not be what they meant to track (much as we would like it too sometimes).  But these great little trackers use crowd sourcing to find your favorite items from bikes to keys.  Buy them in multipacks and you can keep track of all the good stuff you care about and even have some left over to put in your kids backpacks.  Come to think of it, this might be the new wine charm I have been looking for.

3. Shine Bloom

bloomShine Bloom takes an already well designed beautiful fitness and sleep wearable device and makes it into a fashion statement.  I love the approach behind Sunny Vu’s work to make wearables wearable.  It should be something that will be worn even when its discharged.  Not that this is a major issue with Shine, as the charge should last a year, rather than ever several days.

4. Ring.ly

Ring.ly caught my eye early last year.  They are just now ringly-featuresending out their early orders, but I have seen them in person and I can’t wait for mine to arrive.  Being one who often misses calls and notifications from turning the ringer off, this will be a blessing.  I never liked having the phone on the table.  Unlike men,we girls tend not to have pockets big enough to accommodate a phone that will be close to the body (and feel the vibration).  Founder, Christina Merkando, has done a beautiful job designing wearable functional art.

5. Jyars

jyarsI love these little containers.  When I travel I use one for each of my medicinal necessities (sleep, pain, allergies) in color coding.  They are sturdy and well sealed.  The moment Aldo, the founder and friend, turned me onto these little Jyars I couldn’t get enough of them.  I love giving them as the unexpected gift too.  Any geek girl who is into homeopathic remedies will thank you for this one. OK, I admit it is not wearable (although they fit in an old film canister sling).  But when I can find my meds to keep me from being tired, in pain or sneezing, I am definitely more present.

6.  Vessyl

vessylFor those of us to who consume too much caffeine or sugar and not enough water, here’s an interesting new one.  Dehydration or over stimulation on caffeine can be major presence inhibitors.  So keep your geek girl hydrated.  Vessyl is supposed to evaluate and track your intake coming from your beverages.  Unless you have a built in cup holder on your hip, this one is not wearable.  I have to admit, I haven’t tried it yet, so not sure of the accuracy.  I am waiting for mine and look forward to seeing how it works.  If it just gets me to increase my daily hydration, I will be happy enough.

Spoon Stylus7. Spoon Stylus

Does your geek girl like to cook?  If she is like me, the iPad is the source of the best recipes quickly.  Keep the tech clean and easy to access by giving her the cooking spoon stylus.  They can be found at loads of places, including Bed, Bath and Beyond.  A great stocking stuffer or hostess gift for the geek girl cook (or her partner/kids who dangerously messes with her tech with gooey fingers).

8. Docking/Charging Station

dockchargerAll these devices and their chargers can be both hard to keep track of and batteries loaded.  I love having a docking/charging station for them when I get home. (If your geek girl has kids, you might want two.) This keeps them at the ready for my next adventure, but keeps me present for my family.  There are many different styles, so rather than take my recommendation, look for one that matches hers.  I like this combo dock and charger to minimize cables.  Wearable tech is great, but most of them still need to be charged fairly regularly.  Until the battery life issue is fixed, at least you know will know where the chargers and devices are in the house.

9. Spire

spire-and-chargerAnother beautiful and functional wearable that is starting to ship now is the Spire.  It is all about balance, and tracks breathing as well.  For us ladies, we can wear it most discretely in the cleavage part of the bra.  But it can also be clipped at the hip.  I recently met with the founder, Neema Moraveji, who is part of the Stanford Calming Technology Lab and got to see the device first hand.  I have high hopes for this one.  There is great science behind it, which takes it beyond the gadget factor.  Keep an eye out for it.  If your geek girl is patient enough, she might be happy with getting on the pre-order list.

chat pack10. Chat Pack Extreme

To give the ultimate gift of presence, let’s go low tech.  One of my favorites are the chat packs created by Bret Nicholaus and Paul Lowrie.  You can find them in loads of local bookstores and gift shops (and of course on Amazon.com).  They come in different themes.  Great for sparking a little conversation while devices are docked during dinner.  My kids even are willing to partake and even enjoy it.  I particularly like the Chat Pack Extreme.

So there you have it, my ten recommendations for wearables and presence for presents this holiday season.  I will be spending my holiday crunching data and preparing for my dissertation on wearables and presence of mind.  I will make a point of checking out to be present as a present with my family during the holidays.  I will think of you all bringing presence as presents this year.  Feel free to share any ideas that you have for great devices and tips on wearables and presence.  I think we all could use them.  Warmest of wishes!

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Social Through Wearables


Slide deck from keynote on Social Through Wearables. Social optimization requires an understanding of self and others to provide the MUTUAL benefit to relationship building. This study explores wearable technologies as an intervention for bringing greater awareness and presence into social engagement. Slide deck from keynote on Social Through Wearables based on research in Wearables and presence of mind in the workplace.

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Recruiting for Wearables & Presence Study, update

Now comeWearable Technology Beyond the wrists the moment of truth, my dissertation research study on Wearables and Presence in the workplace will kick off in a month.   The study should help us understand if using wearables can be an intervention for improving presence (in the moment: sense-of-self and sense-of-others). The devices in the study are in the monitor-alert category.    It is an independent scholarly study (not market research) for a doctoral dissertation in Human and Organization Systems at Fielding Graduate University.

I have 100 devices for the study and have just decided to open it to unreleased devices.  More data is better.

Are you a wearable developer and have at least five finished prototypes that can be used for the length of the six week study (starting November 1st)?  Please contact me before October 22nd to discuss. You would need to be able to provide customer support for the participants for the six week study to be sure the results are not skewed from improper use or device failure in pre-release.

Recruiting participants: Are you interested in wearable technologies’ potential beyond utility and/or your ability to be present with yourself and others?  The demographic for the study is mid-career professionals in the workplace.  The modern workplace can have many forms, so this includes virtual office, office and combination situations.  Participants should not currently be using another monitor-alert wearable.  SF Bay Area participants preferred, for ease of distribution and return of devices.  Although some devices will come from other areas (Tel Aviv, London, Toronto, so far) so there may be some local clusters if enough participants.  If you have your own device but have not started using it yet, you may also be able to participate.  Contact me to discuss.  The commitment is: 6 weeks (5 weeks of device use),  Three times weekly online assessment completion (5 min. each), 15 minute exit interview at completion of study.  Your personal device data remains private to you.

As I kick off, I must just give a shout out to the amazing wearable community (tech, wellness and neuropsychology) for your incredible support for this study by providing knowledge, enthusiasm, contacts and/or products: Misfit, Ring.lyVirgin Pulse, Jawbone, Interaxon, UpRight, Samsung, Spire, OhMiBod, Vibease and WearableWorld.  I look forward to sharing my findings and contributing to the knowledge on Wearables Beyond Utility!

hforbesoste (at) email.fielding.edu

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Why Fascination with Wearables and Presence?

As I sat through the sessions at SxSW on Wearable technologies in March, something clicked.  As a lover of gadgets, I am always eager to try new things if they have a purpose that I can relate to. My passion for social strategy and getting people to engage with each other on a deeper level for mutual benefit had a connection here and it was finally becoming clear.  Something about motivating each other by sharing data, about getting out and getting fit, about being more present in the moment with others was standing out.  I was and am determine to dig deeper.  Call me crazy, but I even changed my doctoral dissertation to focus on finding more answers.

Lola, the UP dogMy first really effective wearable was my Jawbone UP band.  When living in Sweden, my Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) became acute. Some ways to combat S.A.D., like many forms of depression, is movement, fresh air and social interaction.  I used the idle vibration alert to get me through the Winter months.  I trained my service dog to respond to the alert.  So that, even if the vibration wasn’t sufficient enough to modify my behavior, her tugging at my sleeve to urge a walkabout resulted in action.  Once out and about, I became progressively more engaged and present with my work, my research and my interactions with my family and friends.  It was the action that created the presence, but I believe the action would not have occurred without the stimulation of the wearable (and a little tug from Lola).

What about other discreet wearables?  I am most curious about wearables that passively monitor and alert us to behaviors that are detrimental to our being present, mindful in the moment.  So, my journey begins here (well, sort of, the sharing begins here).  I look forward to sharing more with you as it continues.  I will continue to share, and I hope you will too.  Feel free to contact me directly if you have stories, wearables, research that you think would be relevant.  I look forward to hearing about them and from you.

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Presence instead of Presents

Date night?

For you, my dear
Presence is the gift.
My heart is here.
My thoughts not adrift.
I pack away
The source of distraction
for a pause of play
and intent interaction.
For if all were amiss
And this moment passed
The devices are cold
My heart would not last.
Presents are things
Of which I’ve no need.
Your presence it sings,
my heart is does feed.
-Heidi Forbes Öste (2012)

The house is prepared for the holidays. We settle in as the snow begins to fall. It’s the time of year again where the wish lists come out and thoughts of New Year’s resolutions start buzzing. There is only one gift that I wish to give and to get for my family this year: Presence.

All too often we find ourselves with iPad or phone holding our concentration. From the breakfast table to date night, there never seems to be a sacred moment without it. We used to say the world would not stop if we disappeared. Now each vibration causes a habitual pattern of thought even if we do not respond be checking to see the source. Most times, we cannot resist sneaking a peek just to make sure it is not “critical.”

Each year we struggle to find ways to reconnect, to discover who we are and where we are going. In our over-connected lives this often means one thing: remote location, no wifi. I look forward to a pause in the buzz. I long for the uninterrupted conversation, thought and silence. I crave a hike in the mountains, a walk on the beach, a game of cards, a snuggle in a hammock, sharing a nice bottle of wine with presence.

I hope you all will consider giving and receiving presence and the value of that gift. Extend it beyond your family, as you go about your holiday parties. Ask about people’s passions and take the time to listen with presence. You might be surprised what you learn. It might just be a present in itself. How will you share presence this holiday?

This post is dedicated to Björn; my hero, partner, playmate and champion who I look forward to sharing presence with.

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