Exploring the Leading Edge of Transformative Tech

Credit:  Nan Palmero

Credit: Nan Palmero

In just a few short weeks, there is an exciting gathering of a rapidly growing tribe.  Thought leaders in the transformative technology movement are coming together for the Shifting the Paradigm Retreat at the Esalen Institute.  In this post, we want to give you a sense of who they are and what themes they are excited to explore with participants.

In previous posts, we've featured Nichol Bradford of The Transformative Technology Lab, Lisa Padilla of Spiritual VR and Barry Pousman of Variable Labs - all partners for the program. 

Here are a few other thought leaders helping to create the experience:

Chip Conley: Chip is on the Board of Burning Man and the Esalen Institute as well as being Head of Strategy at Airbnb.  In these roles, he's been on the forefront of the intersections of innovation, business and technology for decades.  Chip role will be to surface the themes of where this movement is currently as well as helping envision where it's headed.

Walter Greenleaf is an Expert on The Medical Applications of Virtual Reality Technology at the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab.   He's maintained a dual role in academics and business and is a world leader in developing clinical applications of VR Technology in the treatment of PTSD, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders and addictions.

Jodi Schiller is the founder of ARVR Women and a number of ARVR startups.  She's a global thought leader and frequent keynote speaker on the topics of AR storytelling, marketing and enterprise, building a diverse team and increasing VR adoption across the market.   She also believes in solving "impossible" problems by gamifying life and has a reputation for making stuff happen.

And at the time of this writing over 40 other people have enrolled, all either current or emerging thought leaders in this space.

What is the vision?

The vision of the Shifting the Paradigm event:

We are creating a game changing community at the intersection of VR, Impact and Mindfulness. We're building & co-creating the next great gathering, informed by TED, World Economic Forum, Burning Man & Summit Series - our vision is to have the same type of high level, intimate, experiential gathering, but distributed and iterative to explore the edges of emergence, purpose and technology. We will re-establish Esalen as the Davos of Reality and our community as the UN of VR through this initial event as it becomes our annual gathering.

Here are some of the themes that will be covered:

Here is a look at some of the content programming we are designing into the experience:

  • Mechanics of an Empathy Engine
  • Perspective: Diversity & Women's Influence
  • Sound crafting for emotional Engagement
  • Consciousness Expanded: Neuroscience & Behavior Change
  • Cause: Social Impact & 4Good Initiatives for Global Challenges
  • The Coming Experience Economy
  • Exponential Tech Convergence
  • Culture Creation
  • Virtual Worlds
  • Nature of Reality
  • Paint the Future: Ignite Talks
  • Lab Unconference

The experience and the program will be co-created using the talent and experience of the multifaceted visionaries who are attending.  That said, we have created the above themes and certain roles to inspire creative collaboration and a positive experience.

These roles include Meta Luminaries, Partners and Advisors, Impact Creators, Mindfulness Makers, Emerging Tech Artists, Financial & Social Capital Co-creators, Mind Scientists, Reality Design Lab Network, and Impact Experience Network partners. 

When you apply to the Retreat, your application will be assessed and the information you provided will be utilized to shape the experience to your desired outcomes.

Again, the Shifting the Paradigm Retreat is October 9th-14th at the Esalen Institute.  If you are passionate about the intersection of Mindfulness, Entrepreneurship and Transformative Tech - as the other thought leaders gathering for this historic program are - we would love to have your wisdom in the circle!

Hacking Consciousness and Fostering Mindfulness With Emerging Technologies

Barry Pousman

Barry Pousman

Can Virtual Reality help us change the world for good?  Barry Pousman thinks the answer is a definite "Yes!" and has dedicated his career to this vision. 

As a former Chief Digital Strategist at the United Nations, Barry focused on creating new media experiences to promote sustainable development goals.  For example, Clouds Over Sidra tells the story of a 12 year old girl in The Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Zaatari is home to 130,000 people and children make up half the camp's population.  The film has increased awareness about the refugees situation.

Here is an interview that Barry did about using VR at the United Nations to help people better understand the human realities behind international crises and the impact this technology is already having and what he sees as possible for the future.

Barry has since left the UN to serve as co-founder and CEO of Variable Labs, an immersive media company focused on fostering empathy for positive behavior change.  He is on the leading edge of exploring how immersive technologies can foster empathy and change behavior.

Variable Labs has projects that include working with:

  • The United Nations to improve donor support and influence policy decisions for good.
  • American Association of University Women to provide virtual workshops for women to learn to improve their strategies and practice difficult conversations, helping reduce the pay disparities between women and men.
  • Developing the Underwater VR Tour for the XPRISE Foundation to help people develop a greater understanding of and appreciation for the deep oceans.

Barry is one of the thought leaders for the upcoming Wisdompreneurs Shifting the Paradigm Retreat at the Esalen Institute from October 9th-14th.  Here's what he has to say:

I’m so excited to attend Shifting the Paradigm at the Esalen Institute and explore hacking consciousness and fostering mindfulness through new immersive technologies.
Esalen Institue

Esalen Institue

The Shifting the Paradigm Retreat is focused on exploring the intersection of immersive technologies, mindfulness and social entrepreneurship.   In addition to Barry, thought leaders include:

The focus of the retreat is to explore what's to come and help shape the future of this technology and industry. We will examine how to embrace the benefits of the reality revolution while staying connected to ourselves, to those around us and to planet earth.

We invite you to join Barry and a group of 50+ other thought leaders in this exciting exploration at the Shifting the Paradigm Retreat.   Click here for more info.

Transformative Tech, Consciousness and Entrepreneurship

Nichol Bradford, Executive Director of Transformative Technology Lab

Nichol Bradford, Executive Director of Transformative Technology Lab

The focus of the upcoming Wisdompreneurs retreat at Esalen called Shifting the Paradigm is transformative technology, consciousness and entrepreneurship.  One of the thought leaders who will be joining us in this exploration is Nichol Bradford, Executive Director and Cofounder of Transformative Technology Lab.

Nichol is a pioneer in the use of technology that can produce reliable and positive changes in the human psychological experience.  Before she stepped into the field of transformative techhnology, Nichol was in the online gaming world for many years.  She worked for Disney, Vivendi and, most recently,  she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China.

Nichol is fascinated by human potential and sees many opportunities for technology to transcend our perceived limitations and grow into the highest expression of our humanity.  She brings many years of leadership experience and is passionate about employing rigorous scientific research to develop hardware, software and training protocols that can produce a positive change in the human experience. 

Nichol and the team at TTL are exploring new and innovative ways to enhance peace, compassion, embodiment, love, and the fundamental sense of who and what we are.  They believe that when it's created and implemented with awareness, technology can improve the psychological wellbeing of humanity on a massive scale.  They support entrepreneurs in this space with development services, training, go-to-market evaluations, founder and employee matching support, demo opportunities, and, in some cases, even office space. 

The TTL also host TransTech, a yearly conference and expo that brings together leaders in this space.  In fact, it starts the same day the Esalen retreat ends - Nichol is a busy woman.  Last years conference sold out and this year looks to be another dynamic gathering with speakers like: 

  • Ivy Ross, Vice President, Design and User Experience for Hardware Products, Google
  • Sanjay Manchanda Pioneering neurofeedback and neurostim clinician
  • Adil Kassam, Co-Founder, Unify.org
  • David Eagleman, PhD, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • A panel of leading TransTech Entrepreneurs and much more.

Click here for info on TransTech.

We are grateful to have Nichol and a whole team of thought leaders to help guide the exploration at the Shifting the Paradigm Retreat.   The retreat is from October 9th-14th at the Esalen Institute. 

Click here for info on Shifting the Paradigm.

A Better You and a Better World with Virtual Reality

Lisa Padilla, CEO of SpiritualVR

Lisa Padilla, CEO of SpiritualVR

Virtual Reality is a rapidly growing field.  Mindfulness and personal growth are also rapidly growing fields.  So it might not come as a surprise that an increasing number of entrepreneurs are exploring the powerful intersection of inner and outer technologies. 

A good example of this type of company is SpiritualVR, who specialize in creating spiritual experiences in virtual reality.  They see the possibilities of having positive, uplifting interactions that these emerging technologies can provide.

Lisa Padilla is the CEO of SpiritualVR and is a great example of the growing number of entrepreneurs who passionately believe in creating multimedia experiences to inspire us and shift our perceptions - and our actions in the real world.

Lisa has many years of experience in the marketing world including with Apple, Intuit, Hewlett-Packard, LEVIs, and many startups.  She's also worked on wisdom focused multimedia projects like Marianne Williamson's A Return to Love.

Why spirit focused VR?  Lisa and her team say:

We are leveraging the unique properties of VR to create emotionally powerful spiritual experiences that can have a positive impact on you after you return to the real world. VR allows us to present emotional forces that motivate change. And these changes are so impactful, that they remain with us long after people take the headset off. That’s powerful. Let’s use that power for good.
Lisa will be sharing her wisdom at the Wisdompreneurs Esalen Retreat, October 9th-14th

Lisa will be sharing her wisdom at the Wisdompreneurs Esalen Retreat, October 9th-14th

Lisa and her team at SpiritualVR are thought leaders about the ways ethical uses of VR can bring about real world positive change.   And that's why we are very excited that they are part of our upcoming retreat at Esalen is ON ANCIENT GROUND, OPENING NEW HORIZONS: PIONEERING DEEP CHANGE IN SELF & SOCIETY.  It's October 9th-14th at the Esalen Institute.

The combination of emerging technologies, wisdom and entrepreneurship is rich arena for Wisdompreneurs who are open to learning and sharing.  Imagine learning and practicing and breaking bread for an entire week with a range of forward thinking entrepreneurs who are pioneering new ways of facilitating change both in individuals and society.

You can find out more about the thought leaders who will be sharing their wisdom, self care opportunities, meals and accommodation options and more by clicking here. 

Scaling Sustainablity: Wisdom for Emergent Entrepreneurs

At our recent The Path of the Wisdompreneur event, Stefan Day (a friend of Wisdompreneurs Cofounder Alison Raby) started a conversation with Laura Erikson, The Associate Director of swissnex.  The two knew each other from a coaching community they were both part of.

Laura's organization works with emerging entrepreneurs in the sustainability sector.  Laura told Stefan that swissnex is bringing 10 energy startups over to the Bay Area from Switzerland.  Laura and Stefen - surrounded by 100 people doing a day long deep dive on the intersection of Wisdom and Entrepreneurship - moved into a conversation they had been touching on and were both very excited to explore further.


Laura Erickson of swissnex

Laura Erickson of swissnex

What if we deepened the understanding of sustainability to include self sustainability and the sustainability of ramping up a business as an entrepreneur?

You have to be careful about asking exciting questions and having deep conversations in the Wisdompreneurs community.  Because we like to DO things not just talk.

The conversation between Laura and Stefan spread and soon Wisdompreneurs leaders like Alison Raby (Wisdompreneurs cofounder), Darian Rodriquez Heyman, and James Hanusa
were excited to explore this topic.  And then they got Cory Smith, former CEO of Impact Hub Bay Area and cofounder of Wisdom Labs and Shana Rappaport who works for GreenBiz involved.

And so ...

We are excited to present to you a dynamic event called Scaling Sustainability: Wisdom for Emergent Entrepreneurs.  It's on Thursday March 10th from 6:30 - 9:30 at Impact Hub Bay Area, 901 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA.

We know that the life of an entrepreneur is intense with competing priorities and constantly shifting demands in a climate of uncertainty.  This very experienced group of entrepreneurs will lead attendees through an exploration of how to use wisdom practices and emotional intelligence to increase your quality of life and business success.

Each panelist will be asked to share honestly about their mindfulness practice.  Then there will be an opportunity for a very authentic Q&A on how to create more self sustainability and emotional/spiritual sustainability during the start up process.

As much as San Francisco has been about disruption lately, the next wave of emergence has the potential to radically reshape industries and our ways of being.  Thus, this group wants to invite entrepreneurs in any stage of development and other business leaders to an honest conversation where questions like the following are explored:

  • How do we stay centered and mindful during the sometimes chaotic process of startup?
  • Where's the next edge?
  • What will be required?
  • How can we contribute to a more purposeful future?
  • Will our social systems be able to keep up with the technology we are creating?

Sustainability seems to be an increasing part of the conversation among the leadership conversations for Wisdompreneurs.  For instance, we have a growing connection (like this workshop in October) with the Esalen Institute.  And sustainability is a strong value and a growing initiative that Esalen is committed to.

Coming back to the March 10th event, here a bit about each of our speakers:


James Hanusa is Chief Innovation Artist with Urban Innovation Exchange Global. UIX Global is an economic development agency with that works on the design and development of innovation ecosystems that include sustainability, civic innovation and creative culture. James is Global Advisor to the Burning Man Project focused on strategy and support structure development for the cultures global network. In his role of New Initiatives for Burning Man, James worked on special projects, organization development, communications and innovation initiatives. James’s background encompasses teaching social media at Ex’pression College and urban sustainability organizing for 350.org, Global Campaign for Climate Action and others. His previous professional experience includes roles in business development and strategic alliances for information technology and social media companies including Intel, SAP, PeopleSoft, and Garrigan Lyman. He holds an M.B.A. in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and a B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University

Darian Rodriguez Heyman is an accomplished fundraiser, social entrepreneur, impact investor, and best-selling author. His work “helping people help” started during his five-year tenure as Executive Director of Craigslist Foundation, after which he edited the best-selling book, Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals (Wiley & Sons) and more recently, authored the best-selling Nonprofit Fundraising 101, the first truly comprehensive yet practical guide to all aspects of fundraising for your cause. Heyman also co-founded the only global conference series dedicated to social media for social good, Social Media for Nonprofits, and served as a Commissioner for the Environment for the City & County of San Francisco.

Shana Rappaport has worked actively and passionately for over a decade as a community organizer and industry convener to advance sustainability solutions. Through her current work with GreenBiz as Director of Engagement for VERGE, Shana is scaling the leading global event series focused on the technologies and systems that accelerate sustainability across sectors in a climate-constrained world. Her primary responsibilities include spearheading public sector engagement and smart city initiatives; running VERGE Accelerate, a program for early-stage companies; and directing experiential facets of the VERGE Interconnect interactive vendor and technology showcase. 

Shana previously served as the Director of Education for Bioneers, and as an instrumental community leader during her time as an undergraduate and graduate student at USC. Shana is on the Board of Project Drawdown, a Senior Advisor to the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Global Challenge, and a trained leader of the Climate Reality Project.

Cory A. Smith is a successful social entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Wisdom Labs. Most recently, Cory was the first Mayor’s Innovation Fellow for the City of San Francisco. Previously, Cory was the CEO of Hub Bay Area, a place for purpose-driven people to connect and build solutions for a better world and Hub Ventures, a startup accelerator that helps entrepreneurs build their world-changing startups better and faster. He was also the CEO of the Social Capital Markets Conference, the leading conference that connects global innovators to build a market at the intersection of money and meaning. Previously, he co-founded MediaCast and Webcast Solutions, two companies that produced many of the first webcasts in the world featuring bands, CEO’s and global leaders.

Again, the Scaling Sustainability event is Thursday March 10th from 6:30pm - 9:30pm at the Impact Hub Bay Area.   Tickets are $10 and available here


What is the Healing Sanctuary at Shift 2016?

Shift 2016 Visionaries

Ariana Satayathum & Mac Murphy

Have you ever gone to retreat or had a spa vacation where you found a place of deep relaxation?  Maybe in a beautiful natural location and your body begin to feel and move differently after several days of a deep dive there.

There is certain kind of “dropped in and embodied experience” that the visionaries behind the Healing Sanctuary - Mac Murphy and Ariana Satayathum - are passionate about.  Except they are bringing it into the center of the city where Wisdom 2.0 and Wisdom Week events are held.

Mac Murphy is one of the creators of the Healing Sanctuary for Wisdompreneurs Shift 2016 events.  And Mac has spent a lot of time at Esalen and in the body work training programs there.  He and Ariana and their team of highly skilled healers and space holders are creating that kind of transformative space just a few blocks for the Wisdom 2.0 venue - the Marriott Marquis.

There are many layers of intent woven into the Healing Sanctuary.   Here are 9 of them that Mac and Wisdompreneurs co-founder Alison Raby talked about in a recent discussion:

1) A place to rejuvenate and recharge.  New ideas.  Across many different sectors.  And the fact pace of a major tech center.   After hours and then days of this context, your attention can begin to feel stretched and your ability to engage, connect and communicate can go down.   Everything about the Healing Sanctuary is designed to facilitate a return to center and openness.


2) A relaxed and supportive environment to network.   One layer of intent for the Healing Sanctuary is to facilitate deep dive conversation with less of the distraction and volume that comes naturally with a conference of 3000 people.  The space will be consciously designed by the team of mindful practitioners and healers to help facilitate more meaningful connections.  

3) A place to learn to embody new ways of being.  When Mac Murphy was dialoguing with Alison Raby, he touched on this principle a number of times.  The space and the practitioners working in it are intended to help to move the new concepts and ideas you get exposed to in a dynamic conference from your head down into your cells.  Retainment and integration through conscious embodied practices will help you bring more of the wisdom you encounter during Wisdom Week home with you.

4) A way to share your inspiration with the world.   Over the years, one of the more popular experiences of Wisdom Week is Inspiration Campagin,  Founder Robert Benson has a social vision to make the world more beautiful, inside and out.  At the Healing Sanctuary, you will be guided through a process of sharing simple, powerful and meaningful messages with the option of being photographed with your message to share with the world.  The vision is a community to inspire the human spirit. 


5) To experience world class healing services.  Typically, one needs to travel and spend several days or weeks to receive the highest quality bodywork and healing sessions.  The Healing Sanctuary brings world calls practitioners doing deep healing work right into the nexus of the conversation about conscious business and entrepreneurship.  Mac Murphy says, “We’re bringing the retreat into the city.” Many of the practitioners creating and serving in the space have been trained at Esalen and all have a highly integrative focus.  

6)  To join the conversation among leaders of tribes.  Wisdom Week is known for bringing together the leaders and emerging leaders of tribes - it’s a tribe of tribes.  In this more connection oriented space, the intent to make space for a meaningful exploration of the intersection of wisdom and business/entrepreneurship.  How  can we integrate the concepts shared during Wisdom Week  and begin to embody them in a new way?

7) To connect more fully with the Wisdompreneur community.  The Wisdompreneur community has grown to almost 13,000 members.  And, we were born at Wisdom 2.0 2013 and Eco-Systm - the location that holds the Healing Sanctuary - has an important place in the history of the organization.  Cofounder Alison Raby choose this location for a Wisdom 2.0 Volunteer Party (she was the Volunteer Coordinator) and many early Wisdompreneur community members attend.  Think about it as returning to the womb like space we were born to deepen into another layer of where the movement is headed next.

8) To collaborate, and create together on the ArtIsMobilUs’ Wisdom Action ArtWall  ArtIsMobilUs is a rolling art gallery and roving arts incubator bringing art to people everywhere providing physically mobile platforms for exhibition, creative collaboration, and community engagement.

8) To lay the foundation for true transformation.  We have entered times that are too complex and have systems to large for any one person to create significant shifts alone.  Through Wisdom Week activities, Wisdom 2.0 and Wisdompreneurs have gathered 1000’s of leverage change agents in one place.  The Healing Sanctuary provides a space for the type of embodied and connected conversations among people who know how to create impact to come together and create the synergy required for true transformation.

You can find out more about the Healing Sanctuary and sign up for the services offered here.