Last week, Dot Connector Studio had the honor of sponsoring #dareconf USA at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. This conference, which was already had a success in London (and there’s more to come) focuses on the human side of design. Speakers from the worlds of facilitation, coaching, conflict resolution, and improv offered specific techniques that help improve team dynamics and user experience design. We also got a chance to practice these skills hands-on through role-playing and coaching exercises — some of which we ended up using for actual Dot Connector Studio strategy planning on the spot!

Here’s Jessica Solomon from Art in Praxis telling her story of quitting her job to start her own company, and how she applied an artist’s mindset to her life and work. Art in Praxis, based in DC, uses practices from art and culture to address complex problems in organizations.

Jessica Solomon: Make bold choices by learning from the arts from Together London on Vimeo.

And here’s Hannah du Plessis of Fit Associates breaking down the process of nonviolent communication, which can help foster empathy and connection in organization. Hannah’s powerful story of growing up in South Africa under apartheid clearly explains the reasons why people avoid expressing their opinions and keep quiet.

Hannah du Plessis: Use nonviolent communication to connect with colleagues from Together London on Vimeo.

You can watch videos from the day here and check out live tweets by Dot Connector’s Jessica Clark from the day at @beyondbroadcast.

At the conference after-party at Think Brownstone, additional speakers gave 5-minute presentations on topics near and dear to their (and our!) hearts. Our own Jessica talked about DCS project, Revenge of Analog, which explores inventions at the cusp of the digital and physical.

In addition to being a fun and informative day, #dareconf served another purpose for us: it affirmed the way we have been working at Dot Connector Studio since the beginning: with empathy and open communication at the core of everything we do.