Modern Griots Interviews: Nichol Bradford and The Sisterhood Part 2


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Nichol Bradford Source: TTConf.org

Welcome back to part 2 of my interview with Nichol Bradford, author of the novel, The Sisterhood!

For a bit of a refresher, please read Part 1!

In the second half of the interview, Nichol tells us more about her career and her vision for implementing aspects of video gaming into her work at the Willow Group, where she is developing her ideas of “transformative technology.” If you have not read Amiri Baraka’s “Technology and Ethos,” you should because I believe it gives a great context into understanding Nichol’s mission for the Willow Group and The Sisterhood.

 

5) You wrote that you are “fascinated by human potential,” and have “always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level.” What is your specific definition of technology and in what ways can humans create innovations in technology and create a culture of technology that benefits and strengthens society more than harm it?

For me, technology is defined as any time human beings create processes or devices to do things. The baseline spirit remains the same whether it’s an arrow tip chipped from stone, or meditation, or a mainframe, or your iPhone. The key to understand is that “technology” is not going away, because the curiosity and experimentation of humanity is not going away. So fast forward to today, and the tech we have now, and it means get used to it, AND develop ways to live with it and specifically design technology to support our softer side – our psychology, our emotions, and our storytelling that reminds us what matters most.

” I’m a bit of a Trekkie, so of course I love the Holodeck. But if you dig beneath that concept, it becomes about using technology to explore our inner landscapes.”

This brings us to transformative technology, which at its core says harness that design for our internal betterment and not just our productivity. So this can be anything from a meditation app to bio-feedback to more intensive interventions like direct stimulation. The purpose of these specific examples addresses the essential part of our question, which is how do we create a technology culture that benefits society, and the answer is that we focus our extraordinary human creativity and curiosity on designing interventions that teach pause, reduce fear and thus fear based attacks, and allow us to become more aware so that we can choose our response rather than be dragged along by our fight/flight responses to life.

6) How did working in the gaming industry influence your writing, human psychology and social interaction? How does technology, psychology, gaming, storytelling and mythmaking, and social culture intersect and influence one another?

The thing that drew me to gaming was the intersection between technology and storytelling, and the idea that we could use this platform to understand and enhance ourselves. I’m a bit of a Trekkie, so of course I love the Holodeck. But if you dig beneath that concept, it becomes about using technology to explore our inner landscapes. The thread that runs from games to my novel to my adventures in meditation has been exploration for the purpose of freedom. True mental freedom – attaining this, enabling this, scaling this combines technology, psychology, gaming, storytelling, mythmaking, and social culture.

7) What inspired you to start The Willow Group and can you explain your idea of “transformative technology?”

The last decade found me exploring the idea of transformative technology in the video game industry, where I served as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations, and marketing for games internationally for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. Most recently I managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. During this time, I also began to meditate and saw interesting parallels between it and gaming. Both enable delight, flow, and access to dynamic states of consciousness. Meditation, though, goes even further and can profoundly and positively impact well-being. It seemed logical to me that technologies that directly impact human experience could do so as well, but no one seemed to be seriously working on it. So, I left Blizzard to pioneer Transformative Technology.

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Poster for Inaugural TTC Event last month

For the last year I have applied my strategy and execution skills to creating and enabling these types of profound impacts via technology. I started by partnering with one of the largest academic research projects in the space and helping them take an experiment online. This provided critical data at a scale that didn’t yet exist regarding what was possible.

Next, I began to seek out and work with others who understood the potential. Together we started to form a nascent industry and its needed infrastructure. This has grown to the point that the first Transformative Technology Conference happened in Palo Alto this Fall.

My contribution to this burgeoning industry includes co-founding a transformative technology company, and a university research lab to create and produce hardware and software that will revolutionize how traditional approaches like meditation are updated and made more reliable and effective. Meditation has been proven to have a powerful impact on well-being, focus, and emotional regulation, especially during stress. The presence found in meditation is similar to the heightened flow states achieved in games or sports, except that it brings the sensation of flow more deeply into daily life. These products will bring the infrastructure of experiences like gaming to the adventure of personal transformation, and deliver it on a global scale.

“…During this time, I also began to meditate and saw interesting parallels between it and gaming. Both enable delight, flow, and access to dynamic states of consciousness…”

8) What future plans do you have for yourself, your writing career and The Sisterhood? Do you plan to have a sequel?

The Sisterhood is a part of a trilogy, all of which are outlined. I’m focused on getting part one out to as many women as possible and then will hide myself away somewhere and write the sequel.

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You can find out more about The Sisterhood and Nichol Bradford’s work at: http://www.mskincorporated.com  and http://www.nicholbradford.com

Coming Soon:

Stay tuned for my review of The Sisterhood!

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Modern Griots Interviews: Nichol Bradford and The Sisterhood Part 1


Nichol Bradford Source: Black Girl Nerds

Syncing up with my work as the literary director of the Queens Book Festival, my first official return post is my long overdue interview with Nichol Bradford, author of the novel, The Sisterhood!

Nichol Bradford has had an accomplished career, first as an executive in the gaming industry, and now as founder and CEO of the company, the Willow Group, developing what she calls “transformative technology.” While, yes, we humans have been innovative when it comes to technology, I can’t say that we have been as innovative  psychologically, socially and spiritually. I see Nichol’s work as part of the legacy of Amiri Baraka’s questioning of modern technology in “Technology and Ethos.” The Willow Group’s mission is to use “effective technologies for creating permanent positive shifts in peace of mind, mental balance, life satisfaction and happiness. From ancient practices to cutting-edge science, our programs help you assemble a personalized program to reach your goals.”

As an explorer of human potential, and how technology can bring about transformation in our everyday lives, helping us to expand beyond our perceived limits, Nichol has combined her knowledge from business, gaming industry and her work with The Willow Group to write her first book, The SisterhoodThe Sisterhood follows the story of an organization of the same name led by nine black women. The book opens up with the death of its visionary leader, Vivian Delacroix, and how the remaining leaders cope with not only her tragedy but also moving on with the organizations mission to develop sciences and technologies to empower communities, of especially women, all over the world, confronting Cocanol drug cartels, corrupt governments, secret societies and a media circus surrounding Vivian’s assassination, and dealing with their own personal lives.

We see what these women are willing to sacrifice to create break the mental chains of society and create a better, more whole future for others. At a deeper level, The Sisterhood is a blueprint for how to make changes in one’s life, how we can use the principals of visionary planning, financial literacy, science, technology, martial arts, leadership, spirituality, community service and responsibility to change our world.

Continue reading Modern Griots Interviews: Nichol Bradford and The Sisterhood Part 1

The Return of A Future Ancient: The Reinitiation


Untitled work from South African artist Gavin Jantjes Source: NY Times

Sometimes you get lost in the chaotic whirlwinds of life and need to find your footing again….

If you were wondering where I have been for the past several months, that I went off the grid, it is because I have been putting much of my energy into working on the Queens Book Festival, as previously the literary coordinator, and now director.

Although I am dedicated to the project and I am happy to announce the launch of our Indiegogo campaign (which you can contribute to here), I realized that in putting so much investment into the festival, I had neglected this space here.

Therefore, this official return is my attempt to try to find some sort of balance between these two projects (amidst the other projects I am working on, which I will tell you about another time). And this return, I call it the reinitiation.

First, I felt my blog needed a makeover, so I changed its look. Looking at it, I am reminded of the cave, where mysteries and initiations were held, and the mysterious paintings on cave walls. I wanted to invoke that with my logo and the stony background image. I hope you like it! Let me know what you think.

I will push myself to post as much as I can (most likely, a few times a month), but it won’t be as frequent as before.

Thank you everyone who has supported my blog and I hope you continue on this new journey with me!

Coming Up Next Week:

Interview with author Nichol Bradford (“The Sisterhood”) and my review of her book the week after!