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Matthew E. May is an internationally recognized expert on change, innovation and design strategy. He is a columnist for the American Express Small Business OPEN Forum Idea Hub where he writes in the popular “The World” section.

He is the author of In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing (2009), which was a 2009 Inc. magazine bestseller, and was named to the BusinessWeek 2009 Best Business Books list in the Design/Innovation category, 800CEORead’s “Best Business Books 2009 (Creativity/Innovation)”, and Richard Pachter’s “Best Business Books of 2009” lists. His preceding book, The Elegant Solution: Toyota’s Formula for Mastering Innovation (2006), won the Shingo Research Prize for Excellence and was selected as one of 800CEORead’s “Best Business Books of 2006.”

A popular speaker and adviser, Matt lectures each year to corporations, governments, and universities around the world, as well as coaches creative teams and senior leaders in companies of all sizes. He spent nearly a decade as a close adviser to Toyota and is a master kaizen coach. His articles have appeared in national publications such as USAToday, Design Mind, and MIT/Sloan Management Review. He has been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker Magazine, and on National Public Radio.

Matt is a graduate of the Wharton School and the Johns Hopkins University, but considers winning the New Yorker Magazine Cartoon Caption Contest among his proudest achievements.

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Recognizing Your Breakthrough Moments

There are times in life when if fortunate we experience a moment of utter clarity. We feel wide awake and connected and balanced: everything makes sense, we know exactly who we are, what we want, and why we're here. In that moment, be it one blink or a thousand, our effectiveness is maximal. And yet our actions seem minimal, effortless even, and the experience is consummately satisfying. These are breakthrough moments. These are moments of shibumi. Shibumi is a Japanese word, the meaning of which is reserved for just these kinds of experiences. With roots in the Zen aesthetic ideals…

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