May 17, 2011
FutureMed: Healthcare & Medicine Migrate From Linear Growth to Exponential Growth
I just finished attending a mind blowing event called FutureMed, the medical arm if you like, of Singularity University, which was founded by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil. Director, curator and chair of the program is Daniel Kraft, who together with a dedicated team, brought in some of the smartest creators and thinkers in medicine and healthcare for the 5 day long program.
Ask yourself: what is the impact that exponential technologies will have on medicine and healthcare? What was your initial response? Whether you're a scientist, physician, venture capitalist or biomed executive, the answers are profound because of the fast rate technology is developing, improving and having a direct impact on the "well-being" of our lives.
What's unique about the event is not just the content, which is deep and thought provoking and brings in insights from the top in their fields, but the structure of the event itself. Imagine a combination of panels, lectures and field trips with demos, workshops and breakout sessions all under one roof with only 70 or so attendees.
In other words, the intimacy of the event creates an environment where not only do you have an opportunity to have your answers questioned (and challenged) directly, but you have quality time with the speakers and technology creators, so you can more effectively understand what lies ahead -- and then act upon it. It also means that attendees are vetted, so not only is the speaker line-up phenomenal, but the attendees themselves have a host of honors, accolades and accomplishments, all of which result in an environment where the brightest minds can come together to learn, create and grow. A community is formed in which like-minds in medicine and healthcare can accomplish more together than they can alone in their respective fields. (Below is Peter Diamandis and Daniel Kraft in the first session of Day One).
Challenging the status quo is never easy but if through a combination of persistence, trial and error and really smart, caring and passionate thinkers who want to make a difference, things can change, particularly as you begin to see validation after validation for your thinking (and actions) along the way. In other words, linear thinking "be gone."
As CNET described the environment for participants, "For attendees, who range from executives in the medical field to practicing doctors to entrepreneurs looking for the next area to invest in, and who come from countries all over the world, FutureMed gives access to talks on topics as diverse as personalized medicine; the future of pharma; patient engagement; regenerative medicine; neuromedicine; synthetic biology; the future of medical education; global health and the hospital of the future; and more."
Ray Kurzweil and XPrize founder Peter Diamandis kicked things off with the notion that advances in healthcare and medicine have migrated from linear growth to exponential growth. As recapped so well in the MedGadget summary which you'll find me referencing a number of times because their coverage of the event was so extensive: "One fascinating insight from Ray’s talk was that these exponentially growing advances are often the combination of many different paradigms that grow and develop in a sigmoidal fashion. The exponential growth of computational power per dollar, for instance, is driven by say, vaccum tubes, which start slow, progress extremely rapidly, and then level off, only to be replaced by transistors, which did the same thing until integrated circuits came into the picture. Collectively, even though each of these technological paradigms hit a wall at some point, they were replaced by another advance that allowed the final outcome of computational power to continue to scale exponentially. In proof of this, Ray showed us what seemed to be an exponentially increasing number of charts that demonstrated exponential technological growth."
Another message we heard from many of the speakers, is how low the costs are going, from sensors that we wear and can self diagnose to the world of 3D printing, which using both plastics and metals, doesn't cost more to use.
In addition to 3D printing, Dan Barry talked about one of his favorite topics: robots.
There's no question; robots are getting smarter and smarter. Through sensors, robots are learning how to put objects in the right location and in the right spots within that location, i.e., product placement into a particular location on a particular shelf. "We want to move up the ladder even further," says Barry. "We want robots to not just organize but to sense, throw and manipulate."
Robot's dexterity is improving and their movement is getting more and more fluid. A robot’s hands can correspond to a human’s movements.
Dan gave a useful example of the impact on a human body when they do a space walk. He says, "it takes 4 hours just to get the nitrogen out of our system, but you can do a space walk with a robot through virtual reality and get the job done a lot faster."
He also brought up the social and ethical implications of people who may choose robots as their companions rather than human beings. In the future, robots will become true companions for people who are lonely, have lost their loved ones or generally just want companionship. Hmmm. Not sure about companionship (for me that is), but I definitely get the value of robots in eldercare and have already seen amazing advancements coming out of Willow Garage, where their PR2s are being trained to put dishes away, set the table and clean among other things.
On the Data Driven Healthcare panel, Stanford University's Dan Riskin talked about the convergence of devices. Says Riskin, "We’re able to take these platforms, such as an iPhone or a computer system, pull together valuable information and make it really useful. We’re seeing an innovation shift to mature platforms."
As for devices and technology, medical intervention will become an app. In fact, it's already starting to happen. Apps will be prescribed just like medication, i.e, welldoc shows a decrease in diabetics problems (a 4 fold benefit from an app than using medications alone).
We also heard about a perspective on the fundamental flaws of the RCT, which included things like the long term nature of it (often a decade to change care), the high expense (not affordable without support), the fact that it can be biased (selected based on drug and device firms) and lastly, that they're poorly generalizable. It’s just not working and ineffective.
Other apps are able to extract words/language that a patient uses and put them into a matrix to show how these words relate to each other, i.e., fever, nausea, chest tightness. The power of analytics is helping the doctor make a diagnosis by structuring a record so that he/she has more data and beyond that, some actual “meaning” within that data.
An example that was given was a test they did with a small group of patients who got re-admitted into the hospital. They did an analysis and discovered what contributed to people being re-admitted to the hospital and more importantly, why. The results helped with quality improvement and flow of data.
A force behind eLegs is Iceland-born Eythor Bender from Berkeley Bionics. They augment humans with wearable, artificially intelligent bionic devices called exoskeletons. Below is a young man demonstrating it to the FutureMed audience, showing how flexible and dynamic his world has become using their technology. Since visuals (and patient feedback) is most powerful, check out their YouTube channel for stories and use cases and their eLegs FAQ for the hows and whys. All I can say is: inspiring. There are no words for the rest.
Healthtap founder Ron Gutman pushed the need to unite consumers and physicians in personal health – both the data and the conversation. In other words, get physicians into the game and allow them to particate in the conversation so they can access this data in real time and better help their patients. The two step approach involves creating an infrastructure, then getting the physicians to engage with the data so its always up to-date and therefore relevant. It’s essentially a database that combines data, conversations, and personalization around the patient so the physician can be more effective in their care and decisions.
Sutha Kamal talked about feedback loops, which was a constant theme throughout the program. If I (a patient), can access data in real time through a wearable sensor and make sense of that data, then I can help my doctor better understand what is happening with my health over time. Feedback loops provoke action. (also refer to the beginning of my TEDxSV post where Wired's Chris Anderson talks about the same thing citing examples).
If you have no "meaning" from the data, then essentially you have a "broken" feedback loop. Data without meaning doesn't move a patient to take the right action OR have the right conversations with their doctors and other experts. "When you get this data, that data should belong to you," says Kamal. "We want to understand the things that you would adhere to but don’t today. Feedback is personal but meaning needs to be in that personal data so you, the patient, end up doing something with the data."
Ultimately, if you think your body is a “black box,” aka poor health, you’re going to end up getting depressed because you don’t know where to start. In the future, a lot of this gathered data will end up on our phones because they're with us all the time.
Google's Roni Zeiger says, "our cell phones will become our data lens for information about our bodies. You will also be able to access information in real time about the workflow of a hospital and the wait of the line in the emergency room. The patient is at the center of information flow and decision making."
The patient has ALL of the data because they know how they feel better than anyone else does. The data transmitted from a patient's body in the not too distant future, will be used to allow physicians to look at your veins and arteries remotely on a device. Ones and zeros will be flowing back (aka the patient’s data), with analysis so the physicians can make real-time diagnostics and decisions.
It’s happening now with sleep devices and soon it will be happening from a lot of different sources. He also gave examples of smart health realted search queries like “poison control,” which immediately returns the number for the US poison control center, and “suicide,” which displays the number for the US suicide prevention hotline.
Additionally, people are putting their data online, on Twitter, Patients Like Me and in other places and asking people to mine that data in a way that will be useful for their care givers and doctors. The distinction between data and conversations are becoming blurred, and eventually they’ll go away.
Gamification is a natural example, where incentives are given for a a particular behavior. Esther asked: "Where are the HR execs in this conversation?"
There’s an increasing trend in employer benefits where companies can start to engage with employees in innovative ways that has a positive impact on their health.
On reimbursement, McCall suggested that rather than see this as a barrier, think about creative ways to compensate. She noted that “there are ways for these things to pay for themselves.”
Google's Astro Teller gave a fascinating talk about body monitoring. He asserts that body monitoring isn't really about healthcare. "It misses the point," he says. "That way of thinking derails us from understanding what body monitoring can actually become in the future. Fitness people tend to be quantitative nuts. If you drive at the group that makes the most sense, you miss all the other amazing opportunities."
He talked about major obvious opportunities in this space, such as the “patch” which is very small and very cheap. Other trends around body monitoring in the future?
Upselling new pieces of value to the same wearer by showing value and cost effectiveness. Passive monitoring will also be big, he says, because at the end of the day, people don't like to "do" a lot for their health but they do want to be healthy. Passive monitoring allows us to have sensors on our bodies, but we don’t have to think about them. He's spot on about that one.
Monitors can tell us how much time people spend on their computers, their heart beats, the "way" they use something, such as a mouse. By monitoring a "behavior" such as mouse movement, you can get an idea of visual motor quality which is often a result of sleep deprivation or early warnings of Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease.
With sensors, people often ask “what does it measure?” Teller says, "this is not the point. We want the guess/surrogate to be better than it makes the statement about and we want accuracy to be good enough that we can make a better analysis overall about your body."
He also reminded us that while we’ve spent a lot of time sequencing the human genome, we haven’t spent much time sequencing the human lifestyle. Wearable body monitoring isn’t about being quantified, reinforcing his point by saying that "Mary Jo Jane" (aka the average person) doesn’t want to be quantified.
"Wearable body monitoring is about having the right parts of the world know who you are and in what you want and need in a million little ways, in real time, and all the time."
At the end of the day, you want people/things/data to respond to what you need without you having to think about it. AND, there will literally be a million apps for that. (his prediction is 1 million+ apps by 2015).
Check out the CBS Interactive Smart Planet clip for a "short" on Dan Barry's talk. And for incredibly in-depth coverage of the entire event, check out the summaries by MedGadget by the day.
Day One Summary: Ray Kurzweil, Gabor Forgacs, Eythor Bender and more.
Day Two Summary: Eric Schadt, Esther Dyson, Kaiser's Innovation Center.
Day Three Summary: Robert Hariri, Mike West, Autodesk and more.
Day Four Summary: Andrew Hessel, Philip Low, Intuitive Surgical and more.
Day Five Summary: Erik Rasmussen, Andy Kogelnik, Brad Peterson and Goodbyes.
And let's not forget David Bolinsky and team's incredible animation.
For a mind numbing experience, check out their site for a video that will take you through the human body in the most exciting way you could ever have imagined. (it's a bit like being on a Back to Future ride). Below, a glimpse of the magic they have created for companies, healthcare institutions and hospitals.
Below is a shot from the FutureMed graduation at NASA AMES in Silicon Valley on the last night, a group shot taken during the week and one taken at an after party. And, here are some images I shot from the kick off party, which includes an overview of the program and the first day.
Disclosure: I provided some consulting to FutureMed.
May 17, 2011 in America The Free, Client Announcements, Client Media Kudos, Conference Highlights, Events, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Robotics, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 16, 2011
TEDx Silicon Valley: Anderson, Hogg, Meier and Stein: #tedxsv
Anderson asserts that a data feedback loop can improve behavior as you see real-time stats on the consequences of your actions, whether its from a device or a non-intrustive wearable monitor. Simply by being aware of how your body is affected by your actions, you can improve your performance and lead a healthier life - emotionally and physically.
Feedback loops was a popular theme of many of the speakers, who focused on the growth of sensors which track your patterns and behavior. Bpttom line: once we see value in the feedback we receive from sensors, which continue to come down in price, we can measure everything we do. "Measurement," says Anderson, "quantifies what matters most and through that feedback loop, we can make smarter decisions."
Gamification -- on and offline -- can also be effective and is growing in popularity. Whether its points or rewards we give a child who remembers to brush his or her teeth or badges and coupons to buy things online if we cut out that donut and coffee for five days in a row, the feedback we receive through gamification is validation that we're doing something right or wrong.
Imagine a future where you're measuring nearly everything you do? Tomorrow, your thermometer can let you know when is the most efficient time to run the dishwasher, shaving money off your bill month after month. Today, you can already do quite a bit with measuring devices, right down to measuring stress levels in real time based on who you're talking to. (be prepared bosses, mother-in-laws, accountants, dentists and lawyers - stress meter readings may not be all that pretty).
Chris Hogg reinforced Anderson's message about the importance of data and measurement, particularly as it relates to better health and well being.
He pointed to his 67 year old step father who regularly drinks foul tasting tea and can see a correlation between drinking it and improved health, all of which he tracks on his iPhone.
Patrick Meier gave us a demo of something he referred to as Check-Ins with Purpose.
Country after country, he showed us a mapped location of how check-ins and smart location mapping has helped humanitarian efforts.
Forward wind to the Japanese Tsunami. They created a "crisis map" to help locate missing people, which the Japanese government and other organizations who were providing relief, could access.
The other example he used was Libya, where they created a "social media map" to improve their humanitarian efforts on the ground. Take a look at Libya Crisis Map.net.
The Libya Crisis Map platform was activated by the request of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the Standby Task Force (SBTF). The platform continues to be supported by volunteers.
We can be more effective at helping people than we ever have been able to do in the past with rich geo-location based services and social media tools at our fingertips. We can use Facebook to schedule and post notices, Twitter to coordinate and get the word out and YouTube to share the story in more depth. "These live maps," he says, "are like having helicopters above you so you can see exactly where people are and therefore find them that much faster."
One of the things she has learned from going through the process is to keep your ear to the ground....in other words, listen to voices from the local community. She calls the phenomena they have created, a "global tribe."
Says Lara, "My goals have migrated from how do you create systems and back ends on the ground TO how to we paint the story of this massively global and passionate tribe? The latest stats are staggering: 1,783 past events, 1,002 future events, 101 cities and 46 countries.
A handful of guidelines she has learned include the following: plan for the predictable, be prepared to invent as you learn, don’t get in the way, pave the way of your real time feedback loop, ignore the chorus, be prepared to fail (another theme of speakers), don’t think of it as a part time job, listen to the community on the ground, and follow your moral compass. She adds, "our focus is inspiration and action, not education."
She quoted an attendee who attended a TEDx in a remote area: "I was sitting on the end of the world, huge oil fields surrounded by massive dunes and nothing else, I was surrounded by really smart kids and nothing else." Indeed. That feeling is most definitely is a TED-like moment.
May 16, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, Reflections, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 26, 2011
Ultimate Women's Expo Hits Phoenix on April 30
The Ultimate Women’s Expo hits Phoenix next weekend, which will consist of two full days of events, giveaways and talks designed specifically for women. The conference features keynote speakers Patricia Heaton and Ricki Lake and over 550 shopping booths, along with complimentary pampering and rejuvenation for women in and outside of Arizona.
Exhibits include the very best in fashion, beauty, health, fitness, home décor, careers, financial planning, education and much more. Admission includes an amazing array of complimentary spa services, including free makeovers, haircuts, manicures, massages and facials. They'll have four stages, book signings, celebrity appearances, and cooking and design demonstrations. The Decorating Stage features renown design experts providing new ideas on home décor, while the Cooking Theatre features some of the Valley’s most talented chefs preparing the latest in new and fresh meal ideas.
Emmy Award Winning Actress, Author, Producer and bestselling author Patricia Heaton will deliver an empowering message to women on making the most of everyday and living your best life on Saturday, April 30, 2011, Susan Lucci, the vixen from All My Children, will also speak and then conduct a book signing and award winning actress, author, producer, Talk Show Host and Women’s Advocate Ricki Lake will finish off with a talk on exceeding your own expectations on Sunday, May 1, 2011.
How cool is this? They'll also have a Rejuvenation Tea Garden Lounge, which will feature over 500 trees and flowering gardens, and there within, attendees will receive free champagne, martini’s, margaritas and wine tastings throughout the weekend.
March 18, 2011
Seth Priebatsch on Game Mechanics, LBS, Education & Meaning at SXSWSeth Priebatsch who calls himself the Chief Ninja at a company with no vowels: SCVNGR! gave a keynote at the recent SXSW in Austin this past week. Talk about a mouthful....not a name I'll ever remember but luckily his energy and conviction was addictive and engaging. He discussed gamification, location-based services, social media engagement and more as it related to businesses, in education and beyond.
Seth talked about education. School is broken because while it is perfect for ‘game mechanics’ it doesn’t work because there is no engagement in schools. "Kids are bored," says Seth. "Engagement is a critical concept that any good game designer thinks a lot about. When you replace the real reward, i.e., learning for learning sake, with something that feels like a chore, i.e., getting a grade, kids get bored. Right now, grades are a simple game mechanic in education and that’s how we reward today. Grades are naïve implementation of a status mechanic. The problem with grades is that it’s a game where you can lose and in education, you don’t want anyone to lose."
He challenges the audience with this question: “Why not create a grading dynamic based on progressions? Rather than grade on a particular test or one experience, you grade and give points based on progression – focusing on the positive. In this scenario you can’t fail, it’s more how quickly do you move from x points to y points, starting with zero experience for everyone. The idea is to have kids focus on the end result and on progression rather than grades."
He then dissected Groupon and explored various game mechanics, what works and why:
Free Lunch - this is one of the most subtle game mechanics in the deck. It plays off consumers own skepticism. We’ve been taught that no free lunch exists, but what we see with Groupon, we see something that is too good to be true. With Groupon, the free lunch is justified, i.e., so many people need to sign up and if they do, we get the free lunch. The brilliance of what Groupon has done is that they can present the free lunch, play off the consumer’s skepticism, but guaranteed that the consumer doesn’t have to take any action to do it.
Communal Game Play – based on the idea that you can give anyone a complex problem, you can solve it using a community. As a community, if you share the deal with your friends, together you all win. Groupon uses this game mechanic as a kickstarter.
The Countdown – whenever you see a deal on Groupon, you see a countdown, which is a game mechanic that creates a spike in activity as you get closer to countdown zero.
Loyalty: the idea of being a regular, i.e., Norm at Cheers. American Express uses status really well, making you feel really special every time you move to the next level with different colored cards (progression game mechanics).
The Level Up Game Mechanic: unlocking a higher reward. You have different levels, i.e., good, better, best. Levels one and two are locked, they can see them but not have them. New comers move to regulars and they receive rewards for leveling up.
Inclusive Ownership - Exclusive ownership means that you get the benefit from owning something and no one else can benefit from it, i.e., the game of Risk is a great example. Inclusive ownership are group owners – everyone gets a benefit. Community gains from a group checking into a place.
Reward Schedules – the idea behind reward schedules is ‘what do I get for doing this?’ Everyone has introduced something you get for doing something, i.e., badges, lotteries, free drinks, points at a place, something that allows you to engage with a place. Rewards actually work really well.
Communal game play and communal discovery - The idea behind this is that you give a complex problem to a group of people and the community solves it together. The mechanics to make a group give something away that will be bad for them in the short term in order to have a better result long term. Decentralized leadership can solve complex problems so much faster than centralized leadership with communal game play mechanics in play.
People want to be part of something epic and work harder tha you normally would because you’re fully engaged and you want to be part of something greater than yourself. In other words, a Global problem with a local solution.
He also used examples by getting the audience involved in games he created to prove his points. Have a listen:
March 17, 2011
Ushahidi's Open Source Platform Lowers Barriers & Accelerates Storytelling
I ran into Juliana Rotich in Long Beach during TED, who is a Program Director with a non-profit organized called Ushahidi.
Their tools help democratize information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.
"Ushahidi", which means "testimony" in Swahili, was a website that was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008.
Since then, the name "Ushahidi" has come to represent the people behind the "Ushahidi Platform".
Their roots are in the collaboration of Kenyan citizen journalists during a time of crisis. The original website was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phones.
This website had 45,000 users in Kenya, and was the catalyst to realize there was a need for a platform based on it, which could be used by others around the world.
March 16, 2011
#140edu: Conference on the State of Education Comes to NYC in August
The 140 Conference (aka #140conf) is an event that Jeff Pulver started in June 2009 and now he has extended these events into other niche areas such as fashion and now education. His new event, just announced, is 140edu, a conference on the state of education. The event is taking place August 2-3 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City and will explore the "State of Education - NOW," and the underlying effects the real-time web is having on Education. The event website is http://140edu.com.
Ever since the first #140conf event in New York City back in June 2009, I have been looking at the effects of the real-time web on Education. To date, the #140conf events have provided a platform for: students, parents, elementary and secondary school teachers, college professors and high school principals. At a recent #140conf it was said that "in 1920 being illiterate meant not being able to read or write. In 2010 being illiterate means not knowing how to surf the net."
In an attempt to provide more attention and more voices to the educators of the world, they are partnering with Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann) - Principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.
Since the birth of the real-time Internet, many educational institutions around the world have found themselves establishing a presence on both Facebook and twitter and have been challenged with the task of having to having to have someone (or a team) represent their school and become their online and physical voice for their students. For many schools this is something both new and challenging.
The growing widespread popularity of cell phones have ushered in the era of both texting and sexting and other related disruptions. Some schools have restricted the use of cell phones in schools while other schools have eventually embraced it.
Some teachers are reachable by their students on their cell phones and remind students of their homework assignments and answer questions about work assignments. The evolution of the 7 AM to 3PM lifestyle to a 24/7 lifestyle is changing the students connect with both other students and their teachers.
Ever since the launch of Facebook, K-12 schools around the world have been dealing with the unintended consequences of "friending" in the classroom and the issues it raises. Facebook forces the issue of "friending," be it between students and students, students and teachers, parents and teachers and sometimes between students and Principals and Parents and Principals. Some schools have banned the use of Facebook and others have embraced it only to realize that students are smarter than school policies and in the end they will decide how they communicate and with whom.
And it isn't only Facebook. Twitter has become a popular platform for educators from around the world to discover and connect with each other. The #edchat chats continue to grow. In a world that has become flat, educators are just a tweet away from each other and each day they continue to discover and explore common ground and are sharing experiences and observations for how to best approach education in the era of the real-time web.
The changes in the way we live our lives must create change in the way we teach and learn. The real-time web should create profound changes in the way we think about what, how and why students and teachers can do, create and communicate. The very nature of what we consider "school" should be radically different given the powerful reach of the communicate tools our students have at their disposal. #140edu is dedicated to exploring and expanding that change.
March 13, 2011
2011 TED Prize Winner: Changing the World One Photograph at a Time - #TED
Being a passionate photographer myself and having lived and traveled to some of the pockets where JR shot hundreds of images for a 'wish' he had for the world, I couldn't help but be a little more than intrigued by his project which just won the TED Prize last week in Long Beach, CA.
So, who's JR? He is a photographer whose career began when he found a camera in the Paris subway. In his first major project, in 2001 and 2002, JR toured and photographed street art around Europe, tracking the people who communicate their messages to the world on walls. His first large-format postings began appearing on walls in Paris and Rome in 2003. His first book, Carnet de rue par JR, about street artists, appeared in 2005.
In 2006, he launched “Portrait of a Generation,” huge-format portraits of suburban “thugs” from Paris’ notorious banlieues, posted on the walls of the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became official when Paris City Hall wrapped its own building in his photos.
His wish for the world? I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we'll turn the world...INSIDE OUT."
Here's the idea: to participate.create a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Everyone will be challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. These digitally uploaded images will be made into posters and sent back to the project’s co-creators for them to exhibit in their own communities.
People can participate as an individual or in a group; posters can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium. These exhibitions will be documented, archived and viewable virtually. Visit www.insideoutproject.net to participate.
Below is an exhibit of some of his work held at a gallery in Long Beach, the weekend after the TED Conference finished.
In the gallery, which was free to all attendees, you could have your photo taken and within minutes, you were given a larger than yourself piece of paper with your mug shot, replicating what he has been doing in developing countries. It's symbollic of his project and the idea is to plaster your image somewhere to expand his idea and he hopes, to change the world.
The TED Prize is designed to leverage the TED community’s exceptional array of talent and resources and is awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, “One Wish to Change the World.”
March 13, 2011 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Conference Highlights, Europe, On Africa, On Australia, On China, On East Africa, On Education, On France, On Germany, On Innovation, Photography, South America, United Kingdom, WBTW | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 21, 2011
Room-to-Read: Lessons Learned in Taking Literacy Global
Erin Keown Ganju shared her passion with 1,300+ TEDxBerkeley attendees this past weekend, including five key lessons she has learned about not just engaging the world (theme of this year's event) but making a difference in the emerging world with literacy acceleration.
She shared her own journey with Room to Read, which seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, they develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
She quoted Nelson Mendela as a reinforcement to how critical education is, particularly in the developing world: Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.
She shared her five lessons learned in being involved in expanding Room to Read around the world. Founded in 1998, in seven years, they had donated their millionth book!
Lesson One: find an idea that canges the world. The key to develoing solutions is an educated population.
Lesson Two: Turn an idea into reality. She told stories about changing the way people 'think' about education in rural areas of India, Sri Lanka, Zambia -- what it will mean for them if they embrace education and learn to read.
Lesson Three: Learn From Setbacks and Take Risks. She told a story about Lao and breaking through rules and regulations to get a program set up in that country.
Lesson Four: Take it to scale. They have now established 11,000 libraries which has now outnumbered the number of Starbucks and McDonalds. They have impacted over 5 million children and there are over 53 countries around the world which are raising money for educate children and promote reading.
Lesson Five: Remain open to refining the vision.
February 20, 2011
Robert Fuller on Rankism: Humiliation is More Dangerous Than Plutonium
He was fresh and frank when he spoke about racism, how it is baked into people's DNA for generations before its 'hold' becomes undone entirely.
This lead him to his work and passion for not just understanding rankism, but turning it into a movement so the generation behind us doesn't let rankism create more nobodies.
Refer to his book: Nobodoes & Somebodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rankism.
One thing I loved about Robert Fuller was his astute attention to things and people. I saw him in the green room early on and then back stage and as he was wandering around, it was not just as a speaker waiting to go on, but as an observer of 'intention,' listening in that way where you knew he was absolutely present for every part of it.
He started his talk by focusing on the word DIGNITY. He says, "to claim such a future, we have to own up to our past," and reminds us that the past of our species is a predatory past.
"Among your ancestors, there were some great predators or you wouldn't be here," he says. "Dignity is on the march yet it is defined by its absense." As for how the absense of dignity shows up? Words and actions that are patronizing and condescending, which often come across as threats, even if they're quiet ones.
Robert brought up examples in his own upbringing at a time where racism was prominent and not hidden. Even though he is a generation behind me, it applied to my own childhood and I was raised in the Northeast, not the South. He also shared stories of where it shows up today in India and Bangladesh among other emerging countries.
His calming and purposeful voice then recited a portion of an Emily Dickinson poem on stage:
I'M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
There there's a pair of us -- don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
From examples to emotions, I loved the way he took us on a journey of dignity and lack of it and an awareness of rankism. Robert shared a thought he had in the middle of the night during a dream: Nobodys of the world unite, we have nothing to worry about or lose but our shame.
You have to wonder if you have such a powerful thought, one which you remember in the middle of a dream as if you were lucid, is it important enough to become a movement? Or a book? Or at least something to act on even if in some small way?
He says, "you can't start a movement unless you know what you're for and what you're against. When women realized that they were against sexism, they had teeth." He then moves onto the 'dignity movement' and asks "what is the dignity movement is against? It is against humiliation, it is against talking down to people, it against one upmanship, and it is against rankism."
He says, "when you're a nobody, you look for other nobodies, so you're not a freak and so you have a pal." And while I'm sure many of the people in the room reflected on grade school, high school and even college, rankism occurs everyday -- in our social encounters and in business, and sometimes it occurs where we are a part and sometimes it occurs where we are the observer.
Robert says with intent, "you're probably wondering whether our predatory nature of our past is embedded in our DNA and there's nothing we can do it. I remind you that this is exactly what men said about the women's movement. Rankism is the residue of predation. Rankism and predation are extremely dangerous.....and humiliation is more dangerous than plutonium."
I'll leave you with this thought as he left us with this and other important observations about dignity, rankism, humiliation and how we treat people everyday.
Protect other people's dignity as you would your own.
He ends with this powerfully simple but important statement: "there's only one thing that is more important than how we treat the planet and that's how we treat each other."
November 25, 2010
How Valuable Is A Degree?
There's an interesting debate going on, in Higher Education of course, centering on the value of a degree. It's a subject I did my best to be helpful about at a local school careers evening last week.
The question I always get asked is: 'should I do a marketing degree if I want to get into marketing?'
To which my honest response is no.
From my point of view, as an employer, I want people with good brains who have studied a subject which develops their thinking skills and knowledge of something broader than marketing. I know there are good marketing qualifications out there (somewhere) but as a first degree subject I can't see it helps if everyone in our industry has read the same books, studied the same case studies and is taught to think in the same way.
Surely our whole point is to come up with fresh ideas, challenge the status quo, martial our arguments, persuade our colleagues and measure our effectiveness - to name but a few of the things that marketing and agency people get up to.
I've canvassed my colleagues on the subject. Their qualifications range from the highly relevant (Honors in Graphic Design or Computer Science) to the useful (Economics, Phsychology, English) to the total wastes of time (Sociology, Film & Media Studies).
What do you think - are degrees valuable in the marketing sphere and if so, which ones?