ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for September, 2011

Need to Understand the New Patent Law? These Two Sites May Help

Posted by Plish on September 29, 2011

The America Invents Act has been signed into law.  In order to understand the impact of the law, I’ve been checking out various websites and found a couple that do a great job of explaining what this law means and how it may impact inventive entities, both large and small.

First, check out the law firm of Pepper Hamilton where this great primer  explains the changes in a clear and understandable manner.

Once you’ve read that, head on over to this Washington and Lee website, listen to the short podcast from Professor Alan C. Marco and read the article.  This is a really fair and balanced opinion on the impact of the patent law changes.

My opinion?

Yes, there might be a slight bias to the law that favors larger companies, but there seems to be enough wiggle room in the law to enable entrepreneurs to flourish.  Time and legal challenges will help shape the law, but in the meantime, if someone has a great idea for a product, passionately believes in it, and wants to see it come to fruition, the United States is still the place to be.

Posted in Entrepreneurship 2.0, innovation, invention, patents | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Resources and Tips to Improve Communication and (Your) Healthcare Quality

Posted by Plish on September 28, 2011

…Communication is two-sided – vital and profound communication makes demands also on those who are to receive it… demands in the sense of concentration, of genuine effort to receive what is being communicated. – Roger Sessions

The Joint Commission says over 70 percent of sentinel events — sentinel events are unexpected outcomes, death or injuries — over 70 percent are due to breakdown in communication, That’s a huge deal. – Sorrel King, Founder of Josie King Foundation

We know that when patients and clinicians communicate well, care is better. But in today’s fast-paced health care system, good communication isn’t always the norm. This campaign reminds us all that effective communication between patients and their health care team is important and that it is possible – even when time is limited. –  AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.

Communication – real, deep communication- seems difficult enough when two people are healthy and  have all the time in the world to share.

Now put those two people in a doctor’s office, make one a doctor and the other sick and communication becomes even more difficult.  And, if the quality of communication goes down, the quality of healthcare is not too far behind.

To help keep the level of communication high, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has begun an initiative to foster more effective communication between patients and clinicians. One aspect of the initiative emphasizes the importance of asking questions.  People ask all types of questions when buying a cellphone, why not when dealing with their health?  The AHRQ provides videos of both patients and clinicians, highlighting the importance of asking questions and being prepared for the doctor visit.

With regards to being prepared for the doc  visit, Dr. Oz provides a great one-sheet (it’s pictured at the beginning of this blog entry – click on it to get a copy) that helps women if they think they may have ovarian cancer.  What about if you have other problems?

Write the symptoms down- draw pictures showing where it hurts! Make your own list of problems and things to ask.

“The process of drawing is, before all else, the process of putting the visual intelligence into action, the very mechanics of visual thought. Unlike painting and sculpture it is the process by which the artist makes clear to himself, and not to the spectator, what he is doing. It is a soliloquy before it becomes communication. – Michael Ayrton

Ayerton’s quote is very apropos.  When we write and draw, we make things clear to ourselves. When things are clear we are able to articulate them better to others, and this improves the quality of communication- that is, if someone is listening.

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. – Robert McCloskey

Listening is more than understanding what the other person is saying.  Listening, truly listening,  affirms the one speaking.  When we listen to others, those people feel valued for who they are; it builds trust.  It shows that we respect those people, that we value their stories, their dreams, where they’re going and where they’ve been.

With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing. – Catherine de Hueck Doherty

…Listening…

…Healing…

Maybe it’s not that innovative, but  it’s what healthcare is all about, isn’t it?

*****Postscript*****

I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon tomorrow, the 28th, and while in the shower thought of a couple of things that I hadn’t before with regards to how my leg is healing.  I’ve written it all down in my phone so I don’t miss anything in the morning (I wrote this blog on the evening of the 27th).  It’s actually a relief not having to expend energy forcing myself to remember what to say tomorrow.

Posted in Design, Healthcare, innovation, Life Stages, The Human Person, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Make Beautiful Music – Bolster Creativity

Posted by Plish on September 23, 2011

Playing is essential to learning.  Children play constantly, and guess what?  They learn constantly.

Adults could learn if they played, but unfortunately we think play is only for kids.

Enter the Theta Music Trainer.

While children could definitely learn from this, adults are the ones that could really sink their teeth, um, ears, into this.

Music connects with those parts of our brain – those artsy, non-linear areas – that help with creative thinking in general.  Flex your musical brain ‘muscles’ and you flex your creative muscles.

The Theta Music Trainer site  gets that creative workout going, and in a fun, and playful manner.  Oh, and did I say, “Free?”  Yup, it’s free.  However, if you get addicted to the games, and want to learn more than the free levels offer, you have to subscribe.   Regardless, there are plenty of free resources worth checking out. (As an aside, the business model for this site is intriguing, don’t you think?)

So, make some beautiful music tonight –  Your creativity muscles will thank you!

Posted in Authenticity, children, creativity, Creativity Videos, games, Musical Creativity, Nature of Creativity, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Animals, Architecture and Design – Are We Losing the Connection?

Posted by Plish on September 22, 2011

There’s something about animals.  They can evoke fear, joy and myriads of other emotions.   Once upon a time, gargoyles and various other creatures were regularly incorporated into the design of buildings.  But now?

With the exception of clothes, how often do you see them in modern architecture and products?

Other than the Milwaukee Art Museum’s , Quadracci Pavilion,  which evokes a bird with its flapping wings and soaring demeanor, I can’t think of any other buildings.

Marketing campaigns have not been shy about using animals.  And for good reason.  It’s probably the same reason that older/ancient architecture utilized animals in both serious and whimsical fashions (and why people are attracted to furry, animal patterned garments).

Human brains are hardwired to respond to animals.

The above study shows that animals evoke pretty strong reactions in our amygdala’s – that older part of our brains that is largely responsible for emotional responses.

Which brings me back to my original question:

Why aren’t animals used more prominently in modern architecture and innovative products?  Sure, we use the mechanisms of animals to improve our products and ventilation systems, but we still insist on soaring glass and steel, monoliths with gold accents.  In a world that is trying to recapture a respect for nature, shouldn’t there be less techiness in our structures, and more ‘down-to-earthinesss’? Shouldn’t we celebrate our connection to animals in ways that doesn’t cheapen them or make them solely articles of (literal) consumption?

What do you think?

 

 

Posted in Architectural Design, Biology, Design, Evolution, innovation, nature, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

That’s YOUR Chunk of Open Office Space, This is MINE…

Posted by Plish on September 16, 2011

In the past I wrote about the health impact of open plan office spaces and their impact on creativity

Now it appears that open office spaces, intended to foster interaction, instead foster territorial behaviours that undermine collaboration.

 Professor of Strategic Management, Stephen Cummings, who led the study said,

“The intent of taking away dividing walls and doors is usually to improve creativity and performance by fostering spontaneous fun, interaction and sharing…However, we found evidence that it can lead to attempts by employees to re-create spatial and social structures and boundaries, actually undermining the behaviours an organisation is trying to encourage.

…most teams marked out their territory with posters, slogans and personal items, even moving furniture to create their own personalised space, which seemed to put other teams off moving into that space.  Employees also tended to use the activity rooms in their established team groups at separate times rather than mingling with other teams.”

He also mentioned that people felt that they lacked privacy and hence they had to be more rigid in their behaviours and hence less innovative.

So what to do?  Well the obvious step is to create a mix of open and private space, understand what your people are like, and build an environment that plays to individual strengths, needs and personalities.  “One size fits all,” isn’t the way to an innovative culture.

 

 

 

Posted in Architectural Design, Authenticity, Behavioral Science, Case Studies, creativity, culture of innovation, Health Concerns, innovation, Nature of Creativity, Team-Building, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Is Art Always Accessible? Help us Research This and Maybe Win $25.

Posted by Plish on September 12, 2011

I had some conversations recently regarding Bonsai.  Yup, the living art-form where trees are planted in pots and grown (metadesigned?) to look like aged, mini-versions of full size trees.

We spoke about multiple aspects of Bonsai, but one of the topics that stayed with me was the popularity of the artform.  How accessible is it to most people?  What do people really think about it?  Can it ever be as popular as say,  scrapbooking? 

Being who I am, I couldn’t simply let these questions go unanswered so I figured to get the ball rolling and start by getting at some basic perceptions about Bonsai.

I’ve created a very basic, two question survey to get at perceptions of the art of Bonsai.  You can check it out here.

So, whether you’re in to Bonsai or not, take the survey and you’re entered for a chance to win $25.  Be honest and upfront.  We’ll analyze the responses and repost on this topic in the beginning of October.

I could say more but I don’t want to impact your thoughts in any way.

Thanks for taking part in this project!

Posted in Authenticity, Contests, creativity, Design, imagination, innovation, nature, Surveys, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Interested in Open Innovation Models? Check This Out!

Posted by Plish on September 4, 2011

***

I was lying on the couch in the wee hours of the night/morning, flipping through various channels.  I came upon a program  on the Sundance channel and saw designers brainstorming, sketching, prototyping….

….cooool….

I had stumbled upon: Quirky.

Part open innovation, part reality TV, part design, all seething with entrepreneurship.

Started by entrepreneur, Ben Kaufman, it’s a show worth checking out. You can read about the company in this article.

Even more importantly, if you have any ideas of your own, or even if you want to comment on other people’s ideas, stop by Quirky .

You’ll definitely have fun, and maybe even make some money.

Posted in Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship 2.0, innovation, invention, problem solving, Start-Ups | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,432 other followers

%d bloggers like this: