Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for March, 2013

Innovating Healthcare, Starting With the Words We Use

Posted by Plish on March 30, 2013

I remember when I was a kid, my dad had gone for some tests.  He had never had major tests like this before because they were testing for a terminal disease.  The doctor shared the results and told him the results were negative.

His heart, and face sank…

“No, that’s good news!” the doctor responded, “It means you don’t have the disease!”

When I saw the below picture at MedicalHumour, I remembered the story and the power of words.


It got me to thinking again about the power of words. (Dr. Lera Boroditsky has done some amazing work on this)  In addition, research is showing, more and more, the power of positivity

So when I saw the above picture, at first I chuckled and shared it on my Facebook page.

And then I was horrified.

This isn’t right.  Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing.  Leaving aside the bedside manner of physicians, the very fact that a word that carries connotations of goodness, healing, joy, and forward movement is used to convey negative news is wrong.  How can we expect sick people to think in a truly life-giving and healing manner if they hear a ‘good’ word conveying bad news?

I’m involved  with the folks over at Positive Imperative.  These folks are busy ‘driving the world to positivity,’ understanding and fostering positivity and its role in our world. (I encourage you to join them as well!)  They have a movement called Posiwords that is about creating, and fostering the use of, positive words.

In a time when healthcare costs are rising, we need to take advantage of every edge we can to get people healthier quicker and with less cost.

What a better way to start than with the language that’s being used in the healthcare setting?

Co-creating a better healthcare system starts with this post.

What are some of your ideas for changing the words we use?

Posted in Co-Creation, Design, Healthcare, innovation, problem solving, Social Innovation, The Future, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Designing the Future? Check out these 5 Websites for Innovative and Inspiring Materials

Posted by Plish on March 20, 2013

soft, hard

glowing, shiny

smooth, rough

warm, cool

sharp, dull

touch, see, taste, hear(?!)


Reflect for a moment on where you are now:

Probably sitting somewhere….Wearing something (if not, I hope you are not in public)…Your feet are resting upon something…You’re looking at a screen, touching it perhaps..you are smelling and feeling the hot cup of coffee in your hand…the rings on your fingers…

Your experience of now is mediated through materials of all types, shapes and sizes.  The clothes, upholstery, floor, cup, tablet screen, coffee cup, the coffee, even the air, your skin…all materials…

Materials are so foundational to our experience of life that we often just take them for granted.

But, these are exciting times.

New materials are being created daily, materials that respond to temperature, to vibration, to light…materials that change shape in magnetic/electric fields, materials that don’t pollute the environment…

What we can make in the world is limited more so by materials than by our dreams…

Here are some really cool websites, some free, some not free, but all display a dizzying array of materials of all types.

OpenMaterials.org This site is all about ways to DIY amazing materials.  It’s about sharing material experiences.  Check this out.

Materials for Designers – Great site from the Materials Information Society.  Great database.

Transmaterial – Materials that redefine our physical environment.  Amazing stuff here.

Material ConneXion – This is a great site.  It is also a subscription based site. However, these folks offer more than just materials, they can be innovation partners. And, if you live in the areas where they have their display rooms you can actually see and touch the materials in their database. It’s worth a subscription to these folks.

Materia – Similar to Material ConneXion but this database is free.  There tagline is “Materialize the Future.”  Their website is a great place to start.

This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have any other sites, please share them.

Henry David Thoreau said, “The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”

Please don’t settle and let your dreams become woodsheds.  Learn about, and experience new materials.

~The more we know materials, the more we can make dreams reality~





Posted in Architectural Design, culture of innovation, Design, Experience, Fashion, innovation, Nanotechnology, Open Source, Sustainability, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Your St. Patrick’s Day Innovation Lesson: Less is More

Posted by Plish on March 15, 2013

On a day when many people celebrate St. Patrick’s day with revelry and excess, I was pleasantly surprised by this patch-o-less from the sleeve of  the Chicago Wolves hockey team’s, St. Patrick’s jerseys.

Chicago Wolves Patch with Negative Space

Upon first glance, and especially at a little bit of a distance, all one sees is a four leaf  clover.

Upon closer examination it reveals more.  The void at the center of the leaves (the technical term is “negative space”)  is actually a star that is a symbol for the City of Chicago.

The lesson is simple:

Before you add another feature to your product, ask yourself what you can take away to create more value and craft a more powerful message.


Happy Innovating and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted in Design, Fashion, innovation, Sports Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The “Create the Future” Design Contest is Open for Entries!

Posted by Plish on March 12, 2013

Have an idea for a cool new product, something that screams, “This is the FUTURE!”?  Then the Create the Future contest is for you, and you have until July 1, 2013 to enter!

There are eight different divisions you can submit entries to:

◦Aerospace & Defense — Product innovations with applications in the aerospace, aviation, and/or defense markets.

◦Consumer Products — Products that increase quality of life in the workplace, at home, during leisure time, or while traveling.

◦Electronics — Products that improve computing, communications, and other fields that rely on advances in electronic components and systems.

◦Machinery and Equipment — Products that speed and improve work, manufacturing, or scientific research processes.

◦Medical Products — Products that improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare.

◦Safety and Security — Products that enhance the security or safety of individuals, businesses, communities, or nations.

◦Sustainable Technologies — Products that help reduce dependence on non-renewable energy resources, as well as products designed for other purposes using environmentally friendly materials or manufacturing processes.

◦Transportation & Automotive — Products that enable movement of people and goods from one place to another.

Your entry will be judged on:





The Grand Prize is $20,000 plus publicity.

So, give it go and good luck!!


Posted in Contests, creativity, Design, innovation, NASA, The Future | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Amazing Innovations – The Lung-on-a-Chip

Posted by Plish on March 10, 2013

I was turned on to this video from a friend and wanted to share it with you.  An amazing step in the direction of creating a means to test drugs and treatments, without animals, and perhaps some day, with the patient’s own cells.  What I find particularly cool is the prospect of linking multiple versions of these together and modelling more complex systems.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Posted in Biology, Healthcare, innovation, The Future | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Innovation, Design, Beauty and More From the International Home + Housewares Show

Posted by Plish on March 5, 2013

I went to the Home + Housewares Show today.  I love this show – the new ideas, the color, the food and cooking, it’s a veritable smorgasbord of design. Because of an impending snowstorm I was only able to attend today and as a result, there is one hall that I did not fully check out. Below are pictures of approaches to products that are beautiful, or sometimes, just different enough to make one say, hmmm… Without further ado, and in no particular order (actually they are in the order I took the pics):

Made from hemp, I really dug the Twist.  (It got a great review here) Even the writing on the back was fun: “Some raviolis are filled with meat. Others with cheese. Ours are full of clean. If you want to get technical, they’re actually a pastry of hemp burlap, stuffed full of biodegradable sponge. And they’re shaped like a jumbo ravioli. Perfect for baked-on food like, well, ravioli. Sorry. We couldn’t resist the perfect symmetry of this design story.”

Biodegradable scrubby

Biodegradable scrubby

Silicone Glasses and cups were actually all over.  The use of silicone keeps becoming more ubiquitous (if that’s possible!) every year. I like the fact that this particular cup went the extra step of providing Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in creativity, Design, Experience, innovation, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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