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Designing a Better World in the New Year

Posted by Plish on January 13, 2014

“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.”

― Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

The Life Influence Continuum - Click to see full size

Click To See Full Size

A New Year – New Beginnings in the Life Influence Continuum

Each person

A unique combination of genes

Growing in family that grows

Surrounded by friends (sometimes more, other times less)

At work

In society

Touching others

Being touched

Love and Trauma

Changing the now (and future generations!)

What are we designing?

Humans become Light through the touching of souls

Yet we limit embraces (Do we fear the Unique?)

Impoverishing the Continuum(s) –

Still, the Singularity calls…


What is the name of the Stream we swim?

Chaos? Where all is chance buffeting of semi-conscious molecules?

Time?  With Einstein’s pavers beneath oblivious feet?

Shadow?  We Dancing Projections of something beyond?

Hate? Tar and stenches of sulphur, inescapable…?

Love? Crystal aromas of joy, refracting soul Light – lifting, empowering…?

The Stream awaits its name –

live wisely…


People often say that Christmas isn’t about the gifts.

I disagree.

Christmas is about gifts.

It is ultimately about a gift of giving Self.

It is a Gift that can keep on giving – every day, every minute, every second…

Everyone can share that Gift…

Start today!



Posted in children, Co-Creation, Design, Evolution, Human Rights, innovation, Life Stages, Parents, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, The Future, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tackling an Obese Nation – Making “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” a Design Competition!

Posted by Plish on April 8, 2010

I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.  At first I wasn’t too keen on the show.  I didn’t like the premise: Guy from a different country comes to the US to make the US healthier as part of a reality TV show. The motive is good but it’s still Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.  Deep down I feel that for this to be uber-successful it needs to be called something like, “The USA’s Nutrition Revolution – Living Life!”  Revolutions belong to the people, never to one person. (Yes, I realize that one person often starts a  revolution and that others join in – yet, I think this might get more traction if  the focus were changed.  I do need to point out that it seems clear to me that Jamie isn’t in this for his own glory.  He genuinely cares about the issue of obesity, especially in children)

Well, I’ve seen a couple of episodes, and I have to say that I’m intrigued and actually enjoy watching.  I’m shocked though by what I’m seeing: Kids that can’t name basic vegetables, bureaucracies that favor cheap pre-fab food over fresh foods, parents that have given up providing their kids with healthy food.  Every episode reveals something new and not always flattering about the nutritional delivery system in this country.

It also struck me that this show/movement  could be viewed as a design project. 

What do I mean? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Best Practices, Case Studies, children, Contests, creativity, Design, design thinking, Education, Food, Health Concerns, innovation, Life Stages, Parents, Politics, problem solving, Social Networking, Society, Stories, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Innovations in Elder Care Demand a Different Paradigm

Posted by Plish on March 5, 2010

I’d like to have a spirited word or two with the person who popularized the concept that as adults get older they become children while their children become the parents.

This concept has warped elder care and hurt the cause of innovation in hospitals, nursing and rehab facilities around the country (and perhaps the world) as it is a classically misapplied case of: If A=B, and C=B, then A=C.

In other words:

Elderly people need help to bathe,  use the bathroom,  dress,  or eat.   Young children need help to bathe, use the bathroom,  dress, or eat.   Therefore Elderly = Children, and they should be treated as such.


A recent shocking study pointed out that speaking to elderly people like children actually took years off their lives!

This problem exists not only in the speech of caregivers but in the systems that are supposed to bring elderly back into society.  Take, for example, elderly going through rehab therapy.   The elderly individual, who perhaps only weeks earlier had made a meal for the family or gone hunting in the woods, is required to manipulate and stack plastic colored building blocks or pieces of felt into  certain patterns.   When that task is completed they’re congratulated with glee as if it was the first time this person ever accomplished that task.  “That was great sweetie!! Now try this one!”

Or take the elderly woman who painted  and scanned a modern Christmas card design on a computer only 6 months prior, and was  given a ‘paint-by-number’ task at a rehab facility.  For an elderly person who had never painted before this might be a significant accomplishment, but for this artist, it was a reminder of the frailty of the human person.

While physical attributes were perhaps improved through therapy, in neither case was the elderly person  elevated and treated with respect.   The system, although it had the best of intentions, did not treat the entire person and in fact may actually have contributed to future morbidity.

To innovatively change and design healthcare systems for the elderly there needs to be a change of perspective and greater empathy – empathy on the parts of nurses, doctors, therapists, and family members. 

Being elderly and being cared for is not the same as being a child being cared for.  It is an entirely different experience that demands better techniques and communication modalities that account for the fact that the elderly person is a living history, a person who simply can not do all the things they could do.  That is essentially different from working with children who never knew they could do something.

It is a simple, powerful, painful difference.

In one case there is the memory of a task, in the other there is rejoicing in new found potential.  The latter is decidingly easier to empathize with and perhaps that is why too many people opt for this perspective and treat the elderly like children. 

The former is painful and more difficult to empathize with, perhaps because it is what awaits us all in some way.

But, if we make the brave jump to truly empathize with the elderly, we rest assured that the innovations we bring to the table will not only improve the lives of those who are currently treated like children, but will one day make our lives better and allow us to experience, and live with, respect and dignity.

Posted in Authenticity, Case Studies, children, cognitive studies, creativity, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, Health Concerns, Human Rights, innovation, Life Stages, love, Parents, Research, Society, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Solve Your Own Problems, and You Solve Mine – The Birth of the Safety Tat

Posted by Plish on December 18, 2009

Losing a child in a large public area is every parent’s nightmare.

Michele Welsh took am interesting approach when she took her children to an amusement park – she wrote her cell phone number on her kids’ arms.

This solved the problem in the short-term but the fact that passerby’s at the park loved what Welsh did, spawned an idea for the future: the Safety Tat.

Once again, an inventor mom parlayed a common fear among parents into a viable, simple and ingenious product.

Instead of writing a contact number directly on the skin, parents  buy pre-made or blank labels that can be placed on a child and removed when needed (though it might be a good idea to put the tatoo where the kids can’t pick at them).

What’s the main lesson here?

We so often get commissioned to solve other people’s problems (or we simply choose to solve other people’s problems) we forget that innovations often come from solving our own problems. 

While each of us are unique,  the day to day problems we encounter while just living or working are not.

Our problems are very often other people’s problems. 

 Solve our problems and voila!

You’ve come up with a solution for a lot of people.

It’s a simple recipe that often pays rich dividends!

Posted in Case Studies, children, creativity, Customer Focus, innovation, invention, Parents, problem solving, Research | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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