ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Posts Tagged ‘healthcare innovation’

Uncovering and Creating Innovation in a Sequence of Events (Even the Most Familiar)

Posted by Plish on March 4, 2016

Sequences of events are often taken for granted.

It’s winter.  It’s 2 degrees Fahrenheit and there are 20 mile per hour winds outside.  The fridge is empty.  You need to make a food run.

So, you go to the car, insert the key in the door, unlock the door, sit in the car, put the key in the ignition and turn it.  You then sit in a freezing cold car and watch your breath frost the windows as the defrost won’t work until the car gets warmed up…

The above sequence of events can be most unpleasant to experience, and it was a pretty typical winter experience for many people until…

Someone invented the Remote Control Key Fob.  Simply press a button and the car is unlocked from inside the house! Now that it’s open, you can run outside into the cold and open the door quickly.  No need to fumble for the keys with frozen fingers.  Just open the door and sit down and start the car.

But….

You still need to wait for it to warm up.

The solution?

While the Remote Control Fob is a great invention for unlocking car doors, it’s an even better invention for starting the car before going outside!

In this case, the value of the innovation comes not so much from snazzy remote control technologies, but from changing the sequence in which various events occur: turning the car on before opening the door (A similar value comes from opening a garage door remotely without having to get out of the car.)

Juggling the sequence of events, or looking at technologies that enable us to change the sequence of events, are often very powerful (and sometimes surprisingly simple!) ways of innovating creative solutions.

One place where creative solutions are always needed are with regards to public health.

The proper washing of hands is one of the easiest ways to minimize the transmission of diseases of many types. Yet, a survey of 100000 people showed that 60+ percent of men and 40 percent of women don’t even bother to wash their hands when leaving the rest room (and these were people that admitted it!)  To make you feel even more uncomfortable, most people who do wash their hands don’t do it as thoroughly as they should.

In bathrooms, washing hands and drying hands are actually part of the same process.  Do a lousy job of washing or drying, and the chances of germ transmission go up.  Not to mention, most bathrooms have doors and other surfaces that people touch on their way into and out of the bathroom, so even if they’ve washed and perhaps dried, they may still touch these surfaces and pick things up or leave things behind.

The solution then is to go into a bathroom, wash, dry and leave without touching anything on your way out.

🙂

Being the type of person I am, while recently in a bathroom I realized it was configured almost perfectly to enable the primo handwashing solution. A new technology wasn’t really needed.  However, a little creative event shuffling yielded a simple and very effective solution.

#cleanhands or #dirtyhands : #innovation by changing the #sequence of events. One of my favorite ways of innovating is to look at a sequence of events and rearrange them in time. This bathroom is a perfect example. By changing the sequence (ejecting the paper but NOT tearing it before using the urinal or toilet) I can use the urinal, wash my hands, tear the paper, dry them, open the door using the soiled paper towel and throw it away. Granted, this isn't perfect. The ideal would be to leave the water running and turn it off using the paper towel, use the door handle, and then throw it away when walking out the door. #handwashing #sanitation #germs #bathroom #washroom #design #processdesign #processflow #systemdesign

A post shared by Michael Plishka (@zenstorming) on

In the upper picture I’ve shown the order a person typically follows when entering a restroom (the lightswitch is not always a part of the equation 😉 .)

The lower picture shows how simply changing the sequence enables someone to come in, wash, dry and leave without touching anything dirty on the way out.  No need for any new technology.

But, there is a dark side…

Just as technology can enable us to change the sequence for the better, the introduction of a technology into the bathroom can negatively impact the sequence and perhaps create ramifications outside the door.  What happens when we replace the paper towel with an electrical hand dryer?

All types of questions then arise:

Will someone’s hands really be clean when he/she leaves?  Is saving trees a greater good than public health impacts from dirty hands?  Should doors open electronically?  Can a plate be placed at the base of the door to enable someone to open it with a foot? Should a hired person be there to open and close the doors? Should there be a soap that forms an active protective film that is only activated after drying in a hand dryer?

As you can see, (and as all time travelers will tell you) tampering with time has its consequences.  In the above example, the introduction of one technology has spawned the need for other technologies or additional (or less) steps.  Each of these are an opportunity for a product or service.

So, next time you’re having a difficult time solving a problem, or if you’re looking for a new space to play, look at the sequence of events that are part of the situation and ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Can we change the sequence of events to thus create a better outcome?  If we can’t, or sometimes even if we can….
  2. Can we leverage or develop a technology that enables us to reshuffle the sequence of events so that a better result is achieved?

These two questions can lead to tremendous innovations, but first we need to stop taking the sequence of events for granted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Healthcare, idea generation, innovation, Innovation Tools, problem solving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

3D Printing in the Future of Healthcare

Posted by Plish on December 2, 2014

RSNA 3D Printing Presentations

Some  RSNA attendees listen to presentations by Radiologists, Researchers and other Physicians who are using 3d Printing in their practices and research

 

Today was my 3D Printing day at RSNA.  Spent the morning listening to some amazing work being done (Chaired by  Dr. Frank Rybicki), and the afternoon taking in the rest of the show.

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First were presentations covering how flows of blood and other substances through blood vessels, could be confirmed using models.

Dr. Tam shared how 3d printing could be used to plan for, and create parts for, medical procedures.  He uses printed models in approximately 5% of his cases right now.  He also did an enlightening study that showed that when presented with 3d models, the majority of physicians in the study changed their surgical approach.  A model is indeed worth a 1000 pictures (or more!)

Dr’s Green and Mahani shared how 3d printing was used to save the life of a child whose bronchus would collapse and block airflow.  The video about this is below:

There is some amazing work at the Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. They are pushing the envelope printing living tissue. You can check out a Reuters Tech Video here.

Future directions for 3d printing in healthcare were summarized nicely by this slide:

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Number one is very provocative, and I agree with it.  While Radiologists treated the creation of 3d models as a natural extension of reading 2d images, the work required to create 3d models can be done in conjunction with intermediary scientists and engineers, so that each discipline can play to its strengths.  In the future I can see a role for “Post Processing Technicians.” These folks would be integral members of the Radiologic team whose purpose is to crunch imaging data into 3d and beyond.

I would include material science advances as an influencer in the future of 3d printing adoption.

Also, while indirectly included in the above list, cost reimbursement and FDA regulations are major players as the field matures and the technology gets adopted.

After the presentations, I visited with 3dSystems, Stratasys and Materialise ,  These companies have made, and are making, significant investments in medical uses of their technologies.   This can only accelerate the adoption of 3d printing.

WP_20141202_10_49_01_Pro (Copy) WP_20141202_10_48_41_Pro (Copy)

I left today excited and inspired by the work of these doctors and scientists.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

 

Posted in 3D Printing, Biology, Disruptive Innovation, Healthcare, innovation, Medical Devices, Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Inspiration from “The Rebbe” into Redesigning Healthcare, Starting with the Word We Use

Posted by Plish on June 14, 2014

While driving to a 24 hour Walgreens in the wee hours of the night, I was listening to the radio and heard an interview with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History.

Rebbi Telushkin pointed out that the Rebbe believed in the power of words and he made it a point to use optimistic, positive words.   So strong was the Rebbe’s belief that it influenced the author, Rabbi Joseph, to use the words “due date” as opposed to “deadline” when talking about projects.  “Due dates” are synonymous with births, “deadlines” with, well, death.

The Rebbe carefully chose his words and therefore used the phrase beit refuah, when he spoke of a hospital.  Translated it means ‘house of healing.’  Most people used the term beit cholim, which means ‘house of the sick’.

Think about that.

When you hear the word “hospital” what do you think of?

If you’re like most people, you’ll probably say, “That’s where the sick people are.” Maybe you’ll mention something about people getting better but, odds are, the first thing that’ll  probably come to mind is sickness, not healing.

That’s interesting because the word “hospital” comes from the Latin word hospes. The word meant a foreigner/stranger or guest.  It’s actually the root word for “hospitality”, “hostel”, “hotel”, and “hospice”.

Do you consider hospitals synonymous with hospitality?  While the Ritz-Carlton has given customer services lessons to healthcare facilities, and many hospitals are upgrading their food quality and redesigning their interiors, the cultural change hasn’t occurred yet.  People still don’t identify hospitality with hospitals.  For that matter, unfortunately, I don’t believe that healing is identified with hospitals. I’ve even heard of hospitals being described as those places where people get sick!

Some places are making the change and trying to change peoples’ impression of what healthcare facilities represent.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America has taken the step of using green colors and logo that has a tree and a person playing and a dog.  They clearly want to convey their commitment to life and living.  Their facilities are even designed in V-shapes, almost like open arms.  They really don’t look ‘hospitally’. Check them out some pictures here.

The lesson here is that language is important.   From healthcare terms, to renaming strategic plans, to renaming project ‘post-mortems’, I believe it’s important that we use terms that take us in positive directions and make us think of what it really is that we want to accomplish.  Too often we just use common phrases, seldom taking the time to understand the impact of those terms in shaping our worldviews and how we approach problems.

Whether it’s healthcare or a relationship you’re trying to improve,

think about the words you use,

think about the metaphors that describe your challenges,

think about the ramifications of words,

and choose words that build up, that inspire, that give life, that cause you to look at people and situations in new and exciting ways.

The Rebbe would be happy…

 

 

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, Healthcare, innovation, Religion, Service Design, Social Innovation, The Human Person, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Insights Into the Future of Healthcare From RSNA 2013

Posted by Plish on December 10, 2013

Last week I spent some time at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting, networking, speaking with medical Thought Leaders, scouting new technologies. In particular I enjoyed the posters – it’s an opportunity to see what’s cutting edge in the world of radiology and interventional radiology.  (You can check out abstracts for papers, posters, etc. here.  I will be blogging in the future on their Radiology Cares pledge drive)

Radiology is an unsung hero in the world of healthcare.  Not only are these the people that make diagnoses based upon X-Ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT and other visualization technologies, they also help heal people – doing certain types of ‘surgeries’ – through minimally invasive techniques that use access holes often much smaller than pencil.

Because these procedures are being done in a minimally invasive manner while viewing the inside of a person’s body on a LED/LCD screen, radiologists of all types find themselves on the cusp of some of the newest imaging and interaction technologies.  It’s no surprise then to see iPads, tablets, display screens and controllers of various types being mentioned in presentations, posters, and being exhibited.

If someone were to ask me what technologies I think will impact future healthcare, based upon what I saw at the conference, I’d mention two: Mobile and Interaction Technologies.

Mobile Tech

Mobile technologies go beyond iPads.  They represent a whole new network of interconnectedness – they enable collaboration and eliminate barriers of time and space.  What is key in this realm is fidelity: the x-ray/ultrasound/MRI/etc. needs to look the same on a handheld screen in Africa as it does on a 26″ or larger screen in Chicago.  While the newer iPads are being used for their high-resolution screens, the general rule is that the smaller the screen/image, the greater the chance of misinterpretation.  For the future, any company that creates a lighter, larger, higher resolution screen (folding perhaps?) will be the mobile device of choice.

Interaction Tech

While Apple may have paved the way for the acceptance of touch sensitive screens (though it is still being used as an interactive e-book platform for educational purposes), the world of medicine is moving beyond the limitations of touch on a 2D surface and diving into the 3D world.  In procedural suites a small screen is not only limiting, but a doctor or nurse that needs to maintain sterility can not easily interact with 2D touch surfaces.  Even when dealing with 3D data sets (CT/MRI/etc. scans), manipulating the data and being able to look in-depth at areas of interest is much easier and intuitive when using game controllers like Microsoft Kinect, Leap Motion and the like. I recorded a video of one such control system: the teistler imager DIAG system.  I played with it and found it extremely simple to use – even in its ‘rough’, prototypical state.

Are these the only technologies that will be impacting the future?  Hardly.  Technologies enabling us to look more accurately into the body without breaking the skin are growing in leaps and bounds.  (In fact, one problem is that certain imaging modalities like MRI can now detect miniscule, suspicious looking lesions. So, what’s the problem?   The lesion is so small, it can’t be found by any other imaging method, so it also can’t really be tested in order to make a definitive diagnosis.)  In addition, newer techniques are extracting more information from diagnostic images so that, in some cases, a diagnosis can be made without even having to take a biopsy. (There are even newer technologies being developed that enable diagnoses with only a small sample of blood.)

With technologies getting better, the world is getting smaller and the world of ‘ the small and unseen’ is becoming more accessible every day.  These are exciting times in the world of healthcare, and coupled with a patient centered approach, Radiology, both on its own and as support for other medical disciplines, will only help people live longer and healthier lives.

 

 

Posted in Conveying Information, Design, Healthcare, innovation, Medical Devices, The Future, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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.

hospitals-the-only-place-where-the-word-positive-means-a-bad-thing

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 »

Innovating Healthcare Using Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design

Posted by Plish on October 26, 2012

The above scene is from the home of a person who has some pretty serious lung problems.  This equipment is sitting next to the front door.  This is what the inhabitants of the house see every day.

It’s what guests see when they come in – when they sit down to play cards on a Friday Evening.

It’s the last thing people see as they leave the house.

It also epitomizes what’s wrong with healthcare, what’s wrong with a system that is about fixing things gone bad; about drugs, compliance, tests, equipment, data, insurance, doctors and hospitals.

Oh sure it works, but there is general agreement that it could be better – way better.

So it got me to thinking: What would a better designed healthcare system look like?

Instead of trying to visualize every detail of what revamped healthcare might look like,  let’s look at Dieter Rams‘ ’10 principles of good design’ (applied to healthcare) to inform our creative processes.

GOOD HEALTHCARE DESIGN…

  • Is innovative – What is really innovative in the above picture? The technology is decades old.  However, it’s not only innovative technology that’s needed, but innovative approaches to problems.
  • Is useful – By and large, people go to doctors and interact with healthcare systems because they need to – not because they want to.   Using innovative approaches (See above), there needs to be an element of usefulness that pulls people in to being healthier.
  • Is aesthetic – The rooster in the above picture has more going for it than the rest of the products.  Things that are aesthetically pleasing pull people in, making people touch, explore, even showcase! A doctor once remarked how he loved using a certain product because the packaging was cool.
  • Conveys understandability – What’s understandable in the above picture?  In a perfectly designed world, instruction booklets wouldn’t be needed.  Intuitiveness would reign.  The How’s and Why’s are conveyed via the design itself.
  • Is unobtrusive – In healthcare this is huge.  When it comes down to it, people don’t want reminders of health problems, or hospital payments, present at all in their lives, let alone being obvious.  Being healthy and interacting with healthcare should have a certain transparency and utility – it’s flexible enough to do what needs to be done with minimal fuss and muss.
  • Is honest – Many objects and systems in healthcare, even those in the above picture, are brutally honest.  But honest healthcare needs to be seen in light of the other principles of good design.  It needs to be true to itself in that people need to know that certain interactions result in certain results.
  • Is long-lasting – Health care is about long-lasting results. It shouldn’t be about ‘trendy’.  It should be about results that last.
  • Is thorough down to the last detail – It’s obvious that in the healthcare realm,  detail is paramount.  There shouldn’t be arbitrariness.
  • Is environmentally friendly – There’s a lot of room for improvement in healthcare, especially in the US.  Paperwork, drug and waste disposal, visual pollution (See picture above,) sustainable and yet disposable products, all these are challenges that only now, are beginning to be addressed.
  • Is as little design as possible – It comes down to providing what’s essential to do the job, nothing more, nothing less.  This is related to being unobtrusive and detailed.  On a systems level this is particularly difficult to address because of organizational tendencies to make sure arses are covered.  The good news is that if all the above principles are used, the need to cover arses should all but disappear.

Is it possible to design healthcare according to the above principles?    With current healthcare systems being stressed to the point of breaking, a redesign of the various facets of healthcare systems is not only possible but sorely needed.    While people are trying to live their lives as abundantly and authentically as possible, their interactions with clinicians and health care systems are a fertile ground for innovation.  Rams’ 10 principles for good design are as good a place to start as any.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, Healthcare, imagination, innovation, Medical Devices, problem solving, Service Design, Social Innovation, The Future, The Human Person, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

When US Healthcare Delivery Meets The Cheesecake Factory: The Stuff Innovation is Made of

Posted by Plish on August 24, 2012

 

What do the U.S. healthcare delivery system and The Cheesecake Factory have in common?

According to Dr. Atul Gawande, potentially a great deal.  The Dr. recently penned an article over at The New Yorker called, “Big Med.”  Inspired by his experience at The Cheesecake Factory (TCF), he wondered if perhaps there weren’t some way that the system at The Cheesecake Factory could be used as a pattern for US healthcare delivery.  After all, TCF delivers millions of meals in a cost-effective and profitable manner – why couldn’t the healthcare system treat millions of people in a cost-effective and profitable manner?

The Dr. shares that, indeed, there are already some clinicians implementing TCF-esque solutions.  While the Dr. doesn’t bring it up,    this article over at The Economist, highlights how healthcare delivery is undergoing innovation in India – reflecting in many ways, Dr. Gawande’s TCF inspired vision.

In response, Steve Denning at Forbes, wrote an article entitled: “How Not to Fix US Healthcare: Copy The Cheesecake Factory.”  Mr. Denning thought that Dr. Gawande was way off base using The Cheesecake Factory as a pattern.  He cited Innovation Scholar, Clayton Christensen, and then claimed that Dr. Gawande’s argument is flawed in these ways:

1.Wrong question
2.Wrong knowledge model
3.Wrong management model
4.Wrong conclusions about scaling

In actuality the above discussion is  both/and vs. either/or.  When trying to come up with truly innovative solutions, the goal is to take two or more ideas/metaphors, slam them together, and see what comes out of the mix.

Personally, I think Dr. Gawande’s perspective is highly provocative and has something going for it. His thinking isn’t ‘pie in the sky.’ There is, as the Dr. demonstrates, plenty of room for standardization and better management of spending/costs without sacrificing care.  Precisely because the TCF model is, on first blush, so different from the healthcare world and yet similar with regards to servicing millions in a cost-effective, profitable manner, that we will benefit greatly from creating a synthesis between healthcare delivery and what goes on in The Cheesecake Factory.

We should smash the TCF metaphor up against current healthcare practices and see what comes out of it.  That’s where great innovation will come from!    After all, the Cheesecake Factory IS successful and is doing something right. Many healthcare institutions in India ARE doing something right. The doctors in Dr. Gawande’s article ARE doing something right, saving money and improving outcomes.   There’s got to be something we can learn, be inspired by, and perhaps  implement and test, when metaphors dance into a tertium quid.

It doesn’t further discussions, and in fact limits solutions, to caricature Dr. Gawande’s insights.  Instead of claiming, as Mr. Denning did, that everything is “wrong” with Dr. Gawande’s vision, the discussion would be furthered by full-hearted listening, combining of metaphor, and dreaming of what can be.

I think the discussion would be even better if done over a meal at The Cheesecake Factory.

Posted in Best Practices, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Healthcare, innovation, problem solving, Service Design, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

How To Build an SMS/Text Support Group to _________(Lose Weight, Stop Smoking, Be Green…)

Posted by Plish on March 25, 2012

Texting is everywhere.  Which got me to thinking: Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app  that would leverage SMS to help people support each other in their quests to improve?

Need to lose weight?  Get this app.  Need to stop smoking?  Try this app.  Want to do a better job of conserving energy or recycling?  This is the app for you and your friends.

But then I thought, “Why bother with an app?”  Everything needed to make a virtual support group already exists on our mobile phones.  All that is needed are friends, common goals, passion, and a little know-how.

I assume you have the first three. Here’s the how:

Build the Group

1. – What type of people should be in your virtual group?

  • They share concern for the issue you’re working on.  In fact, it should be a passionate concern!
  • They’re within 100 miles (This isn’t necessary, but it’s always a plus if you can sometimes meet in person!)
  • You trust these people implicitly, and they trust you!

2.- Group size should be between 2 to 10 people. You can have more but the goal is to support each other. More than 10 and things could get quite unwieldy. Small groups are better for this.

3. – Once you and your friends are committed to this journey, make sure you have each other’s phone numbers.

4. – Create a Group out of your friends’ numbers. This is so you can text everyone at once. Oh sure, you can text the individual people one at a time, but the true power of finding and giving support, lies in the ability to contact everyone at once and the easier this is to do, the better. If you need help doing this you can check out the following references based upon the phone type:

5. – It may be worthwhile to write, and store, various ‘pre-written’ messages (for example: “I’m feeling weak and really want to eat this!”, “I did it!! I resisted!” or “Just finished exercising – feel gr8!”) But be careful. Correspondence should be authentic and heartfelt. Don’t overuse pre-canned messages!

 Working Together…

6, – Now that your group is built, contact each other, via text, at key moments.  Here are some examples of times when sharing would be apropos:

  • Challenges.  When someone in the group feels the urge to eat more than he/she should, or the wrong type of food, or doesn’t feel like exercising, grab one of the pre-written texts, or write one on the spot, and send it to the group.
  • Successes.  If you’ve just resisted that cigarette, or resisted the “Ice Cream Brownie Fudge Surprise!” share it.
  • Did you sneak something from the fridge in the middle of the night? Share it. You need to be open with each other. Remember, you’re in this together to improve not to judge. (No judging!!) 
  • Come across an article, quote or event that might help you all reach your goals? Send it out!

7. – The group’s reason for existence is to support each other. You are committed to each other. When a text comes from someone in the group, respond. Help each other out. Cheer each other on! It’s the feedback and interaction that will help people meet their goals and grow.

8. – If distance permits, get together in person to touch base, see each other, and smile (or cry). You’re in this together, and you’ll succeed together.

That’s all there is to it! 

And remember, this is more than just about weight loss.  It’s about helping each other grow and be more!

Please let me know how this goes, or if you meet any specific challenges.  I’m especially looking forward to hearing how else this could be applied..

Good luck!!

Disclaimer: Any healthcare information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers with any questions that you may have regarding a specific medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you have read on this site.

Posted in Design, Food, Health Concerns, Healthcare, Social Innovation, Social Networking, The Human Person, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Alone and Need Ideas? Try This Tool

Posted by Plish on September 10, 2010

There is something to be said for the dynamic that occurs when people can engage and bounce ideas off of each other.

Sometimes though, we need to come up with ideas on our own.  One great tool for this is the Reverse Dictionary.

The human mind is great at making connections between disparate concepts, at building off of metaphor.  A Reverse Dictionary provides idea fuel for the brain. 

The best way to learn about this is to try it yourself.   To get the ball rolling though, I’m going to walk through an example. 

Say I’m looking for a way to decrease problems in nursing homes.  I entered in three words on the main page: ‘loneliness, mistakes, illness’.  Three terms that define what many people in nursing homes go through. 

The results are here.  When I look at these 100 terms I see some  that are curious, others that I have no idea what they are, some that seem totally unrelated.  Those are the terms that I follow up with and investigate further.  I’ll list some of those here:

1. Iatrogenesis – A fancy way of saying adverse effects to treatments. Things like drug interactions, errors, negligence all fall under this term.  I thought it was fascinating that this is the first term in the list dealing with problems in nursing homes.

47. Toc H – I had no idea what this was so I looked it up here.  It’s an international charity movement started during World War I.  The fundamental beliefs of this organization are:  Fellowship (To Love Widely); Service (To Build Bravely); Fairmindedness (To Think Fairly); and the Kingdom of God (To Witness Humbly).  There’s something there to build upon.

69. Zero Defects – Speaks for itself.

33,53, 76, 94, 85. Redgrave, Radclyffe Hall, Finlandia Prize, Tom Courtney, Glen Ponder – All deal with the Arts.  Getting solutions to nursing home problems from the Arts?  I like it…

95. abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz – A string of letters, it doesn’t mean anything.  It’s confusing but it contains all the letters of the alphabet; it would mean something if it was reorganized and cleaned up.  It makes me think about gleaning useful information from elderly communication, of proper interpretation of symptoms, language and circumstances.

99. Indian Sex Stone –  “The American field archeologist’s term for a natural rock that is mistaken for an artifact, usually a preform or bola stone, in the field. Most such mistakes are made by inexperienced field crew members, who learn quickly not to make such errors.”  Wow… a lot to ponder here and it ties in with #5. 

100. Sam the Robot – “The only robot on Sesame Street. He always tries to do things right, and even insists that he is perfect, but he always does things wrong. Typical mistakes of his would be drawing a circle instead of a square or pouring coffee on the ground.”  Another Wow!  Are there Sam the Robots among the caretakers?  How do we deal with this type of psychological type?

Now that I have these concepts, I can delve into them further, learn more about them and let this information percolate in my conscious and  subconscious.  I can use these as metaphors for coming up with even more ideas for ways of addressing problems in nursing homes.

Now, give it a try yourself and let me know how it works!

Posted in Brain Stimulation Tools, Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, Design, idea generation, imagination, Innovation Tools, problem solving, Traditional Brainstorming | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Designing a Healthier You – Should You Take a Vacation or a Healthy ‘Staycation’? Take Some Vaykay!

Posted by Plish on August 12, 2010

So, you’re having a tough time getting your exercise time in and eating right?  But,  what can you expect?

You get home from work and you’re just plain tired.  You don’t want to cook, so you grab a quick snack that you picked up at the store and you nuke it,  or you run out for a bite, which you really don’t feel like doing because you’re tired. 

And working out? Forget it.  Either there are family  commitments or commitments to friends, or worse, that proposal needs to be done by tomorrow and you need to get going on it before it gets too late.

Morning comes and the routine starts over again….

and again…

…until vacation.

Ahhh, the word sounds so sweet.  When it arrives it’s even sweeter.  Time to get out of Dodge, get away from all the hassles – far away if possible.  If we can’t get out-of-town, at least we change the routine – get some extra sleep, go out and have some fun, which usually includes food and drink – sometimes more than is prudent, or healthy.

But does that mean that we should ditch the vacation if we want to be healthier?

The fitness columnists over at The Washington Post  and dietician Felicia Stoler, host of TLC’s reality show “Honey We’re Killing the Kids,” recommend taking a health based Staycation.  What is this comprised of?

Instead of sightseeing, you’ll explore how to build more physical activity into your daily life and figure out smarter ways to shop for groceries and plan meals. It’s unlikely you’ll lose 10 pounds in a week like they do on TV. But by getting a jump-start on an exercise routine in your own neighborhood and cooking in your own kitchen, you’re setting yourself up to continue these behaviors even when real life kicks in again.

In other words, utilize the time of your vacation to design a healthier you.

On the one hand this sounds like a good idea. After all, why wouldn’t such a vacation be good for you?  On the other, it sounds like a recipe for setting yourself up for disaster – where you’re proud of yourself for spending a week eating healthy, hitting the gym, and cooking your own meals, but crushed after you get back into your daily routine (See red text above) and you can’t get to the gym, can’t cook your own meals, and can’t seem to get enough time for yourself for sleep or recreation.

The article itself points out this could be a problem:

The key is remembering that you need to make these changes part of your regular routine, says physician Arthur Frank, founder and co-director of the George Washington University Weight Management Program. “A week of working out is essentially useless unless you can continue it,” he says.

And without a real itinerary, you could fall into the trap of snacking to alleviate boredom. “Most people do well much of the day until it becomes unstructured,” Frank says.

This is a design problem.  This particular design problem requires empathy and understanding of what Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Design, design thinking, Food, Health Concerns, Healthcare, innovation, problem solving, The Human Person, Wellness, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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