If you crave inspiration, tune in to the Robert Wood Johnson’s Pioneering Ideas podcast by subscribing to the iTunes feed or listening on Soundcloud:
Here’s the summary of the current episode, prepared by the Foundation (with my notes):
The MIT Media Lab’s Wellness Initiative (3:56): RWJF chief technology and information officer, Steve Downs (@stephenjdowns), speaks with director and founder of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, Rosalind Picard (@rosalindpicard). Steve and Rosalind discuss how, through a grant from RWJF, the Media Lab is working to build a Culture of Health within its own walls and exploring the ways in which cutting-edge technologies in all aspects of our lives can be designed to promote better health.
I love how Picard talks about how “technology has been created to be cool, or to just do what’s possible, to make it smaller, faster, stickier…Health and well-being has not been a consideration in most of the design sessions.” (And that’s changing, especially in seeing the connections between mind and body, sleep and cognition, etc.)
Social Connections for Better Health (21:22): RWJF grantees Nicholas Christakis(@nachristakis), the author of Connected: The Surprising Power of Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, and Eric Klinenberg (@ericklinenberg), the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, meet for the first time and have a wide-ranging conversation about the role of social relationships in understanding our well-being…and how we can use this information to design a healthier world.
I was moved by Klinenberg’s description of the “social autopsy” he conducted on Chicago after a 1995 heat wave killed many more residents than anyone could have predicted. He says that people died because they were living alone, aging alone, and not going outside because they didn’t feel safe. Disconnectedness kills.
A Conversation with RWJF’s Entrepreneur-In-Residence Susannah Fox (46:12): RWJF director Lori Melichar (@lorimelichar) sits down with RWJF entrepreneur-in-residence Susannah Fox (@susannahfox) to discuss how big organizations like the Foundation should explore innovation and do more listening on the path to building a Culture of Health.
I tell the origin story of the term “e-patient” and the Foundation’s role in nurturing a small idea that sparked a worldwide movement. I also share one story about the power of community and why I think sharing is the future of health care. In that case, connectedness saved a life.
Personal Essay from Linda Stone: How Can Technology Connect Us to Who We Really Are? (54:45): Visionary writer and speaker Linda Stone (@lindastone), formerly of Apple and Microsoft, shares her approach to personal well-being, one where we “harness technology to help us listen to our bodies and not just our minds,” and using technology to measure what really matters.
I want to listen to this essay daily until I reflexively breathe more deeply as I work and practice what Stone describes as “embodiment — mind and body as friends.”
The through-line of this podcast is connectedness. We need to stay connected to our bodies, our neighbors, our fellow patients and caregivers. And we need to build technologies to serve these connections, not sever them.