Invent Health

As winter sets in here in DC, I’m warming up with memories of September’s Stanford Medicine X conference. I loved putting together a keynote that highlighted how the maker movement intersects with the e-patient movement — and how private sector and government leaders can benefit. This intersection, and the lessons we are learning from it, are the latest examples of how the internet gives us access not only to information but also to each other. That deceptively simple insight is, I believe, the key to unlocking the potential for innovation in health care.

Here’s an excerpt:

Stanford University posted the full video on their Facebook page and you can learn more about the Invent Health initiative I launched at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by reading the following posts:

Health care needs a jolt of innovation. Here’s how we’re approaching it at HHS.

Invent Health: The National Week of Making

The Invent Health Initiative: Hardware Innovations for the Low-Resource Environment

Invent Health: Finding Common Ground

The Invent Health Initiative: Hardware Innovations Hard at Work

Invention and Innovation in Emergency Preparedness

Empowering Inventors to Create Tools for Better Living, Better Clinical Care

Kid Inventors Focus on Health

Documents of controversial times

I’m speaking today at Stanford Medicine X about what I’ve learned exploring the intersection between the Maker movement and health care (tune in at 4:25pm Pacific).

I posted a short version of my remarks on Medium, but I thought I’d post an image I was very happy to find to illustrate one theme: revolutions happen when people are connected not only to information, but also to each other. And that happens when people gain access to the means of production and distribution, as we saw in 1776, when Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, helped spark the American revolt against British rule.

Common Sense, a pamphlet by Thomas Paine (1776)

Common Sense, a pamphlet by Thomas Paine (1776)

Pamphlets can be printed cheaply, quickly, and in huge numbers. They can be transported in bulk and distributed to a wide audience. My favorite description of pamphlets is that they are “documents of controversial times.”

Here’s my question: What is the equivalent today? What are the means of production and distribution that are connecting people with information and with each other? Twitter, blogs — what else?