For more on this session at Health 2. 0 on Monday October 5, see the agenda here.
I’m reading the morning news on my iPad at 32,000 feet en route from New Jersey to Silicon Valley for the annual fall Health 2.0 meeting. I love coming to this place with its promise and hope pushing us toward better futures.
Of course, much of that hope is hitched to faster, smaller, cheaper driven by trusty Moore’s Law. Just when it seemed our Moore’s Law golden goose would soon be waddling a little more slowly, the New York Times reports today that IBM scientists may have found a way to keep the eggs coming. Apparently, they’ve discovered a chip manufacturing approach that may get around the looming laws of physics by using transistors with parallel rows of carbon nanotubes separated by a distance of just a few atoms. Whew.
In another Times article, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, takes us from that atomic level way up here to the macro where most of us live, work, learn and play. Business, Cook says—presumably especially the dynamic technology sector—has civic responsibilities beyond pushing profit.He and Apple, for instance, have made recent stands about equity, and he noted Apple would “continue to evangelize” about it.
I sure hope he’s right and that they do. I also hope that other businesses, entrepreneurs and technologists agree, step up too and, frankly, do more than evangelize.
You see, I’m from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We work with people all over the country who—just like Silicon Valley types—are fervently building a better future. The future we seek though is one where everyone, regardless of who you are, where you live or work or the color of your skin, or whether you’re coping with illness or pursuing wellness, has the realistic hope and a wealth of opportunity to live a healthy life.
We envision a Culture of Health where everyone has a decent crack at that healthy future. We need all the help we can get.
We also have a theory. We believe that leaders, from all quarters including business and technology, can and will turn their energy, creativity and resources to help create that healthy future. We believe that they will start where they can and that their efforts will increase as they see how great it is to help build healthy futures for everyone. Heck, their efforts might even double, say, every two years too!
Let’s call it Tyson’s Law.
Over lunch on Monday at Health 2.0, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is going to test it. We will challenge participants to direct their passion and innovation skills toward big, hairy, audacious health equity problems.
Five young filmmakers, Ricardo, Jasmine, Lily, Julia and Tyson, from the east and west coasts have created powerful videos that we will use to spark that conversation. The films depict the health inequities these young leaders experience on a daily, grinding basis—like lack of safe neighborhoods, limited access to nutritious foods and poor air quality. One of them, Tyson, for instance, lives in Baltimore. He loves to run free in his neighborhood. He also dares to imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning and not know that something bad would happen there.
We all want Tyson to imagine grander things than that, and as you can tell from this creative man’s film, indeed he does. He also reminds us that our promising, beautiful, high technology healthy futures will not be worth the effort if we leave people like Tyson, Ricardo, Jasmine, Lily and Julia behind. That’s because in our Culture of Health future, there is no they. We are all in this one together.
Follow our Twitter stream, #CultureofHealth and #TysonsLaw this week. I have a suspicion we’re going to power it up with some pretty cool ideas coming from technology, entrepreneurs and business leaders—ideas that could kick health inequity’s bottom up and down Silicon Valley.
Tyson’s Law starts here and now.
Michael Painter is a senior program officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.