As usual (damn him!), @cdnorman has posted a thought-provoking blog which leaves me more confused about my confusion.
Yes, you’re thinking, what is he talking about?
The blog post, “Disruption by Design,” captures some of my feelings of bewilderment over how to keep up with the lightning-fast changes we are living through:
“Observing the city I live in, the media I consume, and the way I learn, I can’t help but be amazed at how much of my life has been disrupted over the past few years. I can access nearly everything I need to run my business and do my research from my handheld or a tablet computer. I can hand that tablet or handheld to someone else and allow them to interact with the content on it by using gestural movements, not a keyboard.”
Science fiction almost always presents our future as a fait accompli – the spaceships are already landing and taking off, the nano-computers are embedded everywhere, the robotic servants are a fact of life. In reality, the future crept up on us in dribs and drabs, and we accepted each little piece as a matter of course.
But imagine (God forbid!) that you were in a terrible car accident 15 years ago, and have been in a deep coma ever since. You’ve just woken up, and things look a little different from the moments before you ran that red light. None of these things existed just before your car crash: Google, networked smartphones, wi-fi, Facebook (let alone 800 million users), or tablet computers.
You see, it’s not dribs and drabs anymore, it’s a torrent, and it affects everything and everybody. Of course, Cameron brings this torrent of change to bear on public health:
“Health promotion and public health are fields ripe for this kind of innovation, so is healthcare. Indeed, movements like those embodied in Patients Like Me, a social network portal aimed at supporting human empowerment in health care.
“We are on the cusp of this taking place in health promotion and human services – whether they are governmental, non-profit or social enterprise-based. Health promotion is largely about enabling individuals, groups and communities to better adapt to change, support themselves and gain greater control over the social determinants of health.”
I heard Patients Like Me CEO Jamie Heywood speak on a panel at SXSW Interactive, and he was the embodiment of disruptive change. Tell me in the comments how you’ve managed to balance on the crest of this torrent of change, and incorporate new technologies and new social cultures into your public health work.