When A Product Champion Believes

by Rick Austin March 13, 2012 11:17 AM

After reading about it in Bon Appetit, the New York Times, and Texas Monthly, I had to take a side trip from SXSW to experience Franklin Barbecue in Austin.


We all know a sales and marketing type who has the gift of gab, a chatterbox, he’ll talk your ear off. Aaron Franklin is not that guy. He loves to talk about his barbecue, but he doesn’t chat about it. He engages you. You ask him a question about fatty end versus lean end, or cooking times, or the recipe for his espresso-based barbecue sauce, and he doesn’t stop until the question is answered to YOUR satisfaction. All while continuing to slice and serve.


Now granted, barbecued brisket is not public health research, but we could all learn, not a thing or two, but a whole lot from Aaron Franklin’s passion for what he does.


No, empirical research doesn’t allow much room, if any, for passion, but research synthesis, community engagement, knowledge translation, does. Are you a product champion for your research?


BTW, the brisket is FABULOUS.


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Ideas, Money, and Collaboration at SXSW

by Rick Austin March 12, 2012 12:23 PM

The most thought-provoking session I’ve attended so far has been “Crowd-sourcing a Revolution: Can We Fix Healthcare?”


The session explored the growing popularity and effectiveness of prize competitions for creating innovation. Cristin Dorgelo, from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, pointed out that a cash prize was used to incentivize the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic, a competition won by Charles Lindbergh.


Dorgelo, previously with the X Prize Foundation, mentioned that the X Prize folks are now funding a $10 million prize competition to develop a medical tricorder device, a la Star Trek. Fiction becoming reality once again.


Other panelists, like Indu Subaiya of Health 2.0, emphasized that prize competitions at every level, not just X Prize-style mega-competitions, spur enormous volumes of innovative ideas; it’s not just about the prize winner’s idea.


All of this got my creative juices flowing… What if we used innovation prizes to incentivize collaborations between researchers and social marketers, between universities and state public health departments? Along with creating innovative ideas, we’d be spurring collaborations that just don’t usually happen in the United States.


Tell me what you think in the comments.


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The Unofficial SXSW Interactive Travelogue

by Rick Austin March 10, 2012 04:04 PM

This is south Texas, it should be in the low '80s by now. Instead, we have constant rain and low '40s. It's great to be in Austin for SXSW Interactive, but I'm annoyed to be in the public health business right now. I just found out that Bruce Springsteen will be a keynote speaker at SXSW Music, and the E Street Band will perform. ("Your Interactive badge is no good here, sir.")


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SXSW Here We Come!

by Rick Austin March 8, 2012 04:12 PM

I’m headed, for the first time tomorrow, to the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.


If you’ve followed this extravaganza at all over the years, you know that it started out as a music festival, added a film festival, and more recently, an interactive (Internet) festival. The whole shebang has an approximate attendance of 50,000.


At the Interactive festival, along with the expected gaming expo and futurist keynotes, they’ve added a remarkable selection of mobile and e-health programs. The KTExchange blog will be diverging from the usual fare over the next five days, and offering as many snippets as possible from the array at SXSW Interactive.


I hope you’ll follow along.


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