#SXSW Interactive Top 10 Takeaways for Healthcare in 2013


There were far too many terrific takeaways over the four days I spent at the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, TX this past weekend, many of which I promise to elaborate on in the coming weeks. For now–here are my Top 10–really in no particular order, as all will be coming your way in due time. I cannot say enough good things about the SXSW experience — please comment and share your own takeaways if you also attended!

  1. Mobile and Responsive design: For anyone creating content of any kind–this is the bus to be on, and it’s well on its way down the road. As a medical device or a content viewer, for healthcare diagnostics or your favorite magazine–almost any tool or content being developed today needs to have a mobile version ready to go. Responsive design adapts web content to the device it is being viewed upon, and ideally should be a consideration when any content is developed.
  2. Visual presence: Will be key to sharing/driving/conveying ideas. Designers themselves were highly visible speakers, and emphasis was put on good design being the mechanism that will not only introduce the feel, the heart and the soul of your brand or organization, but also break through the sea of content being developed. See Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, two leaders in the news “blogosphere”, for examples.


    MakerBot 3D Printer & Freshly Printed Products

  3. Subtraction: With the exponentially increasing amount of information, data and content coming at us, learning how to remove the unnecessary will be the way to achieve your goal. Knowing when to stay open to the “noise”, and when to tune out, will take discipline for those seeing unlimited opportunity in everything now available to us with the swipe of finger or click of a mouse.
  4. Collaborate: Open source everything! How will medicine respond to this call?
  5. Sensors for health: The body will become the data source of the future. Talk about transparency–Ouch! BodyMedia was one health tech company present sharing their technology for tracking exercise, sleep and calories in a meaningful way.
  6. Change is the new “black”: It’s here, it’s in and begs to be embraced by every generation. There will be much of it heading our way, and it will require all of us to change our behaviors as a result at some point. How will healthcare leaders not only embrace change, but lead change?
  7. Print has a shelf life: While this may not be a news flash to many, it was confirmed by leaders in media and publishing ahead of the game. Not sure when the switch will turn off, but have your digital, interactive content ready to go in responsive design mode.
  8. A good idea is only half the equation: The other half is knowing how you will spread your message. Social and mobile have converged, and will be the main avenues through which all things spread.
  9. Google and android platform: For a dedicated Mac user, this is a conclusion I can no longer ignore. Not sure where this is all heading, but I know I need to understand it better. The openness of the platform alone is worth a deeper understanding. Guy Kawasaki, of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame, puts his manuscripts out on Google docs for his readers to edit. Google Glass appears to be here to stay, and I recently heard David Letterman do a Top 10 on Google Talking Shoes…
  10. “Maker Movement” is here: What tangible content, assets or services are you adding to good of the world? These folks had a strong presence at SXSW, and it’s not just the 3D Printer folks, who admitted we are a ways off from printing spleens any time soon.

Why Is Change So Hard In Healthcare?

Storify on ChangeThe IHI 24th Annual Forum was held this week in Orlando, and while I personally wasn’t able to make this year’s meeting, I was able to follow the conference through Twitter streams #IHI24Forum and #smIHI. As I await the release of the keynote addresses to the IHI website, the beauty of social media has allowed me to glean some highlights through the tweets of attendees. Thanks to all who added substance to the ~1.3 million IHI impressions on Twitter over the course of the week.

Of particular interest, was Dan Heath’s keynote on change. Heath, who co-authored best-sellers such as  Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard and Made to Stick, has studied and written on why change is challenging, but also provides suggestions on how to make it happen. The image, On Change, links to a Storify aggregation of tweets highlighting his talk, as well as others discussing change at IHI. IHI’s email summary of Heath’s talk also provided key takeways:

Comparing the emotional and rational systems of the human brain, Heath offered guidance on how to impact change and reinforced the point that data alone is not sufficient to initiate change —- emotion is much more powerful. He urged attendees to tap into the emotional side of change as they lead improvement efforts in health care, and reminded all that failure in the process of change should not stop us in our efforts to lead improvement.

And, finally–please share your thoughts on healthcare change in the poll at the end of this post!