Monday, October 18, 2010

The Creativity Crisis

I am a little behind on my blogging, but an article from July 10 Newsweek (still available on their web site) is so important that it warrants attention. The problem that the article talks about is the poor scores on creativity that today’s U.S. K-12 kids exhibit. We are one of the few G-20 countries not making specific attempts to teach creativity in school.

But the article also talks about some recent research that shows creativity can be taught. It describes how it is done. If your kids’ schools are not doing this, do it at home. Your kids will be better off and you may save the country!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Usability can change the world

Great article by my good friend Julian Sanchez and his dad. They talk about how good visualization techniques can help consumers use less energy without sacrificing the customer experience. It’s a great combination of usability and the behavioral science techniques behind books like “Nudge.” I recommend getting to know these techniques for anyone involved in design or interested in climate change or any other wickedly complicated problem.

His article is Sanchez J. and Sanchez M.T. (2010) Climate Change: A Challenge for Design. Interactions, July/August, 18-21. It's gated, but you can at least read the abstract.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Different doses for the elderly???

A new computer warning system developed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center warns doctors when a drug they are prescribing can hurt elderly patients because the elderly require a different dose that the doctor may not be aware of. The reason is that there is not a lot of research that focuses on the appropriate doses for the elderly and when new research comes out, doctors are often not aware of it until it is too late. Three and a half years of testing showed that doctors changed their dosage prescription 20% of the time when faced with these warnings. I am not sure this is very comforting if 80% of the doctors ignored the warning – or perhaps didn’t know what other dose to use because they hadn’t read the research. There has to be a better way.

What do you think???

waiting for your doctor :-(((

A new web site – – allows doctors to input when their office appointments are running late and warn patients accordingly. So rather than waste an hour in the waiting room, the patient can come at the later time. Bravo – if it gets used. Because doctors are so pressured by HMOs to see as many patients as possible, and that they don’t have to pay for our wasted time, I suspect that they would rather see us waste the hour in the waiting room and not risk a few minutes of empty time in the middle of the day and the few minutes it would take to input the appropriate delay information to the web site. That is the problem with the perverse incentives that our health care system is faced with.

What do you think???