We need education that focus on problem solving and innovation

In order for our global society to develop solutions to pressing problems in an increasingly technology-driven and constantly changing world, we need to re-train our workforce to do what machines can’t: to be enterprising, independent and strategic thinkers—to be purposeful creators.

These starts with changing the way students, especially the youngest ones, learn. And learning in the future has a lot to do with play.

Learning through play with “hands-on, minds-on” approaches is a powerful way forward. Play gives children space to dream, discover, improvise, and challenge convention. It’s crucial to social, emotional, cognitive and even physical development, helping them grow up “better adjusted, smarter and less stressed.”

However, today’s youngsters have a deficit of play. Where did play go? And can we get it back?

This was one of the topics of the LEGO Idea Conference that took place last April in Denmark. Hosted by the LEGO Foundation, the conference aimed at creating and being a part of “conversations and networks around re-defining play and re-imagining learning.” Speakers included leading voices in education, learning, and child development such as Tony Wagner. He talked about the importance of disciplined play in an innovation economy. The important message of his keynote was: “The capacity of being a creative problem solver is within the human being”. We, at Moebio, agree with Wagner’s words and our goal at Design Health Barcelona, our flagship program, is to create future leaders in healthcare innovation by guiding talented people beyond their boundaries, bringing their creativity and entrepreneurial mind out and providing them new knowledge and skills to succeed.

You can watch Wagner’s inspiring TED-style keynote in the following video. ¡Enjoy!

Advertisements

The Big Data within you

Microsensors in your shoes compile data on where you go and what you do. Your workout clothes track your daily progress at the gym and tell you when to slow down or speed up. The pill you swallow reports back on the state of your digestion, vital signs, and overall wellbeing. And as you sleep, a headband monitors your REM patterns.

Sci-fi fantasy? Not at all. It is merely a glimpse into what might be possible through a movement called “The Quantified Self” that has become mainstream.

The Quantified Self employs technology, mobile devices, sensors embedded in clothing and wearable bands, to drive greater self-awareness by tracking data related to exercise, diet, weight and other health maintenance, financial management, learning and so forth. Almost 70% of the American adults already quantify their lives in areas related to health and wellness and this is just the beginning. Analysts are predicting that we will see even more growth in the months and years ahead. ABI predicts that more than 100M personal tracking devices will be sold each year by 2016. There are reasonable expectations that personal tracking will be a $12B industry by 2020. Investments have been huge, as well: Fitbit raised more than $40M this year, BodyMedia was bought by Jawbone for more than $100M, and personal informatics projects on Kickstarter have booked more than $6M in revenue alone in 2013.

While it’s clear these apps and devices have attracted a loyal following, most experts are still trying to figure out what to do with all of this data collected. For example, there are several challenges to overcome before using this data in healthcare practice. Quality is a big issue: the data need to be good enough to be used in a clinical setting. Not to drown physicians in a tsunami of personal data is another aspect to consider. Data streams need to reach practitioners in a format that’s easily consumable, searchable, and analyzable. Finally, these continuous data streams need to be contextualized as well. Doctors need to know what external factors could have caused, for example, a rapid spike in blood pressure or true diagnosis can’t happen.

In the video below you can get a glimpse on how the Quantified Self is already changing our lives. If you want numbers that show the blooming business of data have a look to this article published in Harvard Business Review. If you prefer a written introduction to the field you will probably enjoy this report at The Economist.