LIKE MEDICAL MYSTERIES?

What would you do if you burped 150 times a day?

Very rare conditions like this are hard to treat and many patients are turning to CrowdMed, an online community of case workers. The diagnosis for this patient was ‘supergastric belching’ which led to treatment by a speech pathologist.

There are some 7000 identified rare diseases in the word, each affecting fewer than 200,000 people, so diagnosis can take an average of 5 1/2 years. 

Since launching publicly in April 2013, CrowdMed has helped solve hundreds of medical cases for patients around the world through an easy-to-use online service. Volunteer diagnosticians are students, retired doctors, nurses and laymen who enjoy trying to solve a mystery.

Ever fancy being the solver of medical mysteries? Join the crowd.

THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

'Kiwis Loose Touch With Their Neighbours' was the New Zealand Herald's take out from the recently released Sovereign Wellness Index Survey.

Only 4% of New Zealanders agreed they felt close to people in their local area.

It's not that we don't want to know our neighbours. The 2014 Neighbourly Survey highlighted 85% saying we want to connect with our neighbours.

Here's one way of tackling the problem:

Four years ago the Clevedon Presbyterian church community canvassed interest in holding an intercultural luncheon. A staggering 5,000 Chinese replied 'yes'.

So every Tuesday about twenty are bussed in from across Auckland to sit down and share lunch with local volunteers. Many have followed their children here. Some have been here for less than three months, some up to twelve years. This is often the first time in this country that they have been invited to a Western meal. Many have never used knives and forks, nor are they familiar with our dining etiquette. Volunteers guide them through a meal. There are lots of laughs. People talk about who they are and why they are here.

The waiting list to participate keeps growing exponentially and now includes different ethnicities.  Sharing stories over food is an ideal opportunity to get to know your neighbours. Everyone has a story.

Let's all be that kind stranger, that welcoming community.

PLANET OF THE APPS

"By 2020, almost 80% of every adult on the planet will own a smartphone - a highly sophisticated, really connected, powerful pocket computer to generate wealth.

In New Zealand it will be closer to 95%." 

In his thought provoking talk entitled, Planet of the Apps,  technology futurist,  Mark Pesce discusses how old and new business models are fighting it out and what it means when everyone will have the ability to trade in the palm of their hand. 

 Click here to listen to Mark Pesce's interview  with Kathryn Ryan  on National Radio.

Click here to listen to Mark Pesce's interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio.


DE-ESCALATING A CRISIS

Chris Voss, a hostage negotiator with the FBI for 25 years, is now CEO and Founder of The Black Swan Group.  His insights from the FBI, Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School have been applied to communication challenges and negotiations in business.

Voss recommends what he describes as a 'ridiculously simple, but incredibly powerful' technique for de-escalating a crisis: emotional labelling. 

"People love to have others understand how they feel. Hanging a tentative label on an emotion heard, observed, or more importantly implied, is the best way to demonstrate empathy. Empathy is the cognitive ability to discriminate effective cues in others and the ability to articulate those cues. It not only encourages reciprocity it allows people to become more receptive of others’ points of view. Attentive listening has positive benefits.  It allows the individual to evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings and become better problem solvers."

NEED TO NEGOTIATE? 

Listen to Chris' interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio by clicking the image, or go to www.blackswanltd.com

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

According to Jeffrey Katzenberg, the sixty-three-year-old C.E.O. of DreamWorks Animation, "YouTube will be the biggest media platform of any, by far, in the entire world within 5 years." 

 Click here to read "Hollywood and Vine".  How the entertainment industry is seeking the future in viral video.  By Tad Friend.  The New Yorker, Dec 15, 2014.

Click here to read "Hollywood and Vine".  How the entertainment industry is seeking the future in viral video.  By Tad Friend.  The New Yorker, Dec 15, 2014.

We are observing this megatrend and paying close attention to what the insiders are saying...

 "YouTube’s primacy as the place teen-agers go after school is already being challenged, especially by Vine, an app of looping six-second videos that launched last year.

The digital realm is no country for old men; younger, fleeter forms and stars are emerging faster and faster, and you almost can’t trust anyone over thirteen to understand them."

THE RADICAL POWER OF ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Atul Gawande, a world-leading surgeon, writer and public health researcher is fascinated by the big questions: death and the art of dying. At the 2015 Auckland Readers & Writers Festival, the audience audibly gasped when Gawande said 70% of us would die with somebody else making the core decisions. 

His ephiphany was not to assume death is a medical problem to solve, but to ask the simple question: 

"WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU IN THE REMAINDER OF YOUR LIFE?"

A great reminder that in dealing with complex problems where you are the expert, it is important to keep the client/patient/human being at the centre and let them say what matters to them.

R U THERE?

Inspiring social impact CEO, Nancy Lublin of DoSomething.Org has recently launched a 24/7 nationwide, crisis intervention hotline to conduct its conversations (to mostly teenagers) exclusively by text. 

Lublin explains why:

"People who spent their high-school years chatting with friends on landlines are often dismissive of texting, as if it might be a phase one outgrows, but the form is unparalleled in its ability to relay information concisely. The act of writing, even if the product consists of only a hundred and forty characters composed with one’s thumbs, forces a kind of real-time distillation of emotional chaos". 

 Click here to read "R U There?" A new counselling service harnesses the power of the text message. By Alice Gregory.  New Yorker, February 9th, 2015.

Click here to read "R U There?" A new counselling service harnesses the power of the text message. By Alice Gregory.  New Yorker, February 9th, 2015.

Her critical insight is that tapping out a text message acts as a behavioral buffer, providing distance between a person and intense, immediate, and often impulsive feelings.

WANT TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THE POWER OF TEXTING?