The Lybbaverse / interviews  

Installing the right plumbing with the innovative Larry Keeley

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“Innovation” is one of those buzzwords made meaningful by Larry Keeley, a strategist who has worked for 30 years to develop more effective innovation methods. He is currently president and co-founder of Doblin, Inc., “an innovation strategy firm known for pioneering comprehensive innovation systems that materially improve innovation success rates.”

That’s a lot of innovation, and there's more.

BusinessWeek named Keeley one of seven “Innovation Gurus” that are changing the field, and specifically cited him for having many of the most sophisticated tools for delivering "innovation effectiveness". In 2010, they also selected Keeley as one of the 27 most influential designers in the world, though he doesn't consider himself a designer. 

Filmmaker and Lybba founder Jesse Dylan recently sat down with Keeley to better understand precisely what innovation means to him. Keeley poses: “Underneath fabric of ‘innovation’, we do need to change rate of change.” He also attests that it’s not about rocket science as much as making more pedestrian fixes. He prefers to think of it as “installing the right plumbing.” One of those fixtures includes proliferation of the digital health record, to eliminate redundancy and improve our overall health as a population.

Keeley spreads his knowledge by teaching graduate innovation strategy classes at the Institute of Design in Chicago, the first design school in the U.S. with a Ph.D. program, where he is a board member. He has also helped foster "This American Life" and other path-breaking new radio programs at Chicago Public Radio.

Mind meld: Dr. Nicholas LaRusso on thinking like a designer

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Nicholas F. LaRusso, M.D. is the Charles H. Weinman Endowed Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinicand a Distinguished Investigator of the Mayo Foundation. Prior to holding several chair positions at Mayo Clinic, he served as a guest investigator at the Rockefeller University in the laboratory of the Nobel laureate, Christian de Duve.

As part of our Lybbaverse series on the Center for Innovation, Jesse Dylan speaks with Dr. LaRusso on how design thinking is similar to a physician’s approach to problem solving. In the lab, Dr. LaRusso says he never knows where he’ll end up, and similarly at the Center, both physicians and designers constantly explore and redefine methodologies together.

Dr. LaRusso is currently the Principle Investigator of two RO1’s and the NIH Mayo Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology at Mayo Clinic. His honors include an NIH MERIT Award, Distinguished Achievement Awards from both the AGA and the AASLD, and a Distinguished Mentor award from the AGA Foundation, not to mention the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mayo Alumni Association.

No more walled gardens: Bishop George Packard on the participatory democracy of Occupy

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Retired  Episcopal Bishop George Packard was arrested at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza in New York City as he participated in the May 1 Occupy demonstrations. He and 15 other military veterans were taken into custody after they linked arms to hold the plaza against a police attempt to clear it.

Bishop Packard was also shackled last December while occupying Duarte Square owned by Trinity Church. After several attempted negotiations with representatives of the institution, he wrote on his blog: "I am still baffled that the Episcopal Church of which I have been a member all my life could not--through Trinity--find some way to embrace these thousands of young people in our very diminishing ranks."

Beyond the bishop's high-profile detainments, however, his career spans a lifetime of service, including receipt of the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars while with the First Infantry Division in Vietnam. Upon graduation from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1974, he transferred his commission from the infantry to the Reserves as a chaplain. In addition to completing several notable commissions abroad, he worked on policy development in race relations, multicultural diversity, and grief-loss programs, before his retirement as lieutenant colonel in 1996.

For Lybba and all advocates of #occupyhealthcare, many of Bishop Packard's sentiments in our interview with him, on the politics and challenges of walled gardens, resonate deeply.

Was your decision to become a chaplain tied directly to your experience of war?

GP: I can’t say that it was. I believed in ministry to those who were defending our country. Over time I became alarmed at the level of lethality of our weapons systems and the stress and trauma to our troops given these wars in SW Asia.

Could you describe your involvement with Veterans for Peace and the members who joined you at the Memorial?

GP: Actually my politics are somewhat different than the “Veterans for Peace.” I even started a Facebook Page to gather vets in conversation who supported a sane use of our military and supported Occupy Wall Street. There was already such a conservative group on Facebook but they were bad-mouthing OWS or didn’t understand it. On May 1st, and prior to my second arrest, it was important to stand with veterans of any stripe. Occupy brings many people together regardless of the nuance of difference they have because there’s a much larger injustice at stake.

Tell me about what you've referred to as a "lost justice" and does it relate to what you perceive to be an increasing "separation of church and street"?

GP: Martin Luther King, Jr. said we need less Good Samaritan deeds and more action to correct injustice on the Jericho Road. As the late theologian Walter Wink wrote, the world or “system” is fallen because it makes a fetish of its own existence. The Church has become part of that system and has abandoned what it means to be disposable as it brings the Kingdom of God to earth. Justice will be lost to the Church as long as it fritters away time enjoying its own fireside.

How does this philosophy you've advocated throughout your life align with the Occupy movement?

GP: The abiding truth for me is connection and the insistence on participatory democracy in Occupy brings that concept to life. All the institutions in our lives could do with a healthy dose of horizontality and a diet of less hierarchy and ranking. All we have now is a system intent on draining away personal agency and control of our lives.

Do you remember when it was that you felt keenly that the church needed to stand with Occupy?

GP: It was after about the fourth or fifth attempt to arrange a meeting between the corporate offices of Trinity Church and an earnest band of Occupiers. It was going to be merely a conversation but the Church had become this icon of order and prerogative and wouldn’t do it. Finally it occurred to me that was the consistent posture of all organized religion burdened as it was with hierarchy and ranking. Its end game was order not responsiveness.

Do you recall the moment before/when you climbed the fence and stood with the veterans?

GP: Both times I was afraid but I had a deep, resonating sense this was what I had to do. It helps to be with friends; you don’t go into combat or get arrested alone. 

Will you continue to bridge/intersect relations between the church and Occupy? 

GP: I wish the physics of your question were true: that there is something “to bridge/intersect” but I see no awareness in the institutional church that there’s a problem. None. Moreover, the Church has become a caricature of the gospel where small talk and charitable nicety replaces justice. These current versions are dying off, literally, as their aging populations finish life spans. Emergent, house, even street churches are where the Holy Spirit beckons us now. I’ll be there. 

How virtual worlds contribute to health education, design, and patient care

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Brian Kaihoi is currently the Web administrator at Mayo Clinic. There, he leads efforts to incorporate virtual world tools, or computer-based simulated environments through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects, into practice, research, and administrative activities. 

On behalf of Mayo, Kaihoi presents numerous educational seminars and workshops for the organization, as well as state and federal government agencies, professional associations, corporations, and civic groups. Previously, he was president of the Minnesota affiliate of the American Society for Healthcare Education and Training.

Jesse Dylan interviews him on how virtual worlds are specifically helping to improve outcomes for patients.

Health Leads asks patients the tough questions, to serve vulnerable families

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In 1996, Rebecca Onie co-founded Health Leads, as a sophomore at Harvard, with Dr. Barry Zuckerman at Boston Medical Center. The nonprofit pairs powerful interdisciplinary teams with experienced physician-advocates to meet the needs of vulnerable families.

Operating in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, and Washington, D.C., the organization poses potential solutions to help eliminate the root causes of illness. Last year alone, they enlisted a corps of nearly 1,000 college volunteers and assisted 8,800 low-income patients and their families in obtaining food, heat, job training, and other basic resources they need to stay healthy.

Onie is also a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, U.S. Ashoka Fellow, and member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation External Advisory Council. Among her many awards and honors are a MacArthur Genius Fellowship and John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award. O! Magazine placed her on its Power List of 20 women who are “changing the world for the better”, and Forbes Magazine named her "one of the top 30 social entrepreneurs in the world”.

In this interview with Jesse Dylan, she shares the stories of families with little access to resources and what's being done to help.