Skip to main content

Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth!

After they invent The Next Big Thing with assistance from The Geek Group and Inventables.   Let's continue our journey through innovation, production and reinvention, shall we?

After this post about my interest in creating a tinkerer's paradise, I heard from Casey DuBois, a Linkedin connection, about The Geek Group, a Grand Rapids, MI not-for-profit that's way ahead of me.  (No surprise there!)

From The Geek Group's website:
"Imagine if you could go to the workshop of the Mythbusters and hang out as one of the gang. Or what it would be like at spend your free time working in Bill Nye's labs, or hang out with Mr. Wizard. That is what the Geek Group is for. Instead of being just a face on a television, we are a real brick and mortar facility with all of the equipment, labs, and tools that most people only see on television. This is a place where you can not only get up close and see giant robots, lightning machines, lasers and all other manner of science and research equipment, but you can pick it up, touch it, use it, explore it and build your own projects."
More about The Geek Group;
"Imagine a facility that is a combination of NASA, MIT, and Mythbusters. A world class research and workshop area that is actually open to the public. That is the fundamental concept behind the Avalon Research Institute. It’s a place where real people, not just academics but anyone with a sincere and passionate desire to learn, can have access to the tools, materials, and guidance to help them explore the areas of science and technology that interest them. Unlike a traditional classroom environment people in The Geek Group can learn at their own pace, studying only the subjects that actually matter to them. The goal here is actual education and tangible results, not a diploma.

"There are millions of people all over the world that have this passion. Most people have some area in science, engineering, or technology that is some some interest to them, yet it isn’t enough of an interest that they wish to have a full-fledged degree in it. Ask any 14 year old boy and he’ll probably tell you that Robots are “just plain awesome!” but that doesn’t mean he wants to get a masters in robotics engineering. Even if he did choose that as a career path, he would likely be in his third year before actually getting to work with a large-scale industrial robot even in just a lab setting.

"There is a world full of remarkable people, who are bored with the Paris Hiltons and the banality of their daily world. People of all ages who have a massive thirst to explore and create. It is the mission of The Geek Group to fill this need by providing not only the facilities and tools, but the peer group and camaraderie  as well. This is a place where it doesn’t matter how you dress, what your social clique is, who you pray to, what colour your skin is, or who you chose to love. The letters and degrees mean nothing here, and age is irrelevant. Here we are free to be judged only by the content of our character, and concepts like Logic, Reason, Ethics, and Common Sense reign supreme. We have proven countless times that if you give people the opportunity to be self-responsible that they will impress you in ways never imagined. This is the exact opposite of most high-school environments."
An organization that maintains a hundred teenage boys' rapt attention for an hour straight is worth getting to know a little better, don't you think?  As I network among the innovators and incubators in my little corner of the world, a common theme is how poorly the educational system equips young people to be passionate, skilled inventors and innovators.  Is it time to revise our notion of what it means to be "educated?"  Time for a little geeky kick in the pants?

Coincidentally, on the radio this morning, as I was working on this post,  I heard an interview with a founder of Inventables. Billed as the innovator's hardware store, Inventables "...sells materials that designers, artists and inventors use to develop new products and push the boundaries of what's possible."

If you can't get to Grand Rapids, use Inventables to bring a little bit of Grand Rapids to you.  Color-changing fabric, shape-retaining plastic, bend sensors, aluminum foam, pages and pages of really interesting possibilities.  If Inventables doesn't sell it you probably don't need it.

So get busy locating your passion,  finding an idea and reinventing your community, your organization, your hospital or health system and, maybe, just maybe, yourself.  Don't think hospitals need it?  They need it most of all.

Hospitals need people with passion and imagination.  Need to turn them loose to develop better processes and techniques,  improved products and customer-pleasing services, more effective devices and treatments.  For generations it's been "hospitals treat, using what others develop." 

What if a hospital gave its leadership team, say, two hours per week to invent and tinker?  I can hear it now: "Not our core competency!"  To which I would ask health care leaders everywhere "Do you really know what that means?"


Popular posts from this blog

Becoming Consumer Friendly In Five Easy Steps...Or Not

An article at offers hospitals 5 steps to becoming more consumer friendly.

If you still think there's a secret sauce to your hospital becoming more "consumer friendly," these 5 steps are as good a place to start as any.  Unfortunately, it's a little like that old Steve Martin comedy bit where he says he'll teach you how to be rich. The first step is to go find a million dollars.

Step 1 from the article is realizing that "...a Medicare beneficiary with chronic conditions is different from a young mom who brings her kids in for an annual check-up." This is market segmentation for beginners, and, yes, one size decidedly does not fit all. I'm sure your marketing team's been saying this for a while.

Steps 2-5: have a strategy, metrics, a champion and resources. OK. Hard to argue with any of those.

But those things, alone or together, won't overcome culture. They're important components to be sure, but insufficient without a …

My Take On Anthem-Cigna, Big Dumb Companies and the Executives Who Run Them

After last Friday's Appeals Court decision, Anthem's hostile takeover of, er, merger with Cigna has but a faint pulse. Good. Unplug the respirator. Cigna's figured it out but Anthem is like that late-late horror show where the corpse refuses to die. Meanwhile, 150 McKinsey consultants are on standby for post-merger "integration" support. I guess "no deal, no paycheck..." is powerfully motivating to keep the patient alive a while longer.

In court, Anthem argued that assembling a $54 billion behemoth is a necessary precondition to sparking all manner of wondrous innovations and delivering $2.4 billion in efficiencies. The basic argument appears to be "We need to double in size to grow a brain. And just imagine all those savings translating directly into lower premiums for employers and consumers." 

Stop. Read that paragraph again. Ignore the dubious "lower premiums" argument and focus on the deal's savings.

$2.4 billion saved from a p…

Another Day, Another App, Another Satisfied Customer

How might health care providers use technology to turn customers' mobile phones into information displays and ordering devices? A few years ago, the NY Times outlined how retailers are doing it...
"(Designer Norma) Kamali is at the forefront of a technological transformation coming to many of the nation’s retailers. They are determined to strengthen the link between their physical stores and the Web, and to use technology to make shopping easier for consumers and more lucrative for themselves.

Cisco Systems, the supplier of networking equipment and services for the Internet, is also a leader in the field. The company’s Mobile Concierge system is capable of connecting customers’ smartphones to retailers’ wireless networks — so a shopper could type “Cheez Whiz” into a cellphone, then pinpoint its location in the store." Ms. Kamali's boutique installed a technology called ScanLife, "allowing people to scan bar codes on merchandise and obtain details about the…