Posts tagged with health:

Why I Curated a Design Exhibition/Pop-Up in Los Angeles

It seemed only natural to say yes when my friend and bike-riding partner, Ilan Dei, asked me to curate a design exhibition at his pop up retail shop focused on human-powered movement.

Ilan is a Venice-based furniture and environment designer. We share similar passions and run in the same professional circles. We’ve been riding buddies for 20 years, and for a long time we’ve wanted to collaborate on something. This seemed like an opportune time to finally do it.

We decided to bring design to the streets, sourcing the most innovative “people-powered” products designed and or manufactured in SoCal and highlighting them in Ilan’s pop up store on Abbot Kinney Blvd., where crowds perusing this strip of funky high-end shops and gourmet restaurants could wander in to view a colorful collection of products all available for purchase.

Our goal was twofold: to educate people about the innovative design happening here in our hometown, and to improve the health of our community. With that, we came up with the name “Moving LA: People-Powered Design.”

The double entendre encapsulated everything we wanted the exhibition to be about: the people of LA are physically moving about/around with the products on display, and LA moves us, or inspires us, to create and design.

Focusing the exhibition on physical movement was a perfect connection to my personal passion, as well as to Karten Design. My consultancy has been innovating in the health care industry for over 28 years, creating products that meaningfully improve people’s health experience.

The products on display at Ilan’s store are designed to get people moving across or in Los Angeles, from bikes and skateboards to hula-hoops and yoga equipment. They engage people to physically move and be active in their bodies and in their communities as they enjoy a healthy lifestyle. At Karten Design, my team and I are made aware every day through our work that not everyone has his or her health. To further promote wellness in our local community, Ilan and I decided to dedicate a portion of the proceeds from the exhibition to the Venice Family Clinic – a community health clinic that provides affordable, quality health care to 24,000 low-income, uninsured, and homeless patients each year – so they can help others operate a full power.

As a business owner and innovator, I also appreciate living and working in a hot bed of innovation. Los Angeles, where I’ve lived and worked for nearly 30 years, has deeply influenced my creativity, my perspective, and my mindset. The city is a hub for trends and groundbreaking ingenuity; it breeds freedom to create and innovate unlike anywhere else.

It wasn’t difficult to find fitness, health, and recreation products that are designed and manufactured in Southern California. This place is an incubator for innovation, particularly in these categories. Our temperate year-round climate and miles of beaches and mountain paths as well as the athletic community our environment has fostered drive creativity and ingenuity.

Over the past month, I’ve enjoyed learning about and meeting local, leading innovators who are creating positive experiences for active people. The common narrative, I learned, amongst these innovators is that they turned their hobby or passion or an experience they were missing into a business. The advantage with having this kind of story is that they are true insiders; they are incredibly in touch with their users and the values of their communities. In turn, they create meaningful, useful products that they themselves need and want to use. Some who participated in the exhibition even created new experiences through their products, such as surfskating and elliptical cycling.

The products we selected not only keep us active and introduce new functionalities, but they also look good. As seen in this design exhibition, Southern California innovators have combined the best of functional and aesthetic innovation; these are the kinds of creative thinkers powering LA.

To read more about the inspiration behind the exhibition and the innovation that came from local companies, check out the featured coverage in LA Weekly.

And thank you to all the companies who participated: Arbor Collective, Athletic Propulsion Labs, Carver Skateboards, ElliptiGo, Ellsworth, Hoopnotica, IntelliSkin, Loaded Boards, Malibu Kayaks, Poseidon Boards, Predator Cycling, Quickblade Paddles, Scott Anderson Surfboards, Sip N’Go, Valo Brand, and yogitoes.

Motivating Men: Stories from Movember

Reflecting on Movember, Karten Design Designer Jonathan Abarbanel discusses the role of storytelling in men’s health.

Karten Design just finished up a successful Movember. By growing mustaches for a month, 10 of our men used their faces to start conversations about men’s health and raise almost $1,000 dollars to fund men’s health research and education.

We’ve had a lot of conversations in our studio during Movember. Most were about mustaches, but a few were about larger issues of health. I wonder, as Movember turns into December and most of the men at Karten Design shave their Mo-staches, what the experiences and conversations have meant to those of us who participated.

Last week I sat down with our Movember Team Captain Jonathan Abarbanel to get his point of view. A father of two young children and the husband of a children’s librarian, Jonathan is something of an expert at storytelling. Recently, Jonathan took a class in Narrative and Digital Media at UCLA Extension, and it’s made him think about the role that stories play in our everyday lives. He believes that stories are all around us, and we uncover new stories by doing new things. I asked Jonathan what sorts of stories he’s found in Movember. CONTINUE »

Why Karten Design is “Changing the Face of Men’s Health”

You may have noticed something hairy happening around our studio. This year for the first time, Karten Design has formed a team to participate in Movember. During the month of November, 11 of us “Mo Bros” have pledged to grow a moustache for 30 days, becoming walking, talking billboards for men’s health causes– specifically cancers affecting men.

This is a cause near to my heart. I’ve had friends and even employees who are survivors of testicular and prostate cancer. But beyond those experiences I’ve witnessed directly, I see an unmet need for men to take more ownership of their health.


Stop Planning and Start Booming

This year, the oldest of the Baby Boomers turn 65, signaling this powerful generational cohort’s entry into a new phase of life—retirement. As Boomers come to retirement age, there has been a lot of talk about what the future holds for them.

The sociologist in me was curious. My Karten Design Research colleagues and I have done quite a few usability studies that included people 65 and older. We’ve learned that, as people age, they have different physical needs due to conditions like arthritis, diminished tactility and deteriorating vision. But they also have different emotional needs than younger demographics.
While the physical needs of older Americans are likely to be the same from generation to generation, I suspect that emotional needs differ based on the experiences that have shaped each generation and the collective experiences they face in their later years. I wanted to evaluate the key differences between today’s older Americans (the GI generation born before WW2) and the next generation, Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964).

I recently completed some research about trends that may define what I’m calling “elderly of the future,” and observed the trends that will likely affect Boomers as they age. Here are just a few.

Creating a Consumer Movement in Wireless Health


An Interview with WLSA VP of Partner Development, Paul Sonnier

One of the biggest opportunities for accelerating the adoption of Wireless Health is the creation of a consumer movement. This is one thing that struck me during this year’s WLSA Convergence Summit. Connected devices, apps and services marketed directly to consumers are allowing people to achieve personal health objectives, whether that involves getting a better night’s sleep (Zeo Personal Sleep Coach), managing weight (Fit Bit or Body Media), or even conceiving a child (Duo Fertility). Many medical device companies are taking traditional routes, coordinating with insurance providers, health systems and the FDA to get their devices adopted in clinical settings. But innovative start-ups like these, as well as consumer giants like Procter & Gamble, are taking Wireless Health directly to consumers.

Working in the marketing department for a company that designs both medical devices and consumer products, I was intrigued by the idea of a consumer-driven movement in healthcare. It represents a major shift away from the insurance-driven model of healthcare prominent in the U.S. today. This growing business model will force manufacturers to think harder about patients’ needs, their habits and their lifestyles and to develop a strong consumer-facing brand.

To delve more deeply into this topic, I spoke with Paul Sonnier, Vice President of Partner Development at the Wireless-Life Science Alliance (WLSA). WLSA is a special-purpose trade organization dedicated to creating value and improving health, globally, through the convergence of communications technologies, consumers, caregivers and all sectors of the life sciences and technology environment. In his role, Paul fosters partnership and collaboration between WLSA members and inducting new partners—both clinical and consumer companies. Additionally, Paul founded and manages the Wireless Health group on LinkedIn, which is dedicated to advancing knowledge and building relationships between professionals interested in the convergence of wireless technology with the continuum of clinical healthcare, clinical research, and consumer health.

Excerpts of our conversation follow.


Spotlight: Wireless Health

Imagine a world where your car can tell you when your blood sugar needs a boost, or an electronic device in your home can accurately tell you whether your sore throat is a symptom of bacterial strep throat or a common cold.

These scenarios could soon become a reality thanks to a convergence of communications technology and medicine that is creating a mobile revolution in health and wellness.

According to Rob McCray, President and Co-Founder of the Wireless-Life Science Alliance, a leading Wireless Health coalition, we are only experiencing the beginning of the new possibilities that Wireless Health will enable: “If this were the internet commerce sector, we would be in 1995 when it was not clear what shape that sector would take.” Indeed, experts predict that digital health technology and services will grow by more than 300% over the next five years, from $1.7 billion today to approximately $5.7 billion in 2015.


This week, we put the spotlight on Wireless Health with a roundup of articles that help to define this growing force and look at the impact that it will have on physicians, caregivers and patients, as well as product manufacturers.


Why Wireless Heath Matters – MobiHealthNews

“The potential of wireless health will be realized in the effective blending of three bodies of learning: high technology; life sciences; and human factors.”


Do-It-Yourself Health Care With Smartphones – NY Times

“Thanks to an array of small devices and applications for smartphones… consumers can take a more active role in managing their own care, often treating chronic illnesses — and preventing acute ones — without the direct aid of a physician.”


Ford eyes health application for Sync – Detroit Free Press

“Ford and partners want diabetics to be able to use the same wireless glucometers they use at home or work in their vehicles. The Sync-connected devices would alert a driver or passenger when blood-sugar levels rise or fall to risky levels.”


Healthcare Puts Tablets To The Test – InformationWeek Healthcare

“Since gadget-happy doctors got their hands on the iPad last year, many have turned it from a toyinto a professional tool. Dr. Jeffrey Westcott, cardiology board chair at Swedish Medical Center, a four-hospital complex in Seattle, even sees it as a lifesaver.”


Tricorder X Prize To Allow Patients To Diagnose Themselves – Fast Company

“The just-announced $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize competition invites entrants to ‘develop a mobile solution that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians.’”

Modern Medicine: Technology + Healthcare

Click to enlarge!

Question of the Month: Community Health

California has a reputation for being healthy, having consistently good weather, and promoting outdoor activities – but in reality we have just as many health problems as the rest of America which cannot be ignored. Some of the notorious problems affecting California include childhood obesity, asthma due to poor air quality (especially in Los Angeles), heart disease and diabetes.
As designers, we believe that innovation can change the way we live and our overall quality of life. With this in mind, we asked the studio:

What innovations at the state, city or individual level would improve the health of our community?

DownWithDenim.Org: Motivating Healthy Behavior

On April 8, Karten Design introduced, a system that addresses the childhood obesity epidemic in a new way.

The idea is simple: Offering kids free denim jeans to motivate them to adopt healthier behaviors, then providing them the resources and coaching to achieve their goals.

Today, childhood obesity is an epidemic fully recognized by the American public, with the help of activists like Michelle Obama and Jamie Oliver. In Los Angeles County, one in five students in 5th, 7th and 9th grades is obese. Clearly, we were dealing with a big problem—one that stems from other large problems like income inequity, limited access to healthy food and places to exercise, a food industry driven by subsidies, and personal values that favor unhealthy choices.

When Karten Design looked at what we, as a single design consultancy, could do to effect change, we honed in on motivation. There is a prevalence of information regarding health and diet, but a dry list of “do’s” and “don’ts” has not been enough to motivate children to adopt smart eating choices. Lacking in previous attempts at helping children maintain a healthy weight was intrinsic motivation.