December 23, 2015

A Relaunch of My Web Site

As you can see, I have launched a new web site. This web site is designed around a very specific pair of themes that have been the foundation of everything about which I have written and much of what I have done in my adult life: empowerment of individuals and innovation.

What is most foundational is how I want readers, particularly those who share my blogs with others, to understand is the vocabulary I am using and how it differs in subtle, but critical, ways from the way most people discuss a problem.

Health vs. Healthcare or Health insurance

I focus on “health,” as opposed to “healthcare,” because I believe that we are predominantly responsible for our health and that matters most is our mental and emotional state, not what happens inside the healthcare system. Not surprisingly, I think the Affordable Care Act got the problem completely backward by focusing on universal health insurance coverage. Universal health insurance is not only irrelevant to population health, but it has absolutely no effect whatsoever on the total amount of healthcare access, and, because of the way the Affordable Care Act mistakenly designed it, it actually made health insurance costlier than it otherwise would have been.

Hippocrates, the Greek philosopher whose oath is the core philosophy of healthcare practitioners all over the world, said wisely and simply: “Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.”

Learning vs. Education

The goal of education is to enable students to learn what they need to know to be prepared for life’s challenges and to develop learning habits that continue over a lifetime. The education system is one way, but not the only way, for that learning process to be nurtured. In fact, as many respected psychologists, teachers, and education researchers have pointed out, too much micromanagement of a student by a teacher actually inhibits learning. Governments over-regulate education and interfere with learning.

I was blessed with being raised by parents who were not well educated, but were passionate about creating the best learning environment for me. I will publish a blog shortly about my optimal learning environment.

Mobility and access vs. transportation

I have been a volunteer in public/private task forces to improve mobility and access through the transportation system. I have concluded that one of the big problems with how we think and act on the subjects of mobility and access is that we focus excessively on increasing the supply of transportation capacity, as opposed to reducing the demand on that capacity or its efficiency. E-commerce reduces unnecessary shopping trips. Telecommuting reduces unnecessary commute-time travel. Online entertainment reduces the need to go to a place to be entertained.

We are social beings, so we will always want to have mobility and access to others. What we do not need is to be forced to travel somewhere solely because a less taxing option is not available to us.

Inclusion and innovation vs. diversity and divisiveness

We value diversity, because it stimulates innovative thinking and decision-making. We should never allow the focus on diversity to cause us to exaggerate the magnitude of differences among people when the effect of doing so is to divide people, instead of unifying them.Freedom of association is valuable, up to a point. Excluding and demonizing those with whom we do not choose to associate is destructive of our social fabric. Political parties are particularly destructive as they move further away from each other in terms of their policies and positions. Fraternities, sororities, country clubs, religions, and ethnic loyalties are all useful in moderation, but dangerous when zealously pursued.In fact, rule by one political party and the creation of cults of personality and subcultures within the political party structure often lead to excessive concentrations or power and cronyism.

Broader access to livelihoods vs. higher credentials and licensing requirements

We empower people more when they have career wellbeing. In fact, Tom Rath and Jim Harter, in their great book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, identify career wellbeing as being more sustaining when it exists and more damaging when it is missing than other elements.

However, employers, elected officials and the leadership of credentialing and professional association bodies of professions intentionally or inadvertently diminish the population of those who experience career wellbeing. Minimum wage laws reduce the number of entry-level jobs. Unnecessary educational credentials, especially that require access to a high-cost four-year college education, reduce career access. Licensing, credentialing, and certification requirements create unnecessary entry barriers and reduce livelihood access.

The meanings of “Open Mike”

I have called my blog “Open Mike” in recognition of four different meanings of the word “Open:”

“Open” means honest and transparent. I aspire to be as honest and transparent as possible, even to the point of admitting when I have not succeeded at something;When something is “opened,” it implies that more people have power and opportunity to move forward through or to it. An “open” organization is one that is welcoming of more people. I believe strongly in broadening access.

An “open” mind is one that is willing to think very differently about a problem, a subject or a situation.

I aspire to be transparent, to advocate for more opportunity, to break down organizational and structural barriers, and to get people to think differently about a subject I have covered in a blog.I look forward to continuing with those who are currently following me and to welcoming and being open to new members and new ways of thinking.I wish anyone reading this a Happy Holiday and a blessed and productive New Year!