‘MORE SHOTS ON GOAL’
Prizes, Challenges Spur Innovation, Tap Global Talent

Dr. Karim Lakhani of Harvard Business School thinks it might not be a bad idea to go to the crowd first for solutions to tech problems.
Dr. Karim Lakhani of Harvard Business School thinks it might not be a bad idea to go to the crowd first for solutions to tech problems.

If you want to get something done in this world, and your current workforce isn’t exactly delivering the mail, open up your challenge to the crowd; you might just find cheaper, faster, more powerful solutions, especially if the problem involves bludgeoning big data with sharper algorithms.

That was the take-home message at an NIH symposium on challenges held Sept. 30 in the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, sponsored by the Office of the Associate Director for Data Science.

The usefulness of the carrot as motivation was presented from two angles: Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, outlined the long history of challenges as a road to innovation and explained why the Obama administration has backed the America COMPETES Act and launched its own Strategy for American Innovation. Dr. Karim Lakhani, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, who runs a Crowd Innovation Lab, offered astonishing examples of the success of global crowd-sourcing, especially for data science problems.

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IMPROVING FUNCTION, LOWERING COSTS?
Evidence Grows of Tai Chi’s Benefits, Including for Seniors

Dr. Peter Wayne
Dr. Peter Wayne

It’s surprisingly difficult for anyone to walk and think—let alone chew gum—at the same time. For seniors, walking and mental processes can become even more difficult, with falls and cognitive decline often major fears as well as high public-health burdens. One nondrug complementary approach being studied for healthier, safer aging is tai chi. In a recent NIH lecture, Dr. Peter Wayne discussed the overall evidence on tai chi’s use for medical purposes, as well as some of his team’s studies on its use to prevent falls and protect cognitive function in older people.

Wayne is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, research director for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in Boston, an NIH grantee and a tai chi teacher. He gave his talk as part of NCCIH’s Integrative Medicine Lecture Series.

Tai chi (short for tai chi chuan) comes from various Asian traditions, including the martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine. Wayne described tai chi as a mind and body therapy that’s “multimodal, integrative and ecological,” and, in contrast to most Western medical care, moves toward unifying rather than treating separately the mind and body and the different organ systems.

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