Last year I was fortunate enough to be at Health Foo, an intimate powwow of some amazing folks (Foo stands for friends of O’Reilly). Structured as an unconference on the campus of the Microsoft Research Center in Cambridge, health foo brings together some of health care’s most progressive thinkers for a weekend of collaborative thinking. The meeting was generously cosponsored by O’Reilly Media and the RWJF Pioneer Fund.
Key Health Foo elements:
- No hierarchy. Even though the tables are square, everyone knows they’re round.
- Anyone can speak. You check your ego at the door.
- Lots of time to visit and think. We all need more time to visit and think.
And we need more FOO. Our idea of the medical meeting has become perverted. Top down, locked agendas create nothing more than a forum for tired speakers operating in a 19th century format. These serve better as an antidote for insomnia than the unleashing of real ideas.
A medical foo would be nice. A small group of motivated leaders from remote corners of medicine and beyond the ivory tower with different aspirations skills and passions, thinking and doing around medicine and medical education.
Tim O’Reilly always suggested that he does his best work when centered on big ideas. Medicine needs big ideas. Medicine needs some Foo.
Image by Health Foo alum Ted Eytan.