Someone had to start The Swellness Movement. Who?The Swellness Movement is the brainchild of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc. (WEB), one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms. WEB’s team identifies and tracks social, economic, political, technological, demographic and environmental trends, and analyzes the strategic implications of those trends for clients and audiences that range from national governments to Fortune 500 companies.
Futurists? Interesting. What is their experience? And what have they seen happen?The founders of WEB, Edie Weiner and Arnold Brown, created systematic futures research for business over 40 years ago. There, and for decades after, they and the rest of the team have been studying the constantly unfolding chaos in the health care arena – from pricing to performance to structure to process. Based on years of experience, we know that:
- There was and is no shortage of crises.
- There was and is no shortage of things that need fixing.
- There was and is no shortage of projections about the future of
health and medicine.
How do you go “beyond wellness?” What could that look like?Our imagining began as we tried to picture a future hospital room. Rather than seeing a lot of monitoring technology and equipment in the room, our ideas took us instead to the patient immersed in a virtual reality environment – horseback riding or whitewater rafting, or conducting the Philharmonic. We know that people heal better in nature. We know we feel less pain when we are engulfed in a world of joy. We know that the doctors, nurses and technicians could come into our virtual world to speak, poke or take our temperature. We would never have to come out into the hospital until we’re ready to leave.
So, who got excited about this potential future?This provocative idea excited some of WEB’s health-related clients. They prompted WEB to expand on this imagination journey. We began by getting a group of thinkers, practitioners, designers and clients together, hosted by GE at 30 Rock.
Did this group help give birth to The Swellness Movement?Yes. We created an outline of some of the many areas we could imagine around. This list included topics like light and sound frequencies and vibrations, sleep, love, stress, art, nature, etc. We then asked 3 questions of the group:
- You know what a planetarium and an aquarium are. What would a ‘medicarium’ be?
- What if you checked into a spaspital instead of a hospital?
- What if instead of focusing on being well we focused on being swell?
A journey? Explain.We are embarking on a journey to create a space/effort with no other responsibility than to imagine and to give those imaginings to the world. Our mission is to encourage the members of our group and others to start new businesses around wholly new thinking. All with the goal of enhancing human ‘swell-being.’
Imagination as the cornerstone. Very cool. What does The Swellness Movement seek to reimagine?We seek to reimagine what could be if well-being (and ultimately swell-being) was understood for the first time in the 21st century, without the baggage of all that has come before. This effort is in no way intended to fix the current systems of health delivery, but imagine beyond those systems. The focus is also not intended to dive into the arenas of genetic engineering, or supplemental nutrition, or computerized record-keeping, or payment systems, or pharmaceuticals, or policymaking. It is purely about the living being and its relation to all those things that keep it well which have been unknown, ignored or not imagined – up until now. Embracing both cross-cultural and individual differences, the Swellness Movement goes beyond “wellness” and works to understand and innovate in the following areas, among others:
- Integration of brain, mind, body and anything considered soul and/or spirit;
- Elevation of joyful and nourishing experiences to a value proposition in all manner of interface; and
- The provision of respect and dignity throughout one's life – both in circumstances of sickness and in health. Those are 3 important areas. How do you work to innovate in them?
- Reaching back into history and scanning the future horizon for proven but not mainstream research, knowledge and applications that enhance all of the above;
- Imagining the commercial possibilities inherent in all the above; and
- Freely sharing that imagining with the goal of seeing many of these ideas become commercially successful and flourish in the “swell-being” marketplace of the near-future.