Postcards from the Future – Scott Klemmer at TEDxSanDiego 2016

Chances are someone in your life has imparted on you the mantra “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

In the world of design, this idea becomes a key aspect of prototypes. In fact, the very definition of prototype is “a first, typical or preliminary model of something, especially a machine, from which other forms are developed or copied.”

So why are prototypes so important to the world of design? According to Scott Klemmer, when you log onto a computer, chances are you’re part of an experiment. Here, designers are trying out different alternatives (or prototypes) to see what works best.

“I call this idea design at large,” said Klemmer, the co-founder and co-director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego. “It’s real world, at scale, and we’re being able to compare alternatives and learn from what we’re finding.”

During his talk at TEDxSanDiego, Klemmer went on to give various examples of prototypes that at first did not succeed, not because the people were necessarily smarter than others around them (although yes, they were really smart), but because they tried lots of things.

So what makes prototypes particularly magical?

“Prototypes instantiate a future that doesn’t exist yet,” said Klemmer. “And what designers do is we time travel just a little bit into the future with our prototypes and once we know what the world is like there we can send back these post cards that give information about what to really make.”

Scott Klemmer Profile

Scott Klemmer on Twitter

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Where Do You Go for Transformation? – Navrina Singh at TEDxSanDiego 2016

A part of Navrina Singh lives in your daily life.

You see, Singh is an engineer – one whom played a part in a development team at Qualcomm that enabled sending data other than voice over wireless networks, which helps run the apps on your smart phone.

“It is truly humbling to know that my life’s work powers your life and your work,” Singh said during her talk at TEDxSanDiego.

It was this very technology – along with her nearly 2-year-old daughter and grandmother – that also transformed the way Singh lives her life today.

It was a moment in time where Singh drew upon what she knew as an engineer and applied those principals to help engineer a self transformation – to close the gap between who she was and who she inspired to be.

In the case of self transformation, how do you analyze and measure how your mind, body and soul are evolving based on the changes you are making every day?

“What helped me was to think of myself of myself like a smart phone,” Singh said. “That each and every day I had an opportunity to release a new version of myself into this world. Each and every day was an opportunity to do over.”

In the end, Singh recognized that self-transformation is a lifelong journey, a work in progress. By giving up the idea that one day she would wake up and be a new person, her life got a new meaning.

Navrina Singh on LinkedIn

Navrina Singh on Twitter

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There’s Nothing More Personal Than Your Genome – Dawn Barry at TEDxSanDiego 2016

“Let’s not just wait for things to break, especially when those things can be the lives of the people we love,” concluded Dawn Barry at the end of her presentation during the TEDxSanDiego’s 2016 event on Oct. 22 at Copley Symphony Hall.

Barry, vice president, Applied Genomics at Illumina, was referring to the power of sequencing the human genome, which in simple terms she described as a code, or instructions for life – the entire collection of one’s DNA.

“Your genome holds the promise to help predict your health,” said Barry. “Your genome is an instruction manual for you, but it’s not your destiny.”

Certain factors such as lifestyle, environment and nutrition can play a role for or against your genome, but is there a way to do better than just react to such health issues as chemo therapy resistant cancer?

Recent technology developed in San Diego allows for entire genomes – once taking 13 years and $3 billion to complete for a single genome – to be sequenced in one day at a cost of about $1,000.

“There is no question that we have improved patient care and even saved lives based on genomics,” Barry said. “We know the technology works, but we don’t know enough yet for it to be applied preventatively, proactively.”

So what’s holding science back from getting ahead of disease?

Simply put, Barry stated the existing sample size is neither large enough, nor diverse enough to be able to be applied preventatively. By engaging the community, Barry said she believes this could help to put the parts and pieces together.

Dawn Barry on LinkedIn

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