Thursday, September 27, 2012

Putting the joy in Joy’s Law - Todd Park on collaboration

Joy’s Law of management says that:

“No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.”

Last weekend I was growing despondent over the deluge of partisan political rhetoric generated by the Presidential election process. Then I got cheered up when I heard part of an hour-long radio broadcast of an appearance at the Commonwealth Club that you can either listen to as a podcast or watch as a YouTube video.

Todd Park, who currently is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and had previously been CTO at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), discussed using open data and collaboration to improve health care via the Health Data Initiative. 

Here is a wonderful eight-minute TedMed speech that highlights what’s been going on:

There’s an article from the Feb 19, 2012 Radiology Business Journal with background on this:

“The government, for many years, has made weather data collected by NOAA’s National Weather Service openly available and machine readable, downloadable by anybody for free, without intellectual-property constraint. That has powered a whole host of innovations in the private sector: weather newscasts, weather news sites, weather mobile apps, and other services that have created huge value for the people of the United States.

The government did something similar in the 1980s, when it liberated GPS data, which now fuel everything from foursquare™ to your iPhone to supertanker navigation systems and everything in between. Health Data Initiative is running the same open-data and open-innovation play, but this time, with health-related and health-care–related information that’s been sitting in the vaults of the DHHS and sister agencies.....

There’s a famous law we like to quote that’s really an underlying principle behind the Health Data Initiative. It’s called Joy’s Law, attributed to William (Bill) Joy, the cofounder of Sun Microsystems. He is believed to have said that no matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.

Our corollary to that law is that if you want to maximize national social return on DHHS data, don’t just have the smart DHHS people turn the data into tools that can help people. Have all the other smart people in the world—who vastly outnumber us—access and use the data and turn them into tools that can help people.”

The cartoon physicians were borrowed from here.

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