Ideas Ahead of Their Time

I’ve been obsessed lately with the idea of adjacent possible, the principle that our minds can only make jumps of a certain size. Adjacent possible is the reason why we didn’t think of flying cars before we invented cars, and the reason why some ideas are considered ahead of their time.
I was out to dinner with my boss recently and we were discussing how we might promote a machine that measures platelet activity in patients with cardiovascular diseases. We were discussing how hot the area is now, and I made the point that I thought we could get press quite easily.

Then she said something I’d never thought about. Many of the patients who could really benefit from the newest technological advances in healthcare are older. They also lack the digital competence (and interest) required to run some of these new health gadgets, meaning some of the greatest technological innovations in healthcare are ahead of their time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing for a second that health 2.0 should slow down. These forward thinking inventions are undeniably important and will likely change the future. But many of these developers in the realm of mHealth will always be designing for an older generation that’s accustomed to technological advances from twenty years ago. With Kurzweil’s idea of exponential advances in technology, this is an idea that may only increase in importance for the future.

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