Race and Maternal Health

LunaYou is a maternal wellbeing program designed to walk alongside women throughout their pregnancy and after their baby is born. Through personal empowerment, we help women find their voice, speak up for themselves, and become their own best health advocate.  Women create a circle of support, have access to trusted spaces among peers, and measure their own wellbeing with a comprehensive wellness dashboard. LunaYou is a wellbeing program where the women take charge.

As we find ourselves in a time of unprecedented uncertainty, we are grateful to all those who contributed to the foundation of the LunaYou model, because we are 100% certain that it was built for this moment.  As soon as the pandemic hit, we effortlessly switched to a virtual experience, and accelerated our plans for scale.

Over the last four weeks, Courtney Lester, LunaYou’s Wellbeing Coach initiated an ongoing conversation about Race and Maternal Health. In a series of four videos, she explores structural racism, implicit bias, microagressions, and the importance of listening to black women and their stories. Science tells us the stress caused by racism leads to poor maternal health outcomes. It is the little day-in and day-out experiences of racial discrimination, not being respected, not being heard, and having your truth be disregarded that adds up to an immeasurable amount of stress on black women.

We invite you to listen to Yolanda, a LunaYou mom, as she talks to Courtney about one of these moments.

As Courtney so wisely puts it, “Listening is something that costs absolutely nothing. It’s saying, “this person knows their body better than we do.”

Courtney adds, “giving women the ability to find their own voice and speak up for themselves is very important, but it doesn’t end there, it’s up to us to listen when women DO speak up for themselves.”

Please honor Yolanda for sharing her story by reading more about her journey — and listening.

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Please subscribe to LunaYou’s YouTube Channel and watch more great content on maternal health.

LunaYou is a self-funded project by the Business Innovation Factory, please help us make this platform available to more women. No donation is too small or too large!


Michael Hawley 1961 – 2020

“I think the best way to look at these moments in life is that they’re a gift, because they give you empathy. They let you know about things that are more important than you realized. That you relate to people in ways that matter the most.”

With a career as a professor, computer programmer, and musician, Michael Hawley shares the very personal story of two miracles on the frontiers of science and medicine, and how they came crashing together.

The first miracle, after 13 years of trying to start a family and countless IVF treatments, Michael and his wife Nina made one last attempt with IVF therapy, and this time it worked. Their son Tycho arrived one month early, and very healthy.

Five months later, Michael would undergo surgery and get diagnosed with aggressive colon cancer. After six weeks of chemotherapy things looked grim, the cancer had spread.

The second miracle, science stepped in again, and gave Michael a second chance with a small, phase two trial, of an immunotherapy drug. The medication seems to be working, and as Michael said, “the scientific road may have risen to meet me in the nick of time.”

Recorded live on October 23, 2019 at the BIF2019: Wellbeing Summit

On Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Michael Hawley passed away from colon cancer. He leaves behind his wife Nina and their son Tycho.

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For the last 15 years, Michael Hawley has curated the Entertainment Gathering, or EG,  a creative conference dedicated to new ideas.

Photo courtesy of:  hahatango


Living in the Middle of Two Cultures

In 1982, a Cambodian refugee couple and their four young children who had escaped the Khmer Rouge, were resettled in Olneyville, a neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island after living in camps in both Thailand and the Philippines. Life was hard and work was difficult to find, but eventually the couple found work as housekeepers at a Marriott Hotel in nearby Massachusetts. They often worked overnight shifts, with their oldest child looking after the others.

Liz was born in 1983, just a year after her parents arrived in the U.S. Her parents had planned to give her up for adoption as they had no idea how they would feed and take care of an infant; a local priest had agreed to adopt the baby. When Liz was born her mother couldn’t let her go, she would keep the baby girl. The understanding priest had one request: that she be named Elizabeth.

Growing Up Fast

The family struggled to make ends meet. Life in the U.S. was not easy for the family or the small Cambodian community that connected them to the culture of their birth. They had to learn a new language, new culture, and a new way of life. Liz, the first in her family to be born in the U.S., assumed a lot of responsibility as a child.  She remembers as a child having to translate what her pediatrician was saying to her mother. Liz started working at 13 during the summers at some of the local jewelry factories who weren’t asking for age and social security number in order to help support her family.

By 1998 Liz was as much an American as a Cambodian feeling the constant pull between the two cultures. Her oldest sister had gotten married and moved out by age 18. Liz, like any other teenager, was hanging out with her friends, and hiding from her parents what she knew they would not approve of her doing.

15 and Pregnant

At age 15 Liz  got pregnant. After the initial shock, her mother was adamant that Liz would bring the baby into this world.  Liz’s familial support was very important during this time as she was caring for herself, her family and her baby.  They did the best they knew how without knowing all of the risks of teenage pregnancy.

On December 17, 1998 Liz’s son was born at full-term, weighing 5lbs 10oz. To this day she remembers kicking everyone out of the delivery room, her mom, her sister, her sister’s husband, and the baby’s father. She said it was chaos, different doctors and nurses coming in constantly, she felt like a science project “the young teenager having a baby.”

Doing the Best for Her Son

Liz dropped out of school after her son was born. She lived at home with her mother for a year and then moved out on her own. She started working part time and attending the Sawyer School in Providence, successfully earning her GED at age 18. Liz’s son is now in college studying computer science.

Despite the stress of growing up in poverty, living in the middle of two cultures, and getting pregnant at 15, not to mention all of the other burdens she has endured along the way, she has persevered. What Liz has is personal agency, the belief that she can take action, be effective, and assume responsibility for those things important to her.

And what is Liz doing now?

Luckily for us at BIF, and the LunaYou program, Liz now works at the Business Innovation Factory. Liz will be serving as the LunaYou Program Coordinator, leading our recruiting efforts as we enroll women in the program, planning our in-person events, and generally providing support, from assisting with the technology to managing complex assignments; she does it all. What I admire most about Liz is that she does not judge others solely by their actions, but considers everything that makes a person unique, she embodies compassion. No judgement and plenty of compassion are in perfect alignment with LunaYou.

Do you have your own birth story you want to share? Liz is a great listener! You can email her at liz@bif.is We will frequently be featuring the stories and diverse voices of women throughout the next 12 months of LunaYou.


Introducing LunaYou

The Business Innovation Factory is thrilled to announce the launch of LunaYou: A Maternal Wellbeing Program Designed For You.  LunaYou offers women the ability to manage risk factors, track their health and wellbeing goals, and access a Wellbeing Coach to help them throughout their pregnancy, and in the first three months after their baby is born. LunaYou encourages women to share their journey with their personal support network and their Wellbeing Coach. Each woman is unique, and deserves personalized support that is both respectful, and culturally sensitive to her individual needs.

By putting each woman at the center of her pregnancy journey, LunaYou focuses on personal power, and creating the confidence needed for the woman to take charge of her pregnancy and have influence over her wellbeing, leading to better maternal health outcomes. BIF will be starting small (what we call a prototype), with just 25 women in 2020. The unique characteristics of a prototype is the ability to model a new system solution on a small scale. One key component that needed to be addressed in the prototype, was the inherent racial bias in the current healthcare system. The stress of experiencing daily racism is causing measurable harm to women and ultimately contributing to poor maternal health outcomes. We intend to model a different experience by catalyzing a micro-culture of racial sensitivity, respect, and honest communication.

How did we get here?

Over the past week I have reflected on my time at BIF and been amazed at my own transformation which has prepared me for this moment.  I have grown from a part-time bookkeeper (with two small kids at home) to an integral, full-time member of the team (with two teenagers at home). Over the past 7 years, I have been excited by many of our projects from afar, mostly from behind a screen, sometimes proofreading, but mostly doing paperwork (my strong suit), and planning our annual summit.  It wasn’t until one of our more recent projects, Teachers for Equity, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that I had actual hands-on project experience. The impact of that project both on me and on the educational community has been astronomical. It began with a few extraordinary leaders, developing communities of practice, who spread the work of equity to students, leadership, communities and beyond – it was amazing to witness the ripple effect and play a small part in that work.

Join Us!

So how does that relate to LunaYou?  Well, we have made a complete pivot at BIF during the last year focusing on our own project with all hands on deck. We have self-funded the first phase of the work and are now raising funds to give us the freedom to truly focus on LunaYou and focus on changing the lives of the women participating. Personally, I feel my past work with BIF has all been leading to this moment: The launch of LunaYou. I am so excited to begin this journey as we have been working on the assets, creating websites, developing an app, building stronger community relationships, recruiting pregnant women and so much more. With our 14 years of experience designing new business models, this is our moment, and 2020 will be our year. We have the first woman recruited and we are ready to begin the program January 1, 2020.  Please join us on our journey!

 


Reflecting on #BIF2019

Our annual BIF Summit has always been magical for me – the planning, seeing the details come together, making sure everyone is checked in at registration and knowing I have played my part in making it happen.  This year it was time for something new – we needed to make a change, a pivot, a transformation. Mid-summer I got a call that the summit was back on – but needed to be different. I was lucky enough to be part of the team to see BIF2019: Wellbeing come together from start to well, I don’t want to say finish because it is an ongoing experience for me.  It has stayed with me not only because the videos are just coming out and we are releasing them, but also because it truly struck a chord with me on multiple layers. This was a focused event on wellbeing – an issue important to all and all that we do.

BIF2019: Wellbeing was a smaller, more interactive event which combined storytelling, networking and co-creation spaces.  This year was a truly unique experience – I left with an action plan on several fronts; I have communicated with a homeless man and formed a connection that was truly personal, shared the wonders of telemedicine with my friends, thought about unwritten rules, reached out to my government leaders about change, thought about struggling well and what that means to different people at different times, and I have turned on quiet music in our home again as it brings a sense of wellness ever present in the background.  I do not claim to be a creative person, but as a family we have created 30-minute blocks of time painting or dancing before dinner as a way to let go of the day. It has been hilarious.

With all of the running around, behind-the-scenes things to take care of during the event, I didn’t get to see every storyteller in real time, but I guarantee I will watch all of the videos and be rejuvenated throughout the year.  I am grateful for everyone’s participation and bringing their best selves to BIF2019: Wellbeing. While still digesting the incredible moments, I am putting together a living document where we can share our reflections and inspirations.  Let’s keep the connections and conversation going! I’d love to hear from you: what was most memorable to you, what was your big take-away? Any photos, graphic notes, or napkin sketches you’d like to share? You can reach me at vguck@bif.is Let’s keep wellbeing on the forefront of our minds!


Reimagining Maternal Health

“To prevent women from dying in childbirth, first stop blaming them. Two-thirds of all U.S. maternal deaths are considered preventable. Racism – not race – is a critical factor.”
-Monica R. McLemore, RN, MPH, PhD

Women in the U.S. are more likely to die in childbirth than any other high income nation This is a social issue, a racial issue, and an economic issue.

BIF has designed a new personalized wellbeing model to improve maternal health and wellbeing outcomes. We believe that if we personalize the experience for the woman, equipping her with the trusted information, support, and tools she needs to lead a healthy pregnancy, her maternal health outcomes will improve.

 

Learn More   ·   get in Touch

Introducing the PMxD Maternal Health Prototype

In the last few months since we shared our Personalized Medicine by Design (PMxD) conceptual business model, we’ve been hard at work evaluating initial health and wellbeing challenges for the Prototype phase of the PMxD design process. One challenge had particular urgency and that is why we have chosen to launch the PMxD Maternal Health Prototype.

PMxD is a transformational business model designed by our founder and Chief Catalyst, Saul Kaplan, that puts individuals at the core of a personalized health and wellbeing experience leading to improved healthcare outcomes. At the heart of the PMxD model, individuals are enabled by four core capabilities: Unleashing Personal Agency, Understanding Patterns of Wellness, Activating Personal Networks of Wellbeing, and Integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The PMxD model has been informed by 70 BIF business model design projects over 14 years in healthcare, education, and social services.

Today we are proud and excited to introduce the PMxD Maternal Health Prototype: A Personalized Wellbeing Model to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes for Black and Brown Women

 

 

We are mobilizing the PMxD Maternal Health Prototype, starting in our home state of Rhode Island, to co-create opportunities with Black and brown pregnant women (25 in the initial prototype cohort) to access the information, practices, and support needed to help them achieve better maternal health outcomes for themselves and their babies. We believe that maternal health outcomes will improve if we center women in the model and focus on wellbeing, provide seamless integration of care when needed, and equip women with what they need for more successful maternal health. In the PMxD Maternal Health Prototype women will be empowered to trust their instincts, and seek help earlier if they experience heart health or mental health warning signs. Ultimately, women will have increased personal agency and confidence to positively influence outcomes within the prototype, and increased equity in care will reduce racial disparities in maternal health outcomes.

We welcome you to follow, engage in, and support our PMxD journey, it’s a collaborative process, and together we can start by improving maternal health outcomes in the U.S. 

Learn More About the PMxD Maternal Health Prototype


Personalized Medicine by Design: Story Cure

Since beginning work on our Personalized Medicine by Design (PMxD) project six months ago, I have been revisiting many of the projects we have completed over the last 14 years. We have seen the same themes emerge time and time again when we explore health and wellbeing for individuals and families. Distrust in the current healthcare system, lack of empathy from providers (ie. not truly being heard), lack of mental health resources, struggling with basic needs (eg. job security, education, access to healthcare, food, and housing), and on the flip side, the power of community to help one another.

In every project we undertake, co-designing with the community is a core principle, PMxD is no different. Our first community visit was in West Philadelphia with host Yolanda Wisher the Curator of Spoken Word at Philadelphia Contemporary. Yolanda created an incredible program called Story Cure, which took place at at the Community Education Center in West Philadelphia. Story Cure featured poetry by Trapeta B. Mayson, story circles for sharing experiences with health care and self-care, and a tea making workshop to nourish the soul.

Nothing prepared me for listening back to the audio of the stories shared. With headphones on (it’s true what they say, that audio is an intimate medium), I heard stories of frustration, pain, self actualization, and healing. The stories were haunting, so raw, and personal. As Trapeta B. Mayson later commented, “it was the work of courageous people”. But, one thing was abundantly clear, the system was not designed for the community it was serving.

Capturing the beauty of the experience, poet Trapeta B. Mayson, who listened as people shared, magically turned prose into poetry and performed “Stories Cure” at the end of the event. Listen in with us, hear for yourself, and honor those who choose to share their voices.

This is Story Cure.


#BIF2019: Wellbeing

Reports of the BIF Summit dying are exaggerated!

In January 2019, we announced that after 14 years of helping institutional leaders make transformation safer and easier to manage, we planned to leverage what we’ve learned, and the transformation tools we’ve created, to pivot toward directly launching new, human-centered personalized business models with patients, students and citizens at their core. We want to increase our impact by directly designing, prototyping and commercializing transformative business models in healthcare, education and public services.

Our BIF pivot is well underway starting in health and wellbeing with the launch of Personalized Medicine by Design #PMxD and our initial prototype focused on an important and urgent design challenge: transforming maternal health outcomes for Black and brown women in our home state of Rhode Island.

As much as we’ve loved hosting every one of our 14 inspiring Collaborative Innovation Summits over the years, we know in our hearts that the BIF Summit has to transform too.

At BIF, we share a core belief that transformation of our most important social systems is about catalyzing the organic emergence of self-organized purposeful networks. Our Summits have always received high grades on the self-organized part as thousands of us over the years have experienced first-hand the strategic importance and inspirational power of storytelling, and enabling random collisions of unusual suspects (making a #RCUS). But in order to increase our collective impact we must add new elements to our Summit experience and community tool kit, we need to get better at making our self-organized networks more purposeful.

Since announcing our BIF pivot we have heard and received an outpouring of encouragement from our community and past Summit attendees. We’re both inspired and amazed by the responses we received since announcing that we’re reimagining the BIF Summit. We clearly hit a nerve! So many of you shared stories with us about the personal impact that engaging in the BIF community and attending our annual Summits have had on you, your organizations and your communities. You made clear to us your hope and expectation that BIF would be back soon with a new improved Summit experience.

We heard you and agree.  The BIF Summit is back!

BIF is proud to present:
#BIF2019: Wellbeing
October 22-24 in Providence, Rhode Island

#BIF2019: Wellbeing combines two BIF superpowers, storytelling and making a #RCUS, with an immersive opportunity for all of us to roll up our sleeves to help design the next practices and new business models that enable individuals and families to take charge of improving their own health and wellbeing. We will not be admiring the challenges of today’s institutionally driven healthcare system, they are well known. Together we will bring BIF-style optimism to imagining a better, more personalized, future. A more inclusive and equitable future that unleashes personal agency, with the information, tools, practices and access to the expertise and resources necessary to improve our own wellbeing.

#BIF2019: Wellbeing will combine an intimate in-person convening at BIF in Providence for 100 participants with an open access platform to engage a larger motivated community remotely and directly in the Summit’s storytelling, conversation and design process. The Summit experience will include a mixture of storytelling, design sprints, share-outs, and networking. Our collective output will help unleash new system solutions to be prototyped in the real world. Summit storytellers and participants will represent a diversity of perspectives, views, identities and experiences across industries, sectors and disciplines. A focus on wellbeing pushes us all to go beyond the usual healthcare suspects and silos to open up new transformative solution horizons and approaches.

Learn More: Schedule, Logistics, and Sign-Up 


Saul Kaplan named Founding Member of The IEEE Fair Trade Data Initiative

The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) is pleased to announce that Founder and Chief Catalyst, Saul Kaplan has been named a Founding Member of The IEEE Fair Trade Data Initiative, a collaboration to develop a standards framework governing the fair trade of human and personal data.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. The Fair Trade Data Initiative is a working group of diverse stakeholders collaborating to create a recommendation for a standard to the IEEE Standards Association intending to help guide consumers, corporations and countries engage in the fair trade of inherent human data.

“It’s an honor and privilege to serve as a Founding Member of the IEEE Fair Trade Data Initiative. In developing global standards for the fair trade of human and personal data, we have the unique opportunity to ensure that the voice of the consumer is at the center of the framework.”  

Initiative Founding Team*:

  • Fahd Beg, Chief Investment Officer at Naspers
  • Dr. Christopher Boone, PhD, Vice President, Global Medical Epidemiology and Big Data Analysis Lead at Pfizer, Inc.
  • Krishna Cheriath, Chief Data Officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Richie Etwaru, Chief Executive Officer at Hu-manity.co
  • Saul Kaplan, Founder and Chief Catalyst at Business Innovation Factory
  • Dr. Jennifer Miller, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine and Founder, Bioethics International
  • Keerthika M. Subramanian, Esq., Corporate and Securities Attorney at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

*All founding team members are acting strictly as individuals and not as representatives of their respective organizations

IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is a leading consensus building organization that nurtures, develops and advances global technologies, through IEEE. Bringing together a broad range of individuals and organizations from a wide range of technical and geographic points of origin to facilitate standards development and standards related collaboration.

To learn more about the initiative, including how to participate, visit:  Fair Trade Data Initiative

 


Introducing BIF’s Design Methodology Playbook

The time has come to be a market maker, not just a share taker. Business model innovation is the new strategic imperative for all organizations. Transformation is not a wait and see game, the road signs for disruption are on the path right in front of us.

Too many either don’t see the obvious signs of disruption or choose to ignore them. We see the competitive landscape through the lens of our own industries and their prevailing dominant business models. Business model innovation isn’t about best practices, it’s about next practices. If you wait for the signs of disruption to appear, it is already too late. The job-to-be-done for institutional leaders is to explore, test, and commercialize next practices and new business models. R&D for new business models is the new strategic imperative.

Since its inception fourteen years ago, Business Innovation Factory (BIF) has been developing and integrating the next practices of human-centered design, rapid prototyping, and storytelling/engagement into all of our client project work. These lynchpin capabilities now enable us to deliver on our value proposition: BIF helps institutional leaders make transformation safer and easier to manage.

I am beyond proud, on behalf of our entire team, to introduce BIF’s Design Methodology Playbook.

BIF's Design Methodology PlaybookWe openly share our playbook to enable more institutional leaders to go from tweaks to transformation. We put everything that we’ve learned about enabling business model innovation, including all of the how-to-guides and tools we’ve developed, into our Design Methodology Playbook. It details each of the 22 steps in BIF’s four-phase (Shift, Conceptual Design, Prototype and Test, Commercialize) Business Model Design Methodology. The playbook clearly describes how we help institutional leaders explore and test what’s next.

We also share our playbook because, at BIF, we believe that our important social systems, including healthcare, education, and public services, are broken and that transformation becomes possible when we share and learn from each other’s approaches, platforms, and tools. That’s how we get better faster, together.

BIF’s Design Methodology Playbook is a work-in-progress; we are always improving and adding to it. By sharing it and learning from each other we collectively get better at enabling transformation.

We live in a time that screams for transformation yet too many institutions are only capable of tweaks. We developed BIF’s Design Methodology Playbook because a growing number of institutional leaders know they need a better approach to innovation. Together, we can make transformation safer and easier to manage.

Your Vision. Our Approach. BIF's Design Methodology Playbook for Download


Teachers 4 Equity

The Student Experience Lab partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to engage teachers in creating and leading local communities of practice focused on issues of equity and closing opportunity and achievement gaps.

Discourse on race and student success has largely revolved around measures of academic performance; however, the achievement gaps noted across racial and cultural lines are indicators of deeper problems: a lack of racial consciousness and the presence of systemic racism.

The current U.S. public school system is built on the beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes valued by white culture. With schools becoming increasingly racially diverse, it is imperative to eliminate the practices and cultural messages that are detrimental to the well-being of students of color and their ability to thrive academically.

Problems stemming from systemic racism often manifest on the classroom level. Racial and cultural disconnects between teachers and administrators and students often lead to miscommunication, disengagement, and disproportionate penalization.

This led us to ask:

How might we transform the values, norms, and practice of the classroom?

How might we activate teachers to change not only what is taught, but how it is taught, how teachers and students engage, and how school communities learn and grow together?

 

BIF is proud to present the work of this year-long endeavor to help education leaders explore, test, and scale next practices and new models, tackling complex, systemic issues through human-centered design and rapid prototyping.

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