Our recent pivot from video game developer to market maker has lots of ramifications. Remember our motive was to match the speed and scale of operations with the opportunity that lies before us. Yet the more we think about it, the more we realize that the pivot changes everything. It re-frames us as a My Space of wellness.
Chris Anderson has a word for this: democratization. “Transformative change happens when industries democratize, when they’re ripped from the sole domain of companies, governments, and other institutions and handed over to regular folks.”
What industry are we aiming to democratize? What’s being handed over, and to whom?
The industries that matter to us are entertainment, education, and health. Thanks to thousands of companies like YouTube and Wikipedia, the first two of those industries have already been democratized. Not health though.
The health industry is not a democracy, but a syndicate of institutions (clinics, providers, payers, manufacturers, universities, agencies). The customers of this syndicate are not consumers or patients, but fellow institutions. This partly explains why consumers feel that health care is costly and dysfunctional while institutions keep increasing the costs and chaos.
A “market for health literacy” is what we’ve always said about Humaginarium, only greater. It’s where communities of interest get the health education they want, in the ways they want and can use it, from as many “teachers” as there are points of view. By teacher we mean experts with scientific and medical proficiency, and communicators with artistic talent; and we also mean peers who have learned from the greatest teacher of all: personal experience. The market we make is where “regular folks” enjoy and learn from others; and co-create insights with others; and endow others including experts with the gift of their own knowledge and perspective.
Chris Anderson goes on to observe that “We all have our own needs, our own expertise, our own ideas. If we are all empowered to use tools to meet those needs, or modify them with our own ideas, we will collectively find the full range of what a tool can do.”
The tools of Humaginarium are collectively known as health literacy. There’s no central store or world market for these tools that speaks in the vernacular of regular folks rather than the jargon of institutions. At least, there hasn’t been until now. Stand back, we hear the rumble of Shadowfax approaching!