Be Well Lead Well® is committed to advancing the consciousness and capabilities for more inclusive, well, and wiser leadership. In support of these efforts, Be Well Lead Well® Director and Wisdom Works CEO, Renee Moorefield curates monthly content and resources for The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease, an initiative of the Global Wellness Institute. The goal: to bring together global wellness enthusiasts, from scientists and educators to health experts and business leaders, to eradicate preventable disease worldwide.
Each month, Renee explores wellbeing leadership through the themes of The Wellness Moonshot Calendar. Below is an excerpt from November’s Theme: REVIEW
November 2022 | REVIEW
CAN TECH SCALE WELLNESS FOR ALL?
That’s the question I was most intrigued to ask Nichol Bradford as part of The Wellness Moonshot initiative’s audacious mission to create a world free of preventable disease. Nichol is cofounder of both the Transformative Technology Lab and the human potential investment company Niremia Collective. Consequently, she is uniquely suited to provide a review of the mushrooming tech industry—from AI and robotics to sensors and synthetic biology—as applied to human health and development.
According to Nichol, part of tech’s appeal is that it makes what is scarce abundant; tech drives down cost, causing wellness content, education, tools, and treatments to become more affordable and accessible. And consider the profound ways tech now affects how we work, shop, relate, learn, and play! During the pandemic, we learned to use it for every facet of our lives. Because of this, Nichol believes society is ready for tech to be powerfully integrated across the continuum of human wellbeing—from alleviating our suffering to improving our mental, emotional, and physical health to deepening our capacity to thrive. She sees tech as part of lifting our focus from lifespan to healthspan, a transformative shift that will reshape our mindsets, innovations, sciences, and cultural norms.
A few examples of tech’s potential to amplify wellbeing? As we witness a tidal wave of pandemic-related mental health issues, tech is helping people rewrite how mental health and wellness is delivered to population subgroups, for instance, the Black community in the USA. The growing field of positive tech is empowering individuals to strengthen their emotional intelligence, develop themselves more fully as whole human beings at work, and grow healthy connections and trust in their teams and partnerships—key components to flourishing in our now fluid and remote work environments and to making work more human. And Nichol believes tech will help us better leverage our biology, such as our embodied and extended cognition, to deepen our self-understanding and evolve as human beings.
Nichol is recognized as one of the most senior African American women in video games, in her case, as former operations leader for the renowned World of Warcraft in China. In the below video, Nichol shares her excitement for how digital games and the metaverse can be used as tools of our positive transformation and wellbeing at scale.
WELLNESS TECH AT SCALE: A LOOMING CONCERN
Currently, Nichol’s greatest concern with wellness tech is data ethics. As technologies grow our ability to monitor, intervene, and influence processes of our brains and bodies, a big question is: How is our individual and collective data being managed and used? For instance, while a person’s medical data may be covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the USA, the same person’s data collected through wearables (e.g., fitness and sleep trackers) are not necessarily safeguarded. When it comes to neurodata and biodata, Nichol believes we need an ethical framework that balances the drive for innovation with protection, plus provides the ability for people to own their data and tag it as public, private, or for sale. She shares areas of the world that are actively passing neurodata and biodata guidelines and laws, along with the implications for doing so.
Listen to Renee and Nichol discuss how tech can support positive transformation and wellbeing at scale, as well as how to care for and protect the data being collected.
Photo credits: Global Wellness Summit and Julien Tromeur via Unsplash