Using VR in Hospital Treatments

Virtual Reality to Reduce Pain for Hospitalized Children

The VR technology enables pediatricians at children’s hospitals and healthcare facilities in the US to use the headsets as a procedural tool for critically ill young patients, primarily to reduce anxiety during mild to moderately painful procedures. By using VR as a calming distraction, several patients have been able to undergo these procedures whilst awake, cutting down lengthy recovery times, and reducing the need for medication. Lenovo Collaboration with Starlight Children’s Foundation® Shows how technology and hope can positively impact kids’ health to alleviate pain for young patients.

By using VR as a calming distraction, several patients have been able to undergo these procedures whilst awake, cutting down lengthy recovery times, and reducing the need for medication.

Improving the quality of life of hospitalized children

Due to the distressing nature of treatments such as a lumbar puncture, where a needle is used to withdraw spinal fluid and sometimes administer medication, our patients often receive the procedure under general anesthetic. Virtual Reality can be used in place of general anesthesia to help tolerate pain, and in fact, it is having a profound impact on the quality of life of our hospitalized children. We are seeing children who used to require general anesthesia, now able to be fully awake with minimal medications.”  Joe Albietz, MD, Medical Director at Child Life, Children’s Hospital Colorado

Digital Approach of Mental health during COVID-19

Since the pandemic started, social interactions have been limited, with authorities setting the maximum number of people in a group, in some cases imposing curfews. This all means that young individuals are subject to an increased risk of anxiety, social withdrawal, loneliness. Support groups and face-to-face services have been canceled, and many patients experienced relapses in mental conditions due to disruptions in school routines, which may serve as coping mechanisms. Children and adolescents have engaged with digital technologies so in many ways virtual reality therapy could be integrated to treat current mental health-related issues mentioned above.

Immersive VR to support mental health treatment

Virtual Reality therapy to treat anxiety, phobias, depression, stress, PTSD, and several mental health-related traumas. VR exposure therapy provides the opportunity for mental health professionals to not only reproduce real-life scenarios but also to adapt and control these environments to suit patients’ needs. This technology approach allows mental health professionals to evaluate, identify, and apply intervention protocols on patients’ fears and anxieties, in some cases showing quicker improvements, increasing the commitment to the therapy.

Watch the Stories

Programs that aim to integrate VR with traditional therapy techniques, improve the quality of hospitalized children and help with trauma.


Transforming Anxiety into Creative Energy

Fast-paced enviroment, calendars max-out with meetings, full inbox, and 4pm calls leave us with very little time for strategic activities. Even the best jobs and the best teams experience this pressure in one form or another. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier we feel we have no time to accomplish what is important to us and also to the organization advance. A week goes too fast and too furious.

Time constraints can get the better of you, and this anxiety bleeds over into how we interact with people. We want to inspire our team, but we literally don’t have the time.  How can we find the precious balance, be a good leader and still get things done? The answer maybe a bit hidden in between of meetings and dayly routine.

Small moments, big opportunities

Every day is a combination of smaller moments. So if we take those moments apart,  into smaller, more manageable situations we can make more sense of our busy schedule. With this deconstruction process we can take any situation apart and then assemble it back together in new and unexpected ways (my partner specializes in fashion pattern deconstruction and was the inspiration for this idea). Elements on a situation may have been intermingled and the way you deal with one will impact on other parts of the problem. 

How we use the small moments and brief interaction in our day? Small gestures and invisible situations can bring out the best leadership inspiration. We cannot fix everything, but we can make a difference. It makes me think of the small pebble creating big ripples in the water. I dont think even the pebble knows what is creating behind. Leading and inspiring is something you get better with practice and its done in step by step.

The first thing is to identify what these small moments in our everyday conversations and interactions at work, and even at home. We are too busy to take time but with little attention you’ll see them very clear as Neo sees the ‘Matrix’. You can seize a small moment into a learning opportunity.

Finding the ‘smaller parts’ can be a challenge, but once you identify this, everything becomes much easier and more productive.

Making space in our busy schedule is a challenge, but this terraforming creates an opportunity to growt and a vibrant playground for talent to make better products and services. Creativity is an energy and whether you realize it or not, you emit and receive energy. We have an electromagnetic field in which creative energy flows naturally, but when the polarity is disrupted our team creative energy system is affected. Is vital to pay attention, because is subtle but escalate quickly.

Become a power converter that change anxiety into creative energy

One of our focus, besides deadlines, meetings and product development is to motivate team members to grow, encourage intelligent dialogue, infuse confidence, and empowering the reach their best of their skills.Everything we do is fueled by it and foster creative energy is vital to the team and the work.  

Find quick opportunities to grow a creative playground

  • Don’t try to solve the problem, listen first.

  • Create a space for dialogue and growth.

  • Give specific, constructive feedback.

  • Take time to know people.

Don’t try to solve the problem…first listen: When someone comes to you for help, we rush giving people suggestions when they ask for help. Ask them what they think would be a good solution and then create a space to implement it or try it out. By this, the team member can develop ownership of the solution, as they learn how to seize the opportunity and make a change.

Create space for dialogue and growth: People are afraid to admit a mistake because of the consequences, understandable. But when someone comes and says, “I think I made a mistake.” Don’t jump at it with all your artillery. Create an environment for growth and show them you trust them, even when there’s a mistake in the middle. We all make mistakes, remember. Think about the time you screwed-up and how you’d liked to be treated. This is a critical moment, especially in the process of innovation where failure is essential to the exploration process.

Give specific, constructive feedback: Concentrate on positive and specific suggestions on the situation and behavior. Not the person. Kindness and accuracy are important. Finally, what was the impact of the conflict or situation? Feedback is not criticism or praise, it is about observation. It’s timely and specific. It describes but doesn’t judge, and brings an understanding of the situation or issue. It’s one of the simplest yet most effective ways to develop others, creating a pattern of learning and growth.

Take time to know people: teams are made of people, personalities and attitudes. Recognize the diffences and look for ways to connect similar interest. A quick ”How are you, how’s everything? can open up a dialogue. Kindness is never out of fashion, and a bit of empathy can overcome frustrations and give you understanding on and how to offer support. It’s about build connections to inspire growth. Especially with creative teams, artists, designers, developers, well…everyone. Strive for authenticity, not perfection. Remember that conversation is with people, not to people.

Photo by Curtis MacNewton on Unsplash

How "3D Culture" changed storytelling

3D Culture: a new perspective of life

Three-dimensional experiences can be traced to the early 1900s, experimenting with 3D-filmmaking. Around the same time, the concept of “Culture” as we know it now, started to shape up. Both disciplines were trying to create a vivid representation of an object, a situation or behavior in order to understand it. Scientists use mathematics or physics, while anthropologists use social concepts. More than 100 years passed already and we still trying to figure things out.

Virtual reality, 3D experiences, and three-dimensional selfies are part of the normal, so it’s organic to think about culture in a three-dimensional way, or what I like to call, 3D Culture. Borrowing from concepts from 3D modeling, we could say that it’s possible to create a model of an object (situation/moment). We should be talking about a “multiverse” approach, but let’s move in little steps. I worked plenty with 3D artists, XD designers and collaborated with researchers and analysts on multicultural projects, so inadvertently I became a 3D Cultural Analyst, rendering situations into models, creating a mental sculpture to have a 360 understanding. We model culture using our own algorithms (thoughts and perceptions) shape and texture our objects (experiences) and look at it from many angles (situations). Don’t worry if this doesn’t make sense, keep reading, we are almost there.

Our brain is an organic 3D living scanner, we collect information and data from many sources. We model situations, ideas, actions and behaviours based on new input and within our own archives and mental 3D library of emotions, thoughts, memories, sounds, smells and flavors. We give this objects meaning through texture mapping and create high poly experiences. The result is a beautiful, amazing 3D model of who we are and how we see the world. All in real-time.

This mentally interactive, three-dimensional cultural model reflects and shapes our story and how we behave, on a daily basis. Our ideas, thoughts and beliefs, even the music we listen, the food we like or the books we read are part of our 3D cultural model, shaping our identity and framework to our ‘why we do things the way we do’. And it’s passed down from one generation to the next one.

Culture is wide and filled with many layers, and naturally we tend to simplify things pre-modeled objects, royalty free-ideas of what something means. Words come with a significant amount of conceptual baggage. For example, think of the word “Argentina”. Did your mind conjured images of tango, gauchos and delicious steak?…and what about California…Hollywood and golden beaches? or India (colorful dances, spicy food and Ganesha). Or in reverse, the words ‘fiesta’, ‘nachos’ and ‘5 de mayo’ in a single phrase invoques the idea of Mexico. So wrong on many levels. The reality is that words convey powerful notions of “Argentinean” or “Indian” qualities. How people dress and eat is just part of it, and really a very small indicator of all the symbols, traits, diversity and depth that each amazing and unique culture. Also, culture exists beyond its ‘Wikipedia’ country description. Office buildings, universities, shopping markets, public transportation, coffee shops, anywhere people interact and share the same language, slang, interests and values creates culture: a subculture. They can be united by a music style, a game or a concept, food or sports, uniting complete strangers from around the globed, with opposite cultural into a single hearted vision.

Spoiler Alert!  you can’t design for everyone.

But we can focus on a subculture and inspire culture from the inside-out, enabling ambassadors. This shift build space for growth, mixing innovation and design with relevant insights into the deeper layers of cultural behavior. Its an opportunity reinvent and a vibrant playground for talent to make better products and services.

 

People are people no matter which country you are, and you’ll find interests and tastes as diverse as their inhabitants. From gender identification, tradition, decision-making process and concepts of self. We could try to isolate subcultures using this parameters. Spoiler Alert!  you can’t design for a whole culture. Appealing to everyone is a waist of resources and time. What we can is to focus on a subculture, inspiring culture from the inside-out as ambassadors. Become and real influencer. A 3D cultural approach allows us to take a fresh look into situations from various directions and views -like a 3D camera moving around a virtual scenario-. so we can identify opportunities and challenges and had a quick understanding without investing much time. 

Subcultures thrive within culture and sharing similar values, beliefs or behaviors, but “updated” to reflect their current life experience. Happens a lot with expats for example, were we adapt our ‘mother-culture’ re-significating to continue cultural survival and cultural evolution. “Tex-Mex”, “Chinese-American” “Techno-Jazz” “Newyorican” are everyday simple examples. You can be Argentinian, speak spanish at home, polish with friends, and english at work Italian father and Argentine mother, raised in Buenos Aires, lived in the US half your life and living in Poland. That’s my crazy 3D cultural model.

3D cultural models are a multi-method approach using traditional tools, ethnographic observation, media investigation, data research, social behaviours and sub-cultural pointers to create a playground to analyse key and relevant findings. highlighted by cultural heritage, geographic momentum and social influences to generate a valuable framework to capitalise cultural-data opening new avenues for further research under the cultural-technological evolution umbrella. 3D cultural modelling gives flexibility to change angles quicker without re-formulating the scene, can easily help us calculate effects and behaviours, and get a subculture estimate with a 360 experience perception. This is not overriding classic techniques but a supportive framework to play with those variables, a view of the world through multiple lenses, from the individual to the collective, creating a storytelling that empowers, encourages and represents people transcending time, culture and language, and finally understanding that diversity is the one true thing we have in common.


Creating a team identity.

Creating a team identity beyond language.

Audiences and markets have become globalized and teams have grown to an amazing ecosystem of culturally diverse talents, inspiring brands across the globe with unlimited growth opportunity and fresh perspectives. We have offshore teams with copywriters and designers in London, development & QC in Buenos Aires, software engineers in Chennai and marketing teams in NYC. Maybe your campus in Prague has members from different nationalities.

Inspiring and managing teams is a wonderful challenge, and with team members from different countries and different cultural backgrounds and languages, it requires also a fresh and diverse perspective as their teams itself. Wherever your team is in one office or globally dispersed, they are expected to deliver their best performance, creativity, and unique point of view into the game. So, how do we leverage, support and inspire such a diverse workforce?

Language and cultural differences.

One of the key components of every collaborative relationship is trust, and open communication among team members is key. Language proficiency is a challenge and can undermine trust between its members. Colleagues with different levels of proficiency could be perceived as less communicative or reliable, undermining healthy trust-building in each other’s abilities and skills. It is crucial to find ways to transform these differences, into creative energy. It’s important to explore those differences so we know how to interact and grow as a group.

A way to encourage this understanding of diversity is to create unstructured moments, not necessarily 'a meeting'- where everyone can share their cultural background and expectations about communication and working style. The team gets to learn more about each other by listening, sharing and asking questions and sharing about their backgrounds, even to learn what kind of food they like, or learn a traditional recipe from your home. It's amazing when teams discover that we are not that different after all.

Teams experience a lot of pressure, and members of multi-language teams frequently relieve stress by switching into their native tongue, inadvertently excluding other teammates from their conversations. We need to reverse language barriers and communication anxiety by encouraging open dialogue in teams as a whole, creating a "team identity" equipped with amazing different strengths and unique backgrounds, united in one vision. Like a team of superheroes.

Reducing language gap

The success and strength of every multi-national team reside in one basic -but rather complex- aspect: communicationHow can you measure the degree of language connection among team members? When people come from similar nationalities, the level of 'language distance' is usually low. Even if they come from different backgrounds, people can interact formally and informally, align, and build trust. They arrive at a common understanding of what certain behaviors mean, and they feel close and congenial, which fosters good teamwork.

Coworkers who are geographically separated, or come from different countries and cultures, could experience some kind of language anxiety that could prevent interactions. This originates from the inability to communicate, missing information and/or negative evaluation. This negative dynamics reduce team performance, and especially for creatives, artist, and designers, where creative energy, collaborative expression, and multi-team interaction is vital.

Creating a team identity

In a team, is important that everyone gets enough speaking time, and that everyone knows what they’re working toward. What’s our vision and why we are doing what we do. Bringing everyone around common goals and a unified vision is key. I can not stress this more! as evident it may seem, this is poorly done, and team members spot it quickly when is fake. Is has to be an honest take, not a speech. That's why you need to know the brand, the clients, the team, the story. You need to be the first one to believe it to be able to inspire it. Highlighting the importance of each diverse skill in your team will level up the group dynamics, and also how much value the team is contributing to the success of the service, product or brand. Be open about the unique appreciation for everyone’s input and encourage meta-communication. Each particular story amounts to create a more solid, trustworthy and collaborative team.

Bringing everyone around a unified vision is key. Its has to be an honest take, not a speech. That's why you need to know the brand, the clients, the team, the story. You need to be the first one to believe it to be able to inspire it.

Break down your common goal into actionable steps and outline each individual’s role and responsibilities. This reduces the chance of misunderstandings and lets everyone know that their contribution matters. Clarity of each team member’s contribution also makes it easier to address team performance as a whole. It sets expectations for what needs to be done, by who and when.

Building a team identity also entails finding common things between team members. Make space in your working day to promote team interactions, to get to appreciate each other team members. Perhaps there are teammates who share the same taste in movies, music or TV shows. Some may bond over hobbies or share information about their families, etc. Personal connections within the team make it easier to work together, trust and have a solid team identity.

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To be continued…