Fail/unFail in health and social care: the OpenCare project joins LOTE5

In January, Edgeryders will be starting a new project, called OpenCare. The vision behind it goes like this: welfare as we know it is broken, squeezed between rising costs and impersonality, if not dehumanisation, of the services provided. OpenCare aims at deploying collective intelligence to design, prototype and evaluate care services by communities, for communities.

If it sounds familiar, it is. This is the typical pattern of acknowledging failure and trying to be constructive (if sometimes radical) and do something about it that permeates the culture of so many dwellers of the edge of societies. It fits perfectly into Living On The Edge 5. So, we in the OpenCare consortium decided to join the LOTE5 effort. We see benefits both for OpenCare and for LOTE5.

OpenCare gets to flex its openness muscle. EU-funded research tends to be organisationally conservative: closed-door meetings, emails, waterfall management architecture, and many, many boxes to tick. In other words, they work like a corporation, plus or minus the evil pointy-haired boss.  OpenCare was written with online open collaboration at its core, so not only we get away with radical openness: we are committed to it. LOTE5 will allow us to run an experiment in openness: have a meeting of the consortium with the doors throw wide open. Anybody who wishes to contribute, learn or teach something is welcome. We call this open meetings.

LOTE5 gets a whole new track, dedicated to failing/unFailing in health and social care. OpenCare has considerable expertise to share. We are planning at least:

  1. One or more sessions on what we call Healthonomics. Why do experts say "health care budgets can never go down, only up"? How can the same MRI cost 1,080$ in the U.S. and 280$ in France? How is it possible that a pill that costs 1$ to produce is sold for 750$, and how can you defend a 5,000% increase in its price? How can maker technology and ethics help?This does sound like, you know, failure on a systemic scale. This part will be led by Erik @Lakomaa (Stockholm School of Economics), @markomanka (CERN), and the crew at WeMake
  2. A hands-on workshop on designing collaborative care services. Organised by the City of Milan and Edgeryders, this will be led by Ezio Manzini, perhaps the world's most senior service designer. 
  3. A hackathon to use network science to understand community-driven care services. We call this format Masters of Networks (yes, we've done it before): the idea is to bring together network scientists and domain experts to study a problem – in this case care services – with a network perspective. Led by Guy @melancon at University of Bordeaux. 

The draft program is online, and we will be updating it as we go. More good things are to come. See you in Brussels.

Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert on