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Next: Oregon Center for Aging and Technology

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Archives - October 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007

 

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Take two and don’t bother calling us in the morning — we already know what you popped and when you popped ’em. And given enough time, your pill-taking habits will also reveal how well you’re holding up as you age. Researchers at the Oregon Center for Aging and Technology — part of Oregon Health & Science University — have developed technology that’s turned the homes of about 300 Portland-area seniors into living laboratories. The goal is to detect changes in human behavior — changes that can indicate memory loss or the onset of an illness. There’s the prototype pill dispenser that tracks when medication is taken and how often. Sensors scattered through a house monitor behavior patterns, how fast someone walks down a hallway or how often a refrigerator is opened. Day-to-day irregularities don’t matter; researchers are looking at long-term changes in patterns that aren’t evident in a routine checkup. What they’ll eventually do is use the nascent technology to develop products that can improve the health of the elderly. So look closely. Time is marching onward and that pill dispenser, with its easy-to-read days of the week, just may hold the secrets to your old age. ABRAHAM HYATT


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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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