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Innovation Hub


Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.

Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.


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Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.




The Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine

The headlines have been full of the latest “breakthroughs” in efforts to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, and markets have even reacted to all the twists and turns in recent weeks. Although he understands the desire for any positive news in the midst of a deadly pandemic, Michael Kinch, associate vice chancellor and director of the Center for Research Innovation in Biotechnology at Washington University in St. Louis, is keen to temper expectations about a vaccine. He notes that the...


Motown: The History Of A Hit Factory

Shortly after Michael Jackson died in 2009, Helen Brown, a music critic for the Daily Telegraph wrote that the Jackson 5’s 1969 single “I Want You Back,” is “certainly the fastest man-made route to pure joy.” And while Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Jackie may have stolen the spotlight, the group - like so many others - emerged from a hit factory created by a man named Berry Gordy Jr. Gordy founded Motown after stints as a boxer and as a worker in a Lincoln-Mercury plant. And he...


Fixing Broken Hearts

From updates about the availability of ventilators in our states to watching each other anxiously for even the hint of a cough, we’ve put a lot of focus on the health of our lungs recently. There’s another factor that we might have been overlooking in all this though: your heart is at stake, too. Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, the director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and author of Heart: A History, takes a look at some of the unseen ways that we influence our...


The Great Reopening

In the midst of a pandemic, governors around the country have been reopening local economies and causing concern for many health experts, including members of the White House coronavirus task force who testified before a Senate committee this week. Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota has long warned about the risk of pandemics. He calls the effort to reopen a “hodgepodge,” though he believes remaining locked...


The Slow Burn of a Long Term Slowdown

Our world is fast, and, while it may feel that it’s always getting faster, we’re actually slowing down in a lot of ways. That’s according to Danny Dorling, a professor of geography at Oxford University and author of Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration – and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives. He says that, even before this pandemic, there was a global slowdown in population, in technological advancement, and in the economy.


The Value of a Human Life

Governors in some states have taken steps to begin reopening businesses in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Any easing of social distancing measures inevitably leads to uncomfortable conversations about the value of human life versus economic prosperity. Those types of conversations are nothing new, according to Howard Steven Friedman, a statistician and health economist at Columbia University. He says people have long calculated how much human lives are worth, including those working...


Global Risks of a Global Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has been compared to the Great Depression and the Second World War, in terms of the threat it poses to democracy. Geopolitical risk analyst Ian Bremmer doesn’t think the crisis will usher in a new world order, but he believes it will intensify and speed up trends that many have worried about for years. Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, discusses the impact of COVID-19 on global inequality, segregated societies, global leadership, our dependence on...


A Path Out Of A Pandemic

After weeks and weeks of millions of people sheltering-in-place across the country because of COVID-19, there is talk of possibly reopening parts of the economy. Still, many public health experts insist the right conditions need to be created before we can begin to find a path back to life as we once knew it. Yonatan Grad, assistant professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, is one of a growing chorus of voices calling for a dramatic...


What You Don’t Know About George Washington

He’s on our money, our capital is named after him and he’s even in our extremely weird car ads. But how much do you really know about statesman, general, farmer, slave master, husband, stepfather, and first President of the United States George Washington? According to Alexis Coe, author of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, probably not as much as you might think. Coe walks us through the surprising life of the man on the one dollar bill.


The Economics of a Global Emergency

Everybody, in one way or another, is being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. From our health to our social lives, so much has changed so quickly. However, the crisis is hitting some Americans harder than others. Estimates are that America's unemployment rate is currently in the teens (and potentially headed higher), and there has been a record number of unemployment benefit claims during the past month. According to David Autor, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT and co-chair of the MIT...


Science for Sale

Undermining science, by sowing seeds of doubt, has become standard operating procedure for corporations that produce products which may be harmful to our health. That’s according to David Michaels, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health. He says tobacco companies developed the playbook on how to question science, in order to fight government regulations. But their tactics have been imitated by plenty of other industries, from alcohol to fossil fuel to the...


A Modern Mayflower: Autonomous Driving Takes to the Water

This year marks four centuries since the Mayflower’s historic voyage from Plymouth, England to Plymouth Rock. To commemorate the journey, amid proposals to build a replica, a different sort of idea rose to the surface: sailing an unmanned ship along the same route that the Mayflower took. Brett Phaneuf, director of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project, discusses how the project took off, and what it could mean for the future of the shipping industry and our understanding of the oceans.


Understanding Why Neighborhoods Matter

Breaking persistent cycles of poverty may seem an impossible task, but the findings of a landmark government social experiment tell a different story. Back in the mid-1990s, a program called “Moving to Opportunity” gave some families, living in troubled public housing projects in five large cities, vouchers and additional assistance to move away to low-poverty neighborhoods. Lawrence Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard University and the principal investigator of the long-term...


Using Less and Getting More

It often feels like trash is piling up all around us, and that our consumption habits have put us on the road to environmental disaster. Just take a look at recycling bins stacked high with Amazon boxes and takeout containers. But research shows that we’re actually using fewer resources than we were 25 years ago, a process called “dematerialization.” That’s according to Andrew McAfee, the Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the...


Tools To Fight A Pandemic

After the devastating Ebola virus outbreak beginning in 2014, several public health experts predicted that a pandemic of some kind lay ahead – it was not a case of if, but when. Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and professor of Global Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was one of those people. He even taught a course about what it would take to prevent the next major infectious disease outbreak. Jha says we have the tools at our disposal to...


How The Coronavirus Will Shape Our Cities

City life has, mostly, slowed to a standstill. Madison Square Garden isn’t hosting basketball games. You can’t grab a drink at the bar around the corner. Great public spaces - the Spanish Steps, Times Square, Las Ramblas - are empty. This situation won’t go on forever, of course. But the coronavirus pandemic will leave a permanent mark on our cities. That’s according to Richard Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and co-founder of the website CityLab. He...


The Advantage Of Being A Generalist

Should you be the best at one skill, or be pretty good at a bunch of different ones? David Epstein, the author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, says that practicing one skill for 10,000 hours (as some have suggested) might not necessarily set you up to be the next Tiger Woods or the next chess grandmaster. But in a world where we’re constantly encountering new experiences, Epstein believes that the ability to take knowledge from one situation and apply it to another,...


WiFi-Equipped Plants Need No Green Thumb

By 2050, almost 10 billion people are expected to be living on planet Earth, and most of them will reside in urban areas. Some experts say we will need to take advantage of everything in our agricultural arsenal to feed all those mouths. Could a technology-based method of growing veggies and herbs inside the home be part of the solution? Innovation Hub’s senior producer, Elizabeth Ross, reports on a relatively new approach to growing food which has its roots in outer space.


Striking While the Hand is Hot

You might not think that a simulation meant for kids could change how something plays out in real life, but in the 1990s, the arcade game NBA Jam did exactly that. One feature of the game allowed players to be “on fire.” The more a player scored, the higher chance he or she had of scoring again. Fast forward to today and you can’t escape the concept of a hot streak, or a “hot hand”' as it’s called in basketball. Athletes swear by it, even refusing to touch another player’s “hot” hand. But...


The Real Cost of Expensive Housing

Picking up and moving to new opportunities has always been a part of the American dream. But, says Tamim Bayoumi, a deputy director at the International Monetary Fund and a co-author of the paper “Stranded! How Rising Inequality Suppressed US Migration and Hurt Those Left Behind,” that narrative has shifted in modern America. As well-paying jobs are increasingly concentrated in cities with high living costs, some Americans find themselves unable to pursue the careers that could most help...