Posts Tagged ‘public health’

Drive Review

This book is about motivation . . .

Human beings have an “inherent tenancy to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore, and to learn.” But this third drive was more fragile than the other two; it needed the right environment to survive.

Too many organizations still operate from assumptions about human potential and individual performance that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science. They continue to pursue practices such as short-term incentive plans and pay-for-performance schemes in the face of mounting evidence that such measure usually don’t work and often do harm.

Worse, these practices have infiltrated our schools, where we ply our future workforce with iPods, cash, and pizza coupons to “incentivize” them to learn. Something has gone wrong. There’s been a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. The goal of this book is to repair that breach.

There’s a reason why it took so long for this book to get to me through the library. This engaging and informative book by Dan Pink describes how motivation has change throughout human history. In very early days we had what he calls Motivation 1.0, which came from our survival instincts. Hunt for food, run from those hunting us. This eventually and gradually changed to Motivation 2.0, which is basically the idea of the carrot and stick. We were driven by rewards when we did good things (carrots) and punished for bad things (stick).

However, in the last few years the way we do things have changed, making Motivation 2.0, well, not so motivating. He gives a few examples of some of the trends that have come to being, such as open source (e.g. Wikipedia), for benefit businesses (as opposed to for profit, or not for profit), and jobs that require creativity and no longer requiring repetitious tasks. As these became popular Motivation 2.0 became unproductive, and in some cases, counter productive.

Thus idea Motivation 3.0 came. There are three important elements that Pink describes.

1. Autonomy: to have freedom over what you’re doing. Pink outlines a multitude of examples where people have become much more productive when they have their own control over: what they’re doing (task), how they’re doing it (technique), who they’re doing it with (team), and when they’re doing it (time).

2. Mastery: the desire to get better at something. It’s true that once you have the desire to do something well – and I’m talking about a task, like playing a sport, or writing, or talking to people – you can achieve your goals. There are three components to Mastery. First, is to have the right Mindset, and to know that you don’t need to be a particular type of person to achieve these goals. The second is to endure the Pain, and have perseverance and passion for the long term goal. The third is to remember that it is Asymptote. The asymptote, if you can remember from your high school math classes, is that line on the graph that nearly reaches the axis, but never does. Same goes for reaching Mastery: you almost get there, but you never will. While sounding negative, it’s actually quite a positive thing because it will always give you something to strive towards (and ensures that you never get bored).

3. Purpose: And here’s the key to Mastery, it’s to get better at something that MATTERS. Those who are the most motivated are ones that are working for something that is larger than themselves, leading to a feeling productivity and satisfaction.

I like this book because it relates strongly to Public Health. It challenges the way we do things at work, in education and even the way we exercise. If we are able to get over the mindset of performance equals pay, perhaps we can come up with better solutions to world problems. Further than that, finding the right kind of motivation will lead to a more effective way to learn, so that children can see what is relevant to the world around them.

If you’d like to hear it right from Pink himself, watch his TEDTalk.


Love Food Hate Waste Online Game

July 28, 2012 1 comment

Food waste is one of my biggest pet peeves. I’ve always hated wasting food. Even before I really got into Health Promotion, I usually always opted for getting stuffed so that the food goes to something good (tantalizing my tastebuds, for example) than to contribute to landfills. I could never work in catering!

But since I’ve become more involved with food security issues, (and perhaps because I’m reading the Hunger Games series?) it’s become a much more important issue for me.

Listening to an old episode of Age of Persuasion on CBC, Terry O’Reilly tells me about UK clothing store, Marks & Spencer that has come up with a 5 year initiative to help the earth, called Plan A, because “there is no Plan B.”

Their 5 focuses are climate change, waste, sustainable raw materials, fair partner and health. I decided to focus on waste and ended up playing their game, Love Food Hate Waste.

The game is set up so that you are asked by someone to cook a meal. They tell you what is in it and you cook it using the ingredients in the fridge. The game ends with the garbage is full. Food in the fridge goes to waste after some time if you don’t use it and it adds to the garbage.

My only critique from a gaming standpoint is that it’s not that fun of a game. It takes some time to figure out, and when you’re preparing the food (chopping vegetables, grating cheese, etc.) it’s a little tedious. Plus while you are preparing the food, you are losing other foods that you can’t save. If you add in a wrong ingredient, then the person you made it for doesn’t eat it, adding to your waste.

I think ultimately, you’re not meant to save all the food but it lays in the point that you shouldn’t buy more than you can eat… or you shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew, so to speak. So while it’s not the most fun game in the world, I do love it for the message it sends.

Further, they include excellent tips to help reduce food waste.

Bayshore Park Community Garden

Urgent Evoke Mission 002 Food Security Act:

For the last month or so, I have been volunteering at the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre. One of the projects we have been working on is a community garden in the Bayshore area of Ottawa. I have been doing a variety of administration tasks throughout the month, but the biggest day of all was our build day. It was a hot day, with some breeze, but we managed to build 21 boxes, and with some of the donated sand and soil from Just Food, we were able to fill 3 of them.

Even though by the bus ride home I was so exhausted I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I was really proud of that day. I was proud of what we got done and the effort that everyone put in to improve their community and their lives. On a very personal level, I was also very proud of myself because I expected to but just a follower in our little groups, and I ended up taking on a leadership role. I enjoyed guiding some of the young children, who very much wanted to help out too. Overall, it was a very successful day.

I’m the one on the bottom left in the yellow shirt holding the drill.

To see more photos from the Build Day, please visit my website.


Eduardo Paes: The 4 commandments of cities

May 13, 2012 1 comment


According to Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, a city of the future has to:

1. Be environmentally friendly.

2. Deal with mobility and integration.

3. Be socially integrated.

4. Use technology to be present.


Which commandment most resonates with you?

How can you contribute to any of these commandments?

Are there any you would add?

Urgent Evoke Mission 002 Food Security Learn:

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic
access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs, as well
as to culturally acceptable food preferences for an active and healthy life. As
well, foods are produced as locally as possible, and their production and
distribution are environmentally, socially and economically just.

Definition of Food Security, Just Food.

According to Furthering Food Security in Ottawa, the determinants of food security are cost, access, income, cultural acceptance, food quality, as well as knowledge and understanding of food and nutrition. The groups at risk are ones who are in/have/are: low-income households, minimum wages, social assistance, immigrants, people with disabilities, First Nations, seniors, children, homeless people, and housing issues.

In Ottawa, however, there are solutions and interventions already taking place.

1. Charitable Food Sectors: Includes the Salvation Army, the Boys and Girls Club, Buns in the Oven, Foster Farm Family House, the Good Food Box and the Ottawa Food Bank, just to name a few. For more information on charitable food sectors, click here and here.

2. Government and Non-Government Community Initiatives: Includes community gardens, collective kitchens, breakfast programs. For more information, click here.

3. Increase Promotion of Local Food (Production, Retailers, and Suppliers): Production meaning local farming, and community supported farming. Retailers and Suppliers meaning farmers’s markets, in grocery stores, wholesalers, etc.

4. Community Economic Development (CED): Includes Backyard Bonanza, Co-op Jana, Krackers Katering, and People First Vegetarian Catering Group. For more information on what a CED is and a description of each of these initiatives, click here.


Public Health Poll

April 27, 2012 1 comment


This is just a general poll. The options are broad and can mean different things, so please feel free to leave comments.

Urgent Evoke Mission 001 Social Innovation Imagine:

April 24, 2012 1 comment

When Alchemy calls you in 2020, where will you be?

In 2020, I can see myself teaching a high school level Public Health class. The class would not only cover the basics of fitness and nutrition (the health promotion aspect), but it would cover sexual health, global health, and other important topics that are an interest to the students. It would essentially be a student directed class, where they choose most of the topics, and it would be a way of class discussions, looking at both sides of the spectrum. It would challenge the students to think, act, learn, and perhaps help the students to decide what to do upon graduation.