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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.


Boston, MA






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.




To Understand Risk - Play Poker

These days, it feels like everyone is thinking about risk. Is it a good idea to travel by airplane? Is it OK to visit parents? Is it safe to go to a park? But if you want to truly understand risk, it might be a good idea to turn to an unlikely source… poker. That’s according to Maria Konnikova, a journalist and author of the book The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned To Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win. In writing the book, Konnikova set out to discover what poker can teach us about...


Tipping the Scales: When America Started Moralizing Food

It was once a virtue to have some excess weight, kids weren’t considered picky eaters, and the term “overweight” didn’t even exist. What changed? Helen Zoe Veit, an associate professor of history at Michigan State University, and author of “Modern Food, Moral Food: Self-Control, Science, and the Rise of Modern American Eating in the Early Twentieth Century,” joined us to talk about how America began to moralize the food that we eat — or don’t eat.


COVID-19’s Crisis of Care Costs Working Mothers

COVID-19 has dramatically changed the lives of millions of families, with some parents losing their jobs while others struggle to keep them. For working parents, careers are competing now, more than ever, with another pressing responsibility—caring for their children. Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, explains how the burden of childcare during COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on women and why the pandemic could have a...


The World Behind Wikipedia

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” The urgency behind this sentiment is stronger than ever at a time when misinformation is everywhere. So how has Wikipedia, famous for allowing anyone to edit, become a paragon for truth? Andrew Lih, author of “The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia” and the Wikimedia Strategist for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, breaks down where Wikipedia came from, how it works, and where...


The Future of Our Pandemic

The U.S. loosened its lockdown measures far too early, even as cases of COVID-19 were on the rise, and now we are paying the price. That’s the verdict of Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, who back in May called the rush to reopen a “hodgepodge” because several states ignored important health and safety guidelines. As the pandemic rages on, Osterholm discusses the steps that are needed to control the spread...


The Culture of COVID-19

The United States’ disjointed and detrimental response to the COVID-19 pandemic stands in stark contrast to the actions we’ve seen in other countries. While some people elsewhere seem more than willing to wear masks and avoid close contact with others, many Americans have balked at measures that they see as encroaching on personal freedoms, even as COVID-19 cases begin to spiral out of control once more. There are several factors at play, including what some have described as a failure of...


A Surprising, Gross, and Utterly Fascinating Look at the Birth of Science

Science in the 1600s wasn’t an especially safe endeavor. People were burned at the stake for saying that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Galileo Galilei narrowly avoided that particular fate, but was placed under house arrest. That’s… pretty different from our modern world, where we’re all relying on scientists to understand the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, hopefully, come up with a vaccine. How did we get to this point? Well, part of the reason is that, in 1660, a group of...


A Compulsion to Be Good

There is a famous quote from French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: “Hell is other people.” While some may agree with that sentiment and crave solitude, there’s a lot of evidence that people are drawn to each other. We form friendships, sports teams, knitting circles and complex societies, unlike any other species on Earth. Nicholas Christakis, a doctor, sociologist, and author of “Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society,” has spent years trying to understand why...


Saying Goodbye To Language As You Know It

It seems like every time a dictionary publishes a new update, people flock to social media to talk about it. Whether they’re responding to the addition of the word “fam” or the dad joke, They always return to the question of what consequences these additions will have. Do they really spell disaster for the English language? Turns out, the “updation” (new to the Oxford English Dictionary as of last year) of language isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And it’s been going on for as long as...


Educating Kids in a Pandemic

Students have lost months and months of learning because of school closures during the COVID-19 crisis. Research shows that remote education efforts haven’t measured up, and the pandemic has only exacerbated economic, racial and rural-urban divides. During the next school year, following the long summer break, many students could find themselves falling even further behind. Dana Goldstein, a national correspondent for The New York Times and the author of The Teacher Wars: A History of...


Baby Boom or Baby Bust?

These days, we wonder a lot about the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. What will this crisis mean for our jobs? Will schools be open in the fall? When will we be able to return to our favorite activities? One topic that you’re probably not thinking about — but that will have a huge national impact — is birth rates. Melissa Kearney, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow at Brookings, argues in a recent report (co-authored with Wellesley College...


The Makings of Modern Conservatism

In the 1930s, America experienced the Great Depression, the New Deal, and leadership from both Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. California, meanwhile, witnessed a serious shift in the Republican Party - a shift that would impact the entire country for decades to come. Kathryn Olmsted, professor of history at the University of California Davis and author of Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism, says that all sorts of factors came together...


Designing for You

From our smartphones to our bicycles, the user experience provided by manufactured products has an enormous impact on our lives. Down to the smallest details, designers often puzzle over how to best align a product with the demands of the customer. But that wasn’t always the approach, and Cliff Kuang, author of User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play, explains how this revolution of design has taken hold and dramatically changed our patterns...


A Tale of Two Pandemics

There are a lot of possible explanations for why Japan has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than the United States. It’s possible that the Japanese are more used to wearing masks, that the government used contact tracing more effectively to contain outbreaks, and that handshakes aren’t a widespread cultural practice. But according to Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist, and the dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, one of the main reasons Japan is coping...


The Power of Play

Childhood today is radically different than it was just a few generations ago. Before the coronavirus pandemic, kids’ busy schedules included school, homework, chores, sports, music lessons and other activities. Those packed schedules often left out one key element that is crucial to growth and learning — play. That’s according to Dorsa Amir, a postdoctoral researcher and evolutionary anthropologist at Boston College. Amir has studied the Shuar people of Ecuador, a non-industrialized...


Democracy in Decay

The Declaration of Independence states that "all men are created equal," but for much of U.S history that has been an aspirational ideal, according to Suzanne Mettler, a professor of government at Cornell University. Now the pillars of American democracy, including the rule of law, the legitimacy of opposition and free and fair elections, are under attack like never before, she explains. Mettler, the co-author of Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy, says that while the...


Climate Change in the Time of Coronavirus

We’re all ready for some good news, so headlines about smog dissipating in China, skies clearing in LA, and jellyfish appearing in canals in Venice were very welcome amidst the pandemic. However, while these paint a rosy picture of a potential silver lining to the global shutdown, the truth is much more complicated. Shannon Osaka, a reporter for Grist focusing on climate change and science, says the way we’ve slowed our lives this year has had a positive impact on our planet but it’s not...


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...