Human behaviors that help us thrive.

by | Jan 4, 2016 | Fierce Strategy + Creative, Science, Research + Technology

*Photo: Art professor Mary Beth Heffernan puts a portrait-on-a-sticker on nurse Zoe Dewalt’s protective suit. Courtesy of Marc Campos./Occidental College

I am so very lucky to find myself surrounded by clients, family, and friends who constantly inspire me with links, quotes, books, and video links that work to satisfy my insatiable desire to learn new things.

One of my recent favorites was from a client and friend on the West coast who shared a video from This particular story begins with an artist who was concerned when the recent Ebola outbreak started. Her heart was stirred when she thought about all the terrified and lonely patients being treated by faceless doctors in white suits. “They looked completely menacing,” says Heffernan. “I mean they really made people look almost like storm troopers. I imagined what would it be like to be a patient? To not see a person’s face for days on end? I found myself almost saying out loud: ‘Why don’t they put photos on the outside of the PPE? Why don’t they just put photos on?'”

Here was her idea:  Snap a photo of the health worker with a big smile on their face. Hook up the camera to a portable printer and print out a stack of copies on large stickers. Then every time the worker puts on a protective suit they can slap one of their pictures on their chest, and patients can get a sense of the warm, friendly human underneath the suit.

Heffernan wrote 75 letters around the world with her idea until one person responded—Dr. Moses Massaquoi, the Ebola case manager for Liberia. Within a month of his response, Heffernan and a colleague were on a plane to Liberia’s capital, lugging 12 enormous boxes of supplies.

So where do people’s good ideas come from?

Let It Ripple explored that. They wondered what we should we be focusing on in art and in life in order to thrive. They concluded that human skills are just as important as knowledge, specifically five human skills that we need to practice every day. 

Curiosity (engaging, not skimming)
Creativity (liberating human energy)
Taking initiative
Multi-Discipinary thinking

You can enjoy the video here and enjoy more of the story featured on NPR.