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BW Businessworld

Designing For Health With Science And Technology

Speaking at the BW Businessworld Future of Design Summit & Awards 2019, Connect Ventures Founder, Shiva Subramanian speaks about designing for health in his session on the ‘Art and Science of Health Design’.

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When we think of design we typically think of design through art and interiors or other crafts. How about our human body and design? When speaker Shiva Subramanian, Founder, Connect Ventures, went up on stage to talk about genetics and our DNA in relation to our health, the audience was curious about the design connection. At the end of the 30 minutes session on ‘Art & Science of Health Design’, it all came together.

Setting the tone for his presentation Shiva said, “Everyone in this room is 99.99 per cent genetically similar and yet we have an expression that is absolutely unique to each one of you. Now, the question we have to ask is that we are at the epitome of our evolutionary design, then why do we have diseases like cancer, diabetes, and that’s a question I would like to confront today”

Charting out the reasons that humans usually fall sick like habits, genetics, social and environmental issues he explained in great depth how the solutions were in our hands and how his platform was engaging to address these problems.

“Perfect genetics like the supermodels and the actors and actresses that we have are a consequence of genetic momentum, what I mean by this is their faces and their physiology is all based on the golden ratio. To get the perfect golden ratio, your environment of your grandparents and your parents has had to have had positive environmental influence, which includes food because food is the information that goes into your body and is translated by your genetic blueprint.”

Food, Shiva explained, if looked upon not as sustenance but information of what’s happening in the planet it is all in that food, and also how we imbibe it and how it interacts with our genes and microbiomes.

Only 0.2 per cent of the Indian population, he explained, is genetically mapped, so every design of any medication or X-ray or scans has no relevance to our personal DNA. Despite being an ancient race we are not designing for us he said, adding, “We are doing ourselves a design disservice”

Elaborating on Microbiomes, which was the centrepiece of his presentation, he explained how it was the ultimate symbiosis and that the human body had ten trillion microbiome cells yet we were unaware of how they influence so much within our bodies and how it is something no one was designed for.

Touching upon Ayurveda, he pointed out how everything was addressed from the gut. “Funnily enough we have the most consolidated fermentation strategy but we don’t use it to actually cure ourselves, each one of those fermented products is a cure in our hands but we have no knowledge of it.” He explained.

It was due to an absence of studies in this area that his organization started an analysis of the gut microbes in India through various case studies and it threw up interesting insights for them to work on.

It led them to create a platform called Health exchange and with the help of technology and AI they made the information open-sourced so that people could design freely around the platform with the help of all the data available on it. Consumer needs were identified and addressed with solutions and communities were built around it to help strengthen it. That’s the design process that technology has helped them with the backing of science.

Subramanian was speaking at the second edition of the BW Businessworld Future of Design Summit & Awards 2019, held in Mumbai on October 17, 2019.